Mickey Rourke has never seen ‘The Wrestler?’

Posted by · 7:36 am · January 26th, 2009

Mickey Rourke at the 66th Annual Golden Globe AwardsWell this is an interesting bit of news, from London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.  Here’s Matthew Moore’s scoopy lede:

Rourke’s performance in the critically-acclaimed film may have earned him the much-coveted best actor nomination but he still hasn’t watched the final cut.

“I don’t watch anything until three, four, five years go by,” he said in an interview.

“I see myself every day in the mirror when I’m shaving. I don’t get anything from it.”

All these ads asking us to “witness the resurrection of Mickey Rourke” and Rourke himself hasn’t even witnessed it.  I guess he lived it after all.

I have to say, as happy as I am with Sean Penn being in the mix for his finest work to date, I am four-square behind Rourke this year.  The SAG had never recognized Penn’s work, so maybe last night was indicative of that, but I still hold out hope the Academy at large will recognize this as the earth-shattering work of performance art that it is.

Rourke will be up here in Santa Barbara Saturday night to accept the Riviera Award, following a Q&A with Envelope contributor Pete Hammond.  I’m looking forward to talking with him once more, because as it stands, he’s still my favorite interview from 2008.

→ 34 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

34 responses so far

  • 1 1-26-2009 at 9:10 am

    Speaking English said...

    I’m with Penn all the way. As good as Rourke was, I found nothing earth-shattering about it, and Penn’s complete transformation is absolutely unparalleled this year. The only one who comes close is Heath Ledger. (Okay, maybe Robert Downey Jr. as well ;)

  • 2 1-26-2009 at 9:19 am

    actionman said...

    Rourke’s performance is a landmark effort. Easily the best of the year.

  • 3 1-26-2009 at 9:44 am

    James D. said...

    I haven’t seen Milk yet, but I don’t see any way Penn can top what Rourke accomplished. I am watching the Oscars simply to root for him.

  • 4 1-26-2009 at 10:14 am

    Speaking English said...

    Well, he does. :)

  • 5 1-26-2009 at 10:25 am

    The Other Ryan said...

    Ha. This interview was from The View. Don’t ask me how I know that.

  • 6 1-26-2009 at 10:35 am

    Zan said...

    Speaking English, you ARE the weakest link.

  • 7 1-26-2009 at 11:20 am

    The Other Ryan said...

    Nah, I gotta go with Sean Penn, too. But not by much.

  • 8 1-26-2009 at 11:52 am

    Chris said...

    I love both performances by Penn and Rourke. I think Sean Penn technically has the more stand out performance, but Mickey Rourke has the comeback performance and sympathy, so I am really fine with either winning. I thought they were both phenomenal.

  • 9 1-26-2009 at 12:20 pm

    KB said...

    Gotta go with Penn as well. Sorry, Zan.

  • 10 1-26-2009 at 1:11 pm

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    Richard Jenkins for the win.

  • 11 1-26-2009 at 3:01 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Penn definitely deserves the award.

  • 12 1-26-2009 at 7:33 pm

    Alex said...

    I don’t like Penn. He’s just annoying and his personal life/attitude has definitely seeped into his on screen persona. I also got the feeling he was reusing his performance from I am Sam in Milk, but instead of retarded he is gay. Sam had his bunch of eccentric retarded friends and Harvey has a bunch of oddball gay friends. I also don’t see anyone giving him shit for using a prosthetic proboscis – sexism I tell you!

    Jenkins was excellent but boring. It’s the kind of winning performance that gets nominated but would be a waste of a statuette.

    Brad Pitt doesn’t deserve his nom. Anthony Hopkins was more deserving for Beowulf last year.

    Langella was marvelous and rather devilish in the role. He’d be my number 2 pick.

    Mickey Rourke definitely deserves the win. He was magnetic in the role and he became the character (or the character became him). He’s an odd and cartoonish doofus but he can certainly act. A win will also boost his career, and add weight to the saying that if you are at the top of your game professionally, everyone will put up with your shit.

  • 13 1-26-2009 at 8:07 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Wow… we’ve sunk to new lows. Making “retarded” (a completely un-PC and mightily offensive term, I might add) synonymous with homosexuality. You sound like Mickey Rourke.

  • 14 1-26-2009 at 8:14 pm

    Ryan Adams said...

    “I see myself every day in the mirror when I’m shaving. I don’t get anything from it.”

    That’s right. Because the only reason to watch The Wrestler would be to look at yourself.


  • 15 1-26-2009 at 8:17 pm

    JP said...

    Alex: did you see Milk? He was nothing like I Am Sam. And I find the whole “retarded” friends replaced with “gay” friends slightly offensive. I thought both Rourke and Penn’s performances were amazing. It truly is a comeback for Mickey. In this case though, I’m rooting for Penn’s because I think Milk is an important movie that could really speak to people at this time in history. It just needs a few statues to coax the public to give it a chance.

  • 16 1-26-2009 at 8:33 pm

    Ryan Adams said...

    JP, Thank you.

    I had never seen I Am Sam until last night, (it was on at 2:00 a.m. on TNT, after the SAGs)

    Have been hearing this I Am Sam comparison for months, and had to shrug it off because I didn’t know any better.

    Now I see it’s totally ridiculous, and as JP says — borderline hateful. Outrageous simplistic denigrating myth that’s somehow taken hold.

    Same sort of myth as No Country for Old Men’s “confusing ending,” and this year’s favorite meme: Revolutionary Road is “cold and remote.”

    Is this stuff so catchy that implants itself like a chewing gum jingle? Or are movie pundits just lazy?

  • 17 1-26-2009 at 9:35 pm

    Alex said...

    I wasn’t trying to be offensive or un-PC, though maybe I was just a little bit unclear.

    I was trying to convey the point that Penn’s portrayal was rather unconvincing and deceptively calculated, as if to say he switched his acting dial from ‘retarded’ to ‘gay’ in pursuit of critical applause. My comment was an attempt to deride Penn’s performance. ‘Milk’ itself was a solid, ‘un-biopic-y’ film, though I feel Penn’s portrayal appeared somewhat reductive.

  • 18 1-26-2009 at 9:51 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Referring to the title of the post, I think many Academy members followed in his footsteps.

  • 19 1-26-2009 at 10:08 pm

    Ryan Adams said...

    oh yikes, Alex. My comment wasn’t aimed at you directly, though I can see how it might seem that way.

    Not at all. I wasn’t bothered by what you wrote. Looser rules apply in comment threads. I’m more frustrated by the famous voices at major publications.

    Sorry for flying off half-cocked, full retard, and %110 gay.

  • 20 1-26-2009 at 11:05 pm

    JP said...

    Sorry too, Alex if I came across a bit harsh. Milk is probably the movie that worked its magic the most on me emotionally for the year, so I’m a little bit trigger-happy with defenses. That said, I teared up more than a few times in The Wrestler as well. Both movies were power-houses.

  • 21 1-26-2009 at 11:12 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ryan: Way to be way too argumentative toward a comment that didn’t have nearly the subtext you seem to have gleaned.

  • 22 1-26-2009 at 11:31 pm

    Ryan Adams said...

    What subtext is that, Kris? Let me know what I wanted to glean and I’ll tell you if it’s there or not.

    I still don’t agree with Alex’s assessment, but that’s not a big deal to me, nor is it to Alex. I just didn’t want Alex to think I was jumping on him specifically for inventing the Gay=Retarded criticism of Penn’s performance. It’s been spouted by way more “important” people than Alex or me, either one.

    If you’re sniping about me raising an eyebrow about Rourke saying, in effect, “Why should I watch my movies? I know what I look like.”

    Yeah, that’s a dumbshit thing to say, joking or not. I thought he might care about his friend Aronofsky’s work, or his co-stars, or his ring-mates (if that’s what they’re called.)

    I guess I thought wrong. He’s not interested in the movie. Just happy to get paid to fuck himself up, I suppose.

  • 23 1-27-2009 at 12:17 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Talking about Rourke’s comment, yeah. You’re making it into something bigger, and much more dramatic, than it actually is.

  • 24 1-27-2009 at 12:31 am

    Ryan Adams said...

    hey, I’m not the one re-publishing it with the teaser headline and calling it a “scoopy lead” Kris. It’s non news to me, and not at all surprising.

    I’ve heard lots of actors don’t like to see their own movies, or so they say. But I thought this was a big collaborative friendship project, life-changing rescue from relative oblivion by a director who put everything on the line and risked his own reputation to help this guy out of his rut.

    Seems there would be other reasons to want to share the success of the film by watching it and trying to appreciate everybody else’s contribution to something that so far has only glorified Rourke.

    But no, “I don’t get anything out of it.”

    Screw Tomeii, Aronofsky, Springsteen. Screw Mansell, Alberti, Wood.

    What did THEY have to do with The Wrestler that Rourke could possibly care to see?

    Like the Daily Telegraph writer fawned: sssshh, let him be… “he lived it.”

    Mickey’s been THROUGH it, man.
    He’s already seen Tomeii’s tits, on the set.

  • 25 1-27-2009 at 12:33 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ugh. Go to bed.

  • 26 1-27-2009 at 12:55 am

    KB said...

    Shut up Tapley. Rourke will lose to Penn, because he’s a better actor, period. Go to bed.

  • 27 1-27-2009 at 1:00 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...


  • 28 1-27-2009 at 1:04 am

    KB said...

    Oh…and Alex you’re retarded…or gay. Whatever makes you feel worse.

  • 29 1-27-2009 at 1:19 am

    PJ said...

    The Screen Actors Guild was very enthusiastic about Penn’s win last night though, in a manner that seemed to me as more than simply recognising a previously unrecognised actor. Oh, and some people here really need to grow up.

  • 30 1-27-2009 at 1:54 am

    Alex said...

    Mickey is probably not as popular amongst his peers as his fellow nominees are so it’s no surprise he didn’t win.

  • 31 1-27-2009 at 3:53 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Why on earth do the Oscars make so many people fall into a Penn vs. Rourke mentality? They’re both terrific performances — one just resonated a little more with me personally, and struck me as a slightly more unique achievement, but I fully understand why others might not feel the same way. I’m content for either to win.

    KB: Yeah, I’d probably agree with you that Penn is a better actor than Rourke, but we’re talking about individual performances here.

    For example, I think Meryl Streep is a better actress than Hilary Swank, but that doesn’t automatically mean I feel she should have won for “Music of the Heart” in 1999. Bring some nuance to your argument.

  • 32 1-27-2009 at 4:16 am

    Bill said...

    Penn is inarguably a gifted methodological actor with layered, nuanced performances. There’s just one problem, from my perspective. I don’t LIKE him. I think we all have at least a couple of actors who just don’t do it for us.

    I love sad performances and this has been an especially good year for them. Anne Hathaway had me in tears. Rourke sent chills down my spine. Winslet and DiCaprio were brilliantly miserable. But for some reason when I watch Penn I just… sigh and try not to rattle the popcorn. He’s like a woman you want to be attracted to but you’re just not.

    The movie scene this season that I can’t stop thinking about is Mickey Rourke at the deli counter. Rourke seems depressed and probably disturbed, but he’s able to make you feel what he’s feeling down to your bones. I’m rooting for him all the way.