We’ve heard all the buzz on The Wrestler, the Darren Aronofsky feature that is said to revive the career of Mickey Rourke and has since been picked up by Fox Searchlight and is now a contender for Best Picture and Best Actor among other Oscar hardware. I have covered it extensively in “The Contenders” section and now the Los Angeles Times has run a great interview that breaks down the decision by Aronofsky and how he approached Rourke for the job.
Those words belong to Aronofsky as he tells the “Times” interviewer, Patrick Goldstein, about how he first approached Rourke with the job, but Rourke has a different version:
Rourke was a one-time professional boxer known for butting heads with his directors. As to why he got along swimmingly with Aronofsky he says, “That very first day we met, he said, ‘I’ll take you to the show. I’ll get you a nomination for this part.’ And after the first week of work, I believed him. He walked the walk and that got my respect. Darren is like a really demanding football coach, like Vince Lombardi or Tom Landry. He said, ‘Give Rourke the ball’ and I ran with it.”
The Wrestler doesn’t have a release date yet and centers on Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke), a 1980s-era star pro wrestler who has become a burnt-out shell of his former self. After he has a heart attack during a small-time match, a doctor tells him he could die if he fights again. In an effort to build a new life, Robinson takes a job at a deli, moves in with an aging stripper and tries to build a relationship with her son. But the prospect of a rematch with his old nemesis the Ayatollah proves too tempting to resist, even if it means risking his life.
Get more on the film right here.