Julian Schnabel for The Village Voice

Miami's Favorite Drunk Scooter Driver Mickey Rourke Is Generating Oscar Buzz

By the end of the '90s actor Mickey Rourke found himself back in his child hometown of Miami living in a $500-a-month studio apartment with just the companionship of his chihuahua, money made from selling his motorcycle collection, and a face only a mother with an amateur plastic surgery hobby could love. He still managed to take a few bit parts in B movies, but his luck changed with a star turn in 2005's neo-Noir comic book adaptation Sin City.

He's had a few minor set backs since then (we're not sure what is more embarrassing: being arrested for drunk driving on a vespa or hosting a karaoke night at RokBar), but his latest turn in The Wrestler has Rourke poised for a return to the A-List and a possible Oscar nomination.

Our sister publication The Village Voice profiled Rourke, and revealed that even though the part of the titular faded wrestling superstar was written with him in mind, director Darren Aronofsky, of Requiem for a Dream fame, had harsh words Rourke before he was offered the part.

"I used to blame other people, but I've got nobody else to blame except for Mickey Rourke," [Rourke said]

That's more or less the same thing Rourke told director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) when they first met to discuss The Wrestler in New York. Or rather, it was what Aronofsky told him. "He sits down, and for the first five minutes, he tells me how I fucked up my whole career for 15 years behaving like this, and I'm agreeing with everything," Rourke recalls. "Yes, I did. That's why I haven't worked for 15 years, and I've been working real hard not to make those mistakes." After that, Aronofsky pointed his finger at the actor—something, Rourke says, that not so long ago would have prompted him to say: "Don't do that, OK buddy?"—and laid out the ground rules.

The Wrestler has already been a hit on the festival circuit, winning the Golden Lion Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, and is scheduled for realease in America on December 19, 2008, right in the middle of Awards season.

--Kyle Munzenrieder

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