FIRST LOOK

First Look: Mickey Rourke in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler

by
February 8, 2008
Source: WXW Wrestling

First Look: Mickey Rourke in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler

When I first heard that The Fountain director Darren Aronofsky's next two movies happened to be titled The Wrestler and The Fighter, I was quite shocked. Not only because of the eerie similarity in the titles, but because they don't seem like movies I'd expect Aronofsky to take on. First up is The Wrestler, which Aronofsky is shooting at the moment, that tells the story of retired professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson played by Mickey Rourke, best known as Marv in Sin City. Thanks to the guys at WXW Wresting, we've got the first photo of Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram" Robinson.

Mickey Rourke as Randy 'The Ram' Robinson

The Wrestler is the story of retired professional wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson, making his way through the independent circuit, trying to get back in the game for one final showdown with his former rival.

The guys at WXW Wrestling explained that Hasbrouck Heights, NJ’s Pioneer Club was transformed into a movie set for two nights. In-ring fights were shot with a live WXW Wrestling crowd. They also said that Mickey Rourke's trainer, 2007 WWE Hall of Famer Afa the Wild Samoan, was there ringside watching the wrestling action. Scenes were also shot in the locker room as well with other WXW wrestlers.

To be honest, I'm really not impressed with any of this. I'm entirely confused as to why Aronofsky, the brilliant mind behind The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream, would be making a movie about professional wrestling? That photo above doesn't get me excited in the least and I'm quite worried that this could be a flop. But at the same time, Aronofsky is too amazing to turn out a bad movie, so I'm just hoping to be surprised whenever I actually see The Wrestler. We'll keep you updated on all the latest with Darren Aronofsky as things happen.

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  • Zach D.
    Yeahhh, this one is definitely a mystery to me as well.
  • lee
    I have to be honest, I was a little confused by this article. Firstly, the remark about the photo, its one photo what kind info can you possibly gain from it and in what regard does it reflect the box office potential of the movie, by the way wasn't The fountain a huge failure commerically. Secondly, If his previous movies floated ya boat, then I dont understand why this movie would seem so confusing. It's Aronofsky he aint a hack, when u watch a picture by this guy it's because it's Aronofsky not because it's a movie about a women dying of cancer and her husband trying to save her or about kids doing drugs in Coney Island, this is not going to be a middle of the road studio movie, the guy has a unique cinematic vision. It's so great to see Mickey Rourke getting a shot with a great director, it's been a while since his talent was in such good hands. Whatever happens it will be an interesting movie, a failure or a success. Peace.
  • You think Mickey Rourke is best known for Sin City??? That's a good reason why I should never, ever return to this website. You just VH1'd yourself dude.
  • Connor, let me explain. I don't mind "showing my age" or getting VH1'd or whatever, because it's the same age that we cater to with our readers… I know that obviously Mickey Rourke has a lot more than just Sin City, but not only do "older" folks also know him as that, but more people probably know him as Marv than anything else... In essence, what I mean is that, if you add up the collective of all people out there who are movie fans and reading this site, they probably range in age from 14 to 60, and to cover ALL age ranges, I think the biggest number of people out there know him in Sin City on top of many other roles. But it's just covering everything... I actually thought about whether to include some of his other roles, but then I just thought, Sin City is most prevalent with our readers and with people who know Mickey beyond just that, it's all encompassing, so why not. Lee - there's no reason to be confused, because what I was trying to say is that wrestling, especially the kind that this picture presents, is such a "dumbed down" form of entertainment, and it's odd to see someone like Aronofsky, who is known for his highly intellectual and smart films, to be doing something about a wrestler... Just... sort of doesn't make sense. And I say it context with the photo because this is the first time we've had any real introduction to the movie or what's going on, and once you have something visual to reference, that's when it throws you for a loop in regards to Aronofsky. Sure, I'll see it, and as I said at the end, I'm expecting a lot because of who Aronofsky is, but for now, I'm a bit confused...
  • superplex
    You might not be excited about this film but im a wrestling fan as you can tell from my handle and im looking forward to it. It looks like the wrestling industry is finally going to get a film that doesnt take the piss out of wrestling and make it look like a joke but will hopefully show the hard work that wrestlers put into there proffesion and the sacrafices they have to make to pursue it.
  • Scott S.
    When I was pursuing my graduate degree in film theory, I gave a lecture about the parallels between professional wrestling and early-American folk theatre. Merely bringing the topic of pro wrestling into this particular university lecture hall drew an amazing amount of criticism from students and colleagues who thought it too low-brow for their cultured minds (save for one Exeter-educated transfer student who "got it"). I find that you have the same attitude. You might want to toss your notions of high-brow and low-brow and look at the subject for what I presume it might turn out to be, an observance of a popular form of entertainment and a psychological study of those who engage in it.
  • Roberto
    Alex: Your confusion about the subject matter, like your identification of Rourke as being best known from "Sin City," betrays your shallow tastes and callow youth. What's wrong with professional wrestling or boxing as subject matters? Many an old Hollywood classic dealt with such subject matter, ie, "Requiem for a Heavyweight." Too many contemporary films lack character driven drama and pose as being cerebral constructs but just come off as empty and vapid as video games or amusement park rides. I don't like everything Rourke or Arnofsky have done, but the idea of an "intellectual" director working with an actor like Rourke with physical presence sounds promising. Maybe it'll be "Barfly" with a few more lumps and in a lower mimetic form. In the meantime maybe you should hit the gym and bone up on a few old school classics. And by the way, Scott S., I'm not sure what film theory has ever done to help make good film. Characters are what we need, not theory. You sound like an obtuse academic too busy constructing anthropological analogies to tell a story that would move someone emotionally. No wonder 98 percent of contemporary mainstream film seems flippant and shallow.
  • G-man
    I agree with everything that has been said, insofar as Alex's comments reveal his narrow vision. Luckily, there are people out there who don't discriminate against things just because they seem low-brow. I've been around, from the street to the Ivy League itself (PhD) - those high-brow minds are often the most boring and unappealing of them all. Great job Alex! Time to stroke your chin!
  • Will
    "To be honest, I'm really not impressed with any of this. I'm entirely confused as to why Aronofsky, the brilliant mind behind The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream, would be making a movie about professional wrestling? That photo above doesn't get me excited in the least and I'm quite worried that this could be a flop." A movie garnering as much Oscar buzz as is The Wrestler before wide release can hardly be coined a flop. You're a moron Alex Billington.
  • Heather Brooks
    I would take this off the internet. It just makes you look stupid. I haven't seen this movie yet - but it is killing it on the ratings. Rottentomatoes.com gave it an approval rating of 97% (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_wrestler/) and the users at IMDB gave it 8.8 approval (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1125849/). These are super high rates for movie. Also - isn't it amazing that Rourke can do so much to change his look. This doesn't seem - at all - like the same guy from 9 1/2 Weeks. So, Alex, I would update this article. It doesn't reflect well upon you. Heather Brooks Raleigh, NC
  • I just finished watching the film and thought it was incredible.
  • jake
    whoever wrote this is a beek
  • Kitty
    And Mickey just won a Golden Globe.....eat that
  • hbomb
    I guess everyone at the hollywood foreign press disagreed with you guys...LOL!
  • Lori
    "To be honest, I'm really not impressed with any of this. I'm entirely confused as to why Aronofsky, the brilliant mind behind The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream, would be making a movie about professional wrestling? That photo above doesn't get me excited in the least and I'm quite worried that this could be a flop." I have zero interest in wrestling and I have to say this was one of the best films I have seen in a long time. In the words of George Clinton, "Free your mind, and your ass will follow".
  • Ed
    What a great film! Rourke is great, and deserves all major praise, which he's getting. I went in expecting some kind of Rocky V film, and was blown away. My 17 year old liked it too. BTW, saw it at the Jacob Burns Film Center, which is the best art film house ever.
  • Jake
    Just saw The Wrestler. It's fantastic. Mickey Rourke is better than he's ever been and this film is on par with Requiem for a Dream as a character study. Gotta see it.
  • Sara
    Mickey Rourke is God! If the idiot who wrote this had ever seen Homeboy, he would possibly get why Rourke was perfect for this and why we're outraged at his ignorance.
  • The wrestler was not only the best film of 2008 but it displayed a completely new side of aronfsky. It was beautiful to realize that he didn't need the high-faluten content (math, mayan, meth or otherwise) to create a gripping and haunting film. Rourke deserves best actor and Tomei deserves a cloud to live upon after her amazing performance. Also outraged at the lack of DUE DILLIGENCE (re:search), Alex. Not a hater here but dude if you are gonna blog about film read up on IMDB before posting.
  • Libby
    I agree with everything previously stated here. The lack of credit for Rourke's other, more well known movies (Diner, 9 1/2 weeks) is really rather odd. It does seem like a way to hook in younger viewers (and I'm still in my 20s, thanks) by mentioning only Sin City, in which you can barely recognize him. This movie earned him a Golden Globe and Oscar Nomination. You call Aronofksy "brilliant" and in the same breath more than imply that wrestling is beneath him. I'm glad that he is nothing like you; and decides his movie choices on content. You made an early review of a movie you knew nothing about, and that is unprofessional. It makes you look amaturish and uninformed...something a critic shouldn't be. Next time, try watching the movie or reading the script before opening your mouth (or hitting your keyboard).
  • HAHA
    Don't you feel dumb now???? Golden Globe Maybe an Oscar lifes a bitch

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