Mickey Rourke said, Change has been hard for me, despite the movie The Wrestler resurrected his career and earned him a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of an aging, bad-boy wrestler.
I kind of wasn't that excited about doing it. There were some parallels there that were a little too close to home, He said.
Following his performance in 9½ Weeks 20 years ago with Kim Basinge he did not deal well with success. He drank, got in fights, didn't show up on time or sometimes at all for work, and lost his passion and his accountability. For a time, he even pursued a career as a professional boxer, a sport he had taken up as a boy growing up in Miami.
If you misbehave for most of your career like I did, and, say, 13, 14 years have gone by, there's still going to be people that are wary of you.
Rourke refused to accept The Today Show's Matt Lauer's invitation to declare him self totally back. Despite the universally glowing reviews of the film and his acting for The Wrestler, that perfectly fit Rourke's character, Randy the Ram, is a former superstar who now finds himself chasing the shadows of fame in small-town wrestling shows in high school gyms in New Jersey.
I don't think I can allow myself to feel like I've made it all the way back, he said, his words echoing.
When he accepted his Golden Globe for best actor and listed those he wanted to thank, he singled out his dogs as he live with his seven Chihuahuas. Sometimes when a man is alone, that's all you got is your dog, he said in his acceptance.
Lauer asked if Rourke had thought about what sort of speech he would give if he wins the Academy Award for best actor.
I don't think I've allowed myself to go that far, Rourke replied. That's sort of too far down the road to allow myself.
Lauer asked what the success of The Wrestler means to the actor.
To be honest with you, just to be back in the game and working again on movies that have integrity and directors that I respect, that was a big hump to get over, he replied.
But there's still work to do, still people who aren't convinced that he's really changed.
For me, what I look forward to is the people who thought, 'He's finished, and I'll never work with him.' I want to convince them, Rourke said.