Mickey Rourke: The Tumultuous Life and Career of the Famous Actor

Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke has as tumultuous a career as anybody in the history of Hollywood. The amount of ups and downs that he has gone through, can make an exciting roller coaster ride at Disneyland. What’s strange is that Mickey Rourke started his movie career by accident. He had started boxing as a teenager and was driven towards making a career in it. However, when he took part in the play Deathwatch, he immediately fell in love with acting and relocated to New York City to train at the Actors Studio. He went on to have a successful start to his movie career in the 80s and appeared in critically acclaimed films like Diner, Rumble Fish, and Barfly. However, with the good, came the bad, lots of bad actually. He involved himself with the wrong women, blew his money away recklessly and earned a very unfavourable reputation on set. He even tried making a return to boxing but suffered major injuries this time and had to quit. His career was resurrected in Darren Aronofsky’s acclaimed drama The Wrestler, where he starred as a past-his-prime pro-wrestler. His performance helped him earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. However, it ended up being more of a flash in the pan than a complete resurrection as his career has been in a major slump since then. Recently, he has also become notorious for his numerous botched plastic surgeries. Let’s find out more about this talented but troubled actor.

Mickey Rourke: Trials and Tribulations

What are some of Mickey Rourke’s personal struggles?

When Mickey Rourke started falling out of favor in Hollywood, it had an adverse effect on his mental health. Excessive drinking became an issue, and it only seemed to exacerbate his depression. When his ex-wife Carré Otis left him, Rourke later said it felt like the final straw. Nothing seemed to be going right for him. Everything he’d built seemed to be crashing down around him.

Rourke has described this as a very dark time in his life. “I was not in a really good place in my head and heart,” he told Barbara Walters. “I just wanted to push a button and disappear.” Rourke said that at one point, he went nearly five months without leaving his house, and he was sleeping in his closet. It clearly wasn’t easy for him to get through this period of his life, and Rourke has credited his dogs with helping him get out of bed each day and giving him something to look forward to. “The wife had left, the career was over, the money was not an ounce,” he recalled. “The dogs were there when no one else was there.”

Many people assume that if they only made as much money as their favorite celebrity, they would be set for life. It’s an easy enough assumption to make, but unfortunately, plenty of people who start raking in big bucks after finding success in Hollywood quickly find ways to spend the money faster than it comes in. That’s exactly what happened to Rourke — and even as his career started to go downhill, he was still spending thousands of dollars on any luxury item that caught his eye.

Which are some of the recent movies Mickey Rourke has appeared in?

Mickey Rourke has stayed fairly busy with acting in recent years, but there’s a good chance that you haven’t seen any of his films. Why? Well, most of them have never had a theatrical release — no, not even a limited run — instead going straight to DVD. Several of Rourke’s more recent releases, including Skin Traffik, War Pigs, and Blunt Force Trauma, skipped theaters on their way to obscurity. Typecasting is always a problem in Hollywood, even for veteran actors, and taking work in direct-to-video releases creates an impression that can be hard to break with casting directors.

It hasn’t all been home video lately. Tiger, released in 2018, had a limited theatrical release; the same is true for Nightmare Cinema, slated to bow in the summer of 2019. Neither movie received much attention in the mainstream press, which is basically par for the course with many of Rourke’s latest projects. It’s been quite a while since he was in a real blockbuster film. Perhaps in the future, he’ll start pursuing bigger roles again, but with all of his comments about only acting for financial reasons, he may not have the motivation to do so anymore.

Is Mickey Rourke difficult to work with?

Mickey Rourke in a scene from The Wrestler

By many if not most accounts, Mickey Rourke is not easy to work with. With so many actors constantly vying for work, what reason do directors have to keep taking a chance on someone who can’t keep their attitude in check on set? Sure, the more talented an actor is, the more a filmmaking might be willing to put up with, but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed no matter who you are.

Rourke has been referred to as a “loose cannon” on set. “Working with Mickey is a nightmare,” director Alan Parker, who worked with Rourke on the film Angel Heart, told People. “He is very dangerous on set because you never know what he is going to do.” On set, it was Rourke’s way or the highway, and with his temper, being on his bad side was nerve-wracking. Clearly, plenty of top directors eventually decided that they didn’t want to put up with it. Yes, he’s highly skilled at what he does, but he’s not the only one. His intensity may translate well onscreen, but behind the scenes, it’s reportedly often been a liability.

Many actors have learned to play nice in public and quietly move on after one of their films flops — perhaps they’ll crack a joke about it a few years later, but for the most part, they don’t want to dwell on it, or insult the efforts of anyone else involved. Rourke, on the other hand, is known for running his mouth. Aside from his negative comments about Marvel, he’s also openly criticized several other films that he’s appeared in.

Did Mickey Rourke buy Cadillacs for his friends?

Rourke once admitted to buying six Cadillacs with cash, which he promptly gave away to his friends. He’s said his biggest spending mistake happened in 1986, when he spent $97,000 on the Shah of Iran’s bulletproof car, which was specifically designed to withstand the extreme heat of the desert. He only owned the vehicle for two months before selling it, and only recalled driving it a grand total of five times. If you do the math, that’s nearly $20,000 per drive. That’s one way to blow your budget.

Is Mickey Rourke a dog lover?

Mickey Rourke with his dogs

Mickey Rourke enjoys acting and his first passion was boxing, but there’s nothing he loves as much as his dogs. He’s credited his canines with lifting him out of a long depressive episode, and he even went as far as to thank them in his acceptance speech when he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for The Wrestler. He’s especially fond of smaller breeds like Pomeranians and chihuahuas, and he basically treats them like they’re his kids. It might seem a little funny that a guy who can appear as intimidating as Rourke loves little dogs so much, but he’s definitely a doting owner.

One of the better-known members of Rourke’s brood is a fluffy Pomeranian named “Number One,” a pup who’s often been spotted out on lunch dates with him. During one meal, Rourke took Number One to an Italian restaurant and even got a highchair for him so he could join Rourke at the table. Rourke posted a photo of the meal on Instagram, captioning the image “Carbonara Day” and adding a row of heart emojis. It just goes to show you that even the most infamous of Hollywood’s bad boys can’t resist the unconditional affection of a canine companion.

True to brutally honest form, Mickey Rourke has freely admitted that at this point, he’s basically taking on the occasional acting role for the money. In fact, he’s open about wishing he could quit, but he simply can’t afford to. What would he be doing if money wasn’t such a concern? After reading about how much he loves his dogs, it should come as no surprise to learn that a retired Rourke would spend all day on his other passion: working with animals.

“If I could get a job walking dogs and get paid the same amount I do from making movies, I’d never make another movie again,” Rourke told Alec Baldwin on an episode of Baldwin’s podcast Here’s the Thing. It seems like he’s sort of over his acting career by now, but because he dug himself into such a deep financial hole during his most free-spending days, he has no choice but to keep getting back in front of the camera. Hanging onto a gig you’ve grown out of strictly for the money is something many of us can unfortunately understand, but don’t feel too bad for Rourke — even low-budget movies tend to come with paydays most people would kill for. Eventually, he might just be able to walk away from Hollywood… and spend his days walking dogs.

Did Mickey Rourke try making a movie?

Actors have dreams just like everyone else, and for many stars, they take the form of a passion project they’d get made if only they could cobble together enough clout to convince a studio to sign on. Rourke is no exception — as he’s told the press in recent years, he spent time developing a script for a film tentatively titled The Beautiful Game with plans to star as Gareth Thomas, a Welsh rugby player who came out as gay toward the end of his career. Rourke was very enthusiastic about the project, but unfortunately, that enthusiasm wasn’t enough to get the movie made.

After Rourke started training for the role, he and Thomas realized that he simply wasn’t the best choice to play the part. He didn’t physically resemble Thomas, and he was having trouble with the intense training. But after Rourke’s involvement with the project ended, it simply never panned out. Perhaps Rourke’s script for The Beautiful Game will see the light of day at some point, but it remains unknown whether this athlete’s story will ever come to life on the big screen — or whether Rourke still has the desire to give his all to another film in the future.

Did Mickey Rourke appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)?

Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in Iron Man 2

At this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has long since become an unstoppable box office juggernaut, turning comic book movies from so-called kids’ stuff into the type of spotlight cinema that attracts highly respected veteran actors. From brief appearances by marquee talent like Robert Redford, Glenn Close, and Tilda Swinton to major roles for award-winning stars such as Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kurt Russell, and Brie Larson, the MCU has landed some major names over the years — and Mickey Rourke was one of the first.

In 2010’s Iron Man 2, Rourke played Ivan Vanko, the primary villain. Even given its timing in the early stages of the MCU, plenty of actors would have been excited to work on this sequel — after all, who doesn’t love Iron Man? — but for years after the movie’s release, Rourke told anyone who would listen about his bad experiences working with Marvel.

Explaining that he wanted to add more layers to Vanko and didn’t want to play a one-dimensional villain, Rourke has claimed that Marvel cut most of those character details from the final version of the film. Calling it “disappointing,” Rourke later described himself as “not a Marvel fan.” Of course, he has the right to his opinion — but as we all know, publicly badmouthing a former employer generally isn’t a smart idea. That’s one way to ensure certain directors will hesitate to work with you in the future.

What does the future hold for Mickey Rourke?

At this point, Mickey Rourke has more or less done it all. He enjoyed early acclaim and the perks of stardom during the first phase of his career, he worked his way through personal darkness and professional setbacks to score a surprising comeback, and now he’s focused on shoring up his finances even if he isn’t quite as enamored with acting as a profession anymore. Always bluntly honest in interviews, Rourke sounds like he has nothing left to prove as far as Hollywood is concerned — and after everything he’s accomplished and been through, who can blame him?

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