The once-fractious actor isn't pulling any punches.
Thu Oct 5 2006
Illustration: Rob Kelly
Back in the '80s, if anyone tried to pick a fight with boxer turned actor Mickey Rourke, he'd eagerly oblige—and not give a damn about the consequences. After starring in such Reagan-era staples as Diner and 9 1/2 Weeks, his knack for public brawling—and ever-growing arrest record—earned him persona non grata status in Hollywood. Rourke returned to the boxing ring in 1991, retiring undefeated in '94, but his looks were damaged.
Back in the '80s, if anyone tried to pick a fight with boxer turned actor Mickey Rourke, he'd eagerly oblige—and not give a damn about the consequences. After starring in such Reagan-era staples as Diner and 9 1/2 Weeks, his knack for public brawling—and ever-growing arrest record—earned him persona non grata status in Hollywood. Rourke returned to the boxing ring in 1991, retiring undefeated in '94, but his looks were damaged. Recently, though, the actor has inched his way back onto casting directors' short lists, and he's landed some meaty roles. His turn in Sin City was well received, and now Rourke, 50, plays a villain in the British film Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, a sort of teen James Bond flick. Next, he will star in the heavily buzzed-about Killshot, and Larry Clark wants him to play Captain Hook in his urbanized take on Peter Pan.
You look great in Stormbreaker—you rock some outrageous threads.
I picked them out myself. On painkillers, actually. I was in the middle of recovering from an appendectomy. For some weird reason, I thought everything kind of blended together okay.
Nice. You seem to be having quite the midlife renaissance.
Yeah. I'm grateful to have a second shot at this. I thought the dance was over for me. I'm glad it's not, 'cause I'm having a better time now than I ever had the first time around.
Well, I used to put the blame on everyone else, get angry and out of control. I've worked on those issues, and realized the majority of it was my fault. Nobody else fucked up. I did.
How did you fuck up?
I didn't handle myself in a professional way. I got all upset about the fact that Hollywood is a business, it's political, and a lot of times, it's not about acting. It took me a while to grow up and realize that stuff is the same in any fucking business.
Did your boxing comeback affect your looks?
I had five or six nose operations. They had to remake my nose, and take cartilage out of the back of my ear, since there wasn't any left in the tip of my nose. [Sound of dogs barking] Stop it, guys! I got dog arguments here.
How many dogs have you got?
I've got six: Loki, Chocolate, Bella Loca, Ruby Baby, La Negra—and I got Jaws in my lap right now. He was severely abused, so he's got issues. I'll let you say hello. [Prolonged, menacing growling sound]
Sounds like a real cuddle-puss. Which one is always in pictures with you?
That's Loki. We bonded a long time ago. I've lived alone for ten years, so she's family.
Do you take her to bars?
No. I take her to restaurants, though.
How do you pull that off?
I sit on the patio. But New York's funny. I went to that place Pastis, and they had a problem with her. So I don't go to that fucking place. They're a little too precious there.
You don't seem the small-dog type.
That's fine. When I was in London making Stormbreaker, some drunk guy walks up and goes [Affects a slurred English accent] "Mickey Rourke: I wanna tell you, you like small fucking dogs." And I'm thinking, Listen to this cunt go on about small dogs! He's got small-penis issues or something.
There was an item in Page Six recently about a drunk hassling you at Macelleria in the West Village.
That guy was screaming at the top of his lungs. Then he wants me to shake his hand. I said, "You're drunk. I'm not gonna shake your hand." But he kept pressing the issue, so I told the owner, "If he touches me, I'm gonna punch him in his fuckin' mouth." So the waiters tossed him out. He was really, really out of control—some big fuckin' obnoxious fag.
Fag? That's harsh, man.
I don't mean fag in a derogatory way—just like the guy was a jerk-off. Look, I'm not afraid to say the word fag. I'm not gonna walk on glass because maybe some dude is gonna be offended if I say the word fag. I've got plenty of gay friends. We toss the word around. If I wanna say fag, I'm gonna fuckin' say it. And if somebody has a problem with that, they can kiss my fuckin' ass!
Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker opens October 13.