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What happened to Mickey Rourke?

March 22, 2011 | 12:38 pm

It wasn't that long ago that Mickey Rourke was the toast of award season. Everywhere you went in the winter of 2009 the "Wrestler" star was there, offering his comeback story to all who cared to listen, basking in his Oscar nomination, talking about the dark days when his dogs were the only friends he had. O Loki, sweet Loki.

The actor also had an impressive role to show off, and he and his representatives made the most of it, landing a gamut of new parts. Rourke seemed on his way to a versatile second shot at his career, the kind that harked back to the time when he bowled us over with movies such as "Barfly" and "Angel Heart." We'd soon be living in a new age of Mickey.

But two years later the Rourke comeback has hit some serious speed bumps. His big commercial play, as the villain Whiplash in "Iron Man 2," was tepidly received. He was barely noticed amid all the other '80s comebacks in "The Expendables" last summer. And his quirky indie project "Passion Play" (Rourke plays a washed-up trumpet player opposite Megan Fox's angel) is going into very limited release this summer making it unlikely to land atop too many box-office charts.

When Rourke didn't get the lead role in "Taken 2" last week, it highlighted an obvious question: What happened to Mickey?

It's not always easy to turn award-season goodwill into a fruitful new career. The paychecks can be too attractive, and quality movies are generally hard to come by even for an Oscar nominee. When you want to continue the indie theme it can be hard to know when the scripts you're looking at will turn into "The Wrestler" and when they'll turn into, well, "Passion Play."

Still, consider Richard Jenkins, another actor who was toiling in obscurity before he was nominated for an Oscar the same year as Rourke. Jenkins savvily turned his acclaim for "The Visitor" into great supporting parts in broad fare including "Dear John" and "Hall Pass" while taking on more ambitious character pieces in movies such as "Let Me In."

The 58-year-old Rourke still has a few new movies on the docket. But at this point few of them are likely to blow away Oscar voters or even a large number of fans. (He plays King Hyperion in an upcoming "Clash of the Titans"-style movie called "Immortals" and is set to star in distributor-less indies such as "The Blind Bastards Club" about a "group of blind people who live on the edge.") There's probably still another comeback left in Rourke. The only problem is you have to wait years before you can have one.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Mickey Rourke in "The Informers." Credit: Juan Angel Urruzola / Senator Entertainment

Comments () | Archives (30)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I will continue to want to see Mickey Rourke, in movies, very much! For a long time, to come! He is an amazing actor, and person!

People are talking about The Expendables film Mickey was in, I've never seen him look so bad, his costume looked like a gypsy pimp..disgusting.
From Iron Man 2 to that!! are you kidding? no comparison.

One classic film I believe Mickey Rourke could play and no other is a remake
of TANGO IN PARIS, Brando would be pleased as it takes vunerablity, power
and strength in (more ways than one). It's not only his physical beauty it's his humility as an actor.

A correction...the name of the film is - LAST TANGO IN PARIS my apology.

Mickey Rourke is one of the greatest actors we have ever had. Period. Sorry Hollywood, he may not have a great face anymore BUT I'd rather watch him read a phone book than see the 'hot' guys of young hollywood i.e. Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner TRY to act. LA Times lay off Rourke.

Mickey is doing fine! Do your research....Mickey stood out in "The Expendables".....he did "Passion Play" to work with the director....He also has "13" which he did right after " The Wrestler".....yet to be released.....He filmed The high profile "Immortals" due in November...he finished "The Courier" last month...He is due to start filming "Blind Bastards Club" next month with an all star cast...there will be a second Expendables...and Sin City 2. Mickeys face is fine...he says it fits his personality much better than his pretty boy looks of the 80`s.......and he is in better shapes than most 58 year old actors!

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