Mickey Rourke I have a question for you: what do the following five people have in common? Peter Falk. Lauren Bacall. B.B. King. George Washington. And Madeline Zima. No! It's not that they've all slept with David Duchovny. Rather, it's that they share the same birthday than the bulky looking chap in this interview. 16th September. No again! Not James Lipton! Mickey Rourke. Here, take a peek at what they both got up to for 45-minutes in 2009.

Mickey Rourke

In this episode of 'Inside the Actors Studio', the man with the bald-head and the blue-cards in his hand, James Lipton, interviews the man with the hat on his head and the cigarette in his hand, Mickey Rourke.

F*cking great, huh? And that is partly why Mickey starts off this interrogation by talking about: (1) His parent's separation. (2) His abusive step-father. (3) How he was inspired into becoming an actor after he saw a performance by some chap called Marlon Brando. (4) The years he spent as an amateur boxer. And (5) How an injury, some cash from his sister, plus an eventful meeting with is estranged biological Father, curbed his path straight into the 'Actor's Studio'.

Next, in the following part of this frank discussion, the Rourke-ster elaborates on some of his early film-work, such as:
  • Rumblefish - 'My vocabulary was not that good at the time, so reading became very important to me'.
  • The Pope of Greenwich Village - 'That was one of the best films I've ever worked on. I learned a lot'.
  • 9 1/2 Weeks - It was a lot harder on Kim than I really knew.

However, during the nineteen-nineties, Mickey made some very bad acting choices that left him washed up within his chosen profession. Therefore, in retaliation of this, Mickey spent the next fourteen years getting back into boxing, attending counselling seasons, coping with the loss of his brother, and trying his best to make ends meet, until the film, 'The Wrestler', came along. This is what he had to say about that particular cinematic epic:
  • On the Director, Darren Aronofsky - 'He was a hard task-master, and made me make my own shit up'.
  • On his Agent, David Unger - 'He kept all of the promises he made me; I only kept some of mine'.
  • On his co-star, Marisa Tomei - 'It was not a walk in the park for her'.
  • On the sport of Wrestling - 'I thought that it was a load of made up sh*t. I was wrong.
  • On the movie itself - I don't know. I've never seen it.
  • On the fate of his character, Randy Robinson, at the end of this film - I hope he died.

In closing the show, Mickey answers questions posed by James from the Bernard Pivo structured questionnaire, where we learn he 'loves pretty ladies', and hate's 'cruelty to animal'. Before he then answers subsequent question posed to him by the audience relating to choices, Sean Penn, and adaptability.

Please note, two of the people sitting in the studio audience during this tête-à-tête, are Martin Landau and someone else I forgotten the name of.

To me, there is a quote which basically sums up what I have learnt about Mickey Rourke from his interview with James Lipton.

'Don't judge a man when he is at the top of his game, only judge him in the way he comes back from adversity'.

Now if I remember rightly, this poignant phrase came from the Nick Broomfield documentary 'Biggie and Tupac' (click here for review), when one of Tupac's 'fellow rappers' was talking about how he had to overcome some very harsh times in the past. It's a very nice quote, isn't it? And defines a very specific type of person who has had what I'd like to call, 'A bi-polar existence'.

Inside the Actors Studio with Mickey Rourke

Well, whilst hearing what he had to say on this episode of 'Inside the Actors Studio', I could easily define Mickey's life as 'bi-polar'. Not in a derogatory way of course. He is a man I really do admire, and has done some great things which I would have loved to have been a part of. Though, in the same vein, the opposite is also true. For instance: (1) Mickey's first role was in the Steven Spielberg wartime spoof, '1941', where he played 'Private Reese'. (2) Mickey has been known to go by other names such as his original one, Philip Andre, plus Sir Eddie Cook. (3) Between the years 1964 and 1972 Mickey was an amateur boxer -- where he trained in the same gym as boxing legend, Mohammad Ali. Also, between 1991 and 1994 he became a professional boxer too. (4) Mickey was born in Schenectady, New York, and comes from French and Irish descent. (5) He once performed with David Bowie on his 1987 album, 'Never Let Me Down'. (6) His father, Philip Andre Rourke, Sr., was an amateur body builder who left Mickey and his family when he was only six years old. Moreover, his step father, Eugene Addis, was a police office from Miami Beach. (7) Mickey has written / co-written six script in total. The first three, 'Homeboy', 'The Last Ride', and 'Bullet', where made into films. Whereas the last three, 'Killer Moon', 'Penance', and 'Pain', weren't. (8) In 1981 he married his 'Hardcases' co-star -- Debra Feuer. And a few years later after he divorced her, he then married his 'Wild Orchid' co-star -- Carré Otis -- whom he divorced in 1998. (9) During his career Mickey has turned down a number of big roles in major films, such as 'Highlander', 'The Silence of the Lambs' [click here for review], 'Rain Man', 'Beverly Hills Cop', 'The Untouchables', and 'Pulp Fiction'. (10) Mickey is a dog lover, especially small-breeds, and supports 'animal-right' campaigns helmed by PETA.

Mickey Rourke Film

OK, so apart from the quotes and the facts, what I find makes this interview so great to watch, is the way in which Mickey is just being himself through-out the whole program. He smokes. He swears. He jokes with James. James does likewise. He pays respect to those he did wrong to in the past. He never boasts about his own talent. Oh! And let's not forget his emotions either.

Mickey Rourke
One of the sections which almost brought a tear to my eye; was that segment where Mickey elaborated on the death of his brother, and how this event almost acted as a catalyst to snap him back to reality again. Personally speaking, I can really relate to something like this myself, because the tragedy of loss is something that is always an emotional event to experience, which can hit you harder than any fist ever could. 

Granted, Mickey does not explain it in those terms exactly. In fact, he can hardly speak when he talks about the death of this brother. But then again he does not have to, does he?

Maybe I should follow his lead? Huh?

Overall, this episode of 'Inside the Actors Studio' is a great one to watch for any Mickey Rourke fan. Because just like the man himself, it's frank, earnest, hard-hitting, and so full of pathos that it comes streaming out of your eyes. Agreed Mickey?

Bless you Nut-job. You're a champ.