Let's face it: The Wrestler wouldn't be a real Mickey Rourke comeback unless he did it the hardest way possible. Take a beating for your art? Check. Drop an anti-gay slur on camera? Check. And, as of Sunday, embellish your life story in the New York Times? Alas, check.
A Rourke profile published over the weekend shared many of the same details he'd shared with previous interviewers — the rough childhood, the boxing background — along with newer anecdotes about his downsized roles along the way. And while skeptics have been rumored to refute Rourke's claim to have ever been an amateur prizefighter in the Golden Gloves circuit, NYT reporter Pat Jordan coaxed a more explicit denial from legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee and Rourke's stepfather Eugene Addis — the latter of whom said he got Rourke boxing lessons in Miami despite the young man's refusal to fight in the ring. (Of course, Rourke did get in the ring years later, with less-than-auspicious results.)
Addis also said that his family never lived in the tough Liberty City neighborhood of Miami where Rourke says he earned his earliest hard knocks, adding that he never abused Rourke or his brother growing up, as the actor claims. Even Tony Scott gets a chance to square the record, challenging Rourke's tale of a great, lost scene between him and Denzel Washington in Man of Fire:
"I can’t remember any scene like that that was cut,” he said. Then he said he met Rourke years ago, when they were both in their motorcycle days, "when Rourke was always trying to poach my women. Rourke’s got a real dangerous side to him.” That’s why Scott cast him in Man on Fire and later as a bounty hunter in the 2005 movie Domino. “I always try to cast actors to be on film what they are in real life,” Scott said.
If you say so, Tony, but a woman-poaching, epithet-spewing, myth-perpatuating Oscar front-runner who can't find his chihuahua? Sounds complex! Better leave this one to Ridley.
- His Fists Are Up and His Guard Is Down [NYT Magazine]