Mick Foley has a nice day with ‘The Wrestler’

Posted by · 8:46 am · December 21st, 2008

Mick FoleyI think there are few who would disagree that the audience to sell for Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” was a guy like Mick Foley — a.k.a. “Mankind,” “Dude Love,” and “Cactus Jack” — a cross-federation staple of the professional wrestling world who’s lived through his fair share of ladder matches, barbed-wire-inflicted line-of-duty injuries and, certainly, knows the difficulties of raising a family in tandem with such a dangerous career.

It looks like Aronofsky and company had him at “hello.”  Writing recently in Slate, Foley had the following say in the way of praise for the film:

The chances of seeing a great pro-wrestling movie seemed right up there with the likelihood of a Mickey Rourke career renaissance. You can see why I was pessimistic about Darren Aronofsky’s wrestling project. I received an inquiry early on about serving as a consultant but cited the need to “spend time with my family” as a reason to refrain. If I felt like having my name attached to a failure, I figured, I’d write another novel. Casting Rourke in the lead seemed like a mistake. Sure, he had been in some good films a few election cycles ago, and I’ll admit to stealing his popcorn-box trick from Diner back in ’82. But he seemed unlikely to deliver the portrait of a wrestler I wanted…

I was hooked within a minute. Within five, I had completely forgotten I was looking at Mickey Rourke. That guy on the screen simply was Randy “the Ram” Robinson, a ’80s mat icon on a two-decade-long losing streak in the game of life, searching for a way, any way, to fan the dying embers of his career…

I found great authenticity in so many aspects of Randy’s battered psyche. His constant need for acceptance—from his estranged daughter; from his possible love interest, a stripper played by Marisa Tomei (who is wonderful, if a bit shocking for any guy who ever had a crush on her in My Cousin Vinny); from a random collection of customers at the deli counter where he works; from his dwindling number of nostalgic wrestling fans—is a theme that many a wrestler will grudgingly admit to connecting with.

It’s a hell of a read.  Check out the rest here.

→ 3 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

3 responses so far

  • 1 12-21-2008 at 9:05 am

    Ronn said...

    What a great article. I am a former college athlete but I’m certainly not a pro wrestler or anything remotely close for that matter but this film hit me the same way. From the first minute I was completely hooked. I absolutely loved this film and it spoke to me on multiple levels as a story but also in the work of art that it is. The acting was amazing and Aronofsky did brilliant things in his storytelling most notably with the music that made it instantaneously one of my all time favorite films. What can I say? Everything about the film moved me.

  • 2 12-21-2008 at 12:54 pm

    Vito said...

    Foley is the man. I’ve always been a huge admirer of his. Ironically, he has always seemed to be the most intelligent and sane people in the wrestling biz. He also seems like a genuinely nice person. I also desperately want to see The Wrestler. Damn limited releases. Damn them to Hell.

  • 3 12-21-2008 at 4:16 pm

    Ryan said...

    Foley’s segment in the documentary Beyond the Mat made him iconic in different ways in the wrestling industry, but it was by far the most heartbreaking scene in the film. With that fact in mind, it makes me value his opinion of The Wrestler a little more so than if, say, John Cena came out in support of it.