It’s two o’clock in the afternoon in a sunny downtown LA studio. The wait has held me in eager anticipation of the arrival of the legendary actor Mickey Rourke. I remember him as Wall Street tycoon John Gray whose 9 1/2 week affair with Elizabeth ( Kim Basinger) drove every women crazy and taught us about the concept of sex in the original Fifty Shades of Grey. Despite Rourke’s gaining recognition, he is also known as a bad boy of Hollywood with mercurial temperament, giving film directors migraines and treating the press with disdain.
He did things “his way” on the set, and there were no two ways about it.
Rourke arrived with his assistant and in his arms he held the infamous tiny pet Pomeranian. He entered studio as if entering the boxing ring for a heavy-weight bout, walked straight towards the make up and asked his assistant for coffee. Here I was face-to-face with the man who was linked to such greats as James Dean and Marlon Brando. I welcomed him in and asked for the name of his adorable pooch, who was now comfortably sleeping on the studio couch.
“Number One” , Rourke replied.
What an unusual name I thought to myself. Reminded me of Dr.Seuss Thing One, Thing Two.
Not many may know that as well as being an accomplished actor, Mickey Rourke is a huge dog lover. In his 2009 Golden Globe acceptance speech for his performance in The Wrestler Rourke took a moment to honor the little dog who saved him, as well as the other furry members of his family. "I'd like to thank all my dogs, the ones who are here and the ones who aren't here any more, because sometimes when a man's alone, all you got is your dog, and they mean the world to me."
“The few friends that I have are mainly from the boxing gym. My best friend today is my assistant Dima, he is from Ukraine and I am very lucky to spend six days a week with him. He is interesting, intelligent and unpredictable but most of all loyal. I am sure I have more acquaintances than I have friends. I don’t socialize a lot in LA, most of my friends live in Europe-France, Germany, Moscow.”
”They are the greatest companions a man could ever have. I have four more at home. Ruby Baby, Egor, Ivan and Gay Joe”
As he works the camera he is giving advice on how to pose to young artist, director, film producer, actor and screenwriter Brian A. Metcalf who joins us on set. Rourke and Brian are good friends and producing an independent crime drama “Twilight Into Darkness”. In this film Rourke will portray a detective who becomes obsessed with finding and stopping a child murderer while searching for his own redemption.
This is not the first time the duo works together. “Twilight Into Darkness” will be the second collaboration for Metcalf and Rourke. Metcalf recently directed Rourke in the drama film “Adverse,” co-starring Penelope Ann Miller, Sean Astin, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Thomas Ian Nicholas.
As our conversation evolves I get to know more and more about the actor.
On seeing himself on a big screen.
It turns out seeing yourself projected on a big screen TV or hearing his own voice is not something Rourke enjoys.
“I don’t do it. I just don’t like it.”
On what he enjoys the most right now
”Training 2-3 times a day is very calming and therapeutic for me. I am still going to have two more boxing matches. I don’t have dates yet, hopefully in August, in the South of France. I am keeping that as a goal. I have to keep up with cardio, with my boxing training and conditioning program, as well as my diet, eating clean. It was hard in the beginning, but now it’s very easy. Because you don’t want to do all this training and put all that wrong food in your body.”
On what he does during his off days
“I look at the boxing as a hobby that I love. For me it’s very relaxing and gives me a discipline that is challenging. I also include swimming in part of my conditioning program. So all together it fills up my day and it also gets me to go to bed early. I live in healthy resistance, maintaining strict discipline, it also helps being in Los Angeles because I don’t really like it here and thankfully there’s no night life ” (laughs).
On keeping fit
”When I don’t have fight date I train about 70% and when I have a date I train twelve to thirteen times a week and my whole conditioning program changes. Usually for the boxing matches I have to take off fifteen pounds. Muscle is a lot hard to take off than fat. If I was in Moscow or London it would be much harder for me to maintain my discipline. “
On most recent projects
”I have one day off which is Saturday and at the moment I am working with Brian Metcalf writing screenplay, it’s a very wealthy time working with very intelligent, upcoming, very ambitious talented director like Brian.”
On his favorite fashion designer
”My favorite clothes designer is guy who I work with, his name is Max Noce and we design my clothes together.”
On tattoo he proudly shows off on his torso
”Asia Ramazan Antar, do you know of her? Beautiful warrior! 19-year-old Kurdish Women’s Protection Fighter who was killed while trying to stop an attack by three Islamic State (Isis) suicide car bombers. I hope she is in better place. God bless her brave soul”
On what his most favorite spot in the world is and if he could be anywhere right now where would he be?
” If I had a choice I would be in Moscow right now (laughs), after that perhaps London. But most of my time I spend with my 5 dogs - Ruby Baby, Number One, Egor, Ivan and Gay Joe.”
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