Mickey Rourke has experienced more career ups and downs than most actors because he stumbled into the film industry. After appearing in Deathwatch, he came to New York City to study at the Actors Studio. Although Diner, Rumble Fish, and Barfly received high praise from critics, he struggled to gain success in 1980s Hollywood. He was rough on set and had tumultuous relationships and irresponsible spending habits.
Rourke returned to boxing, but not before suffering critical wounds. In Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, he returned as an actor and received a Best Actor nomination. His career has declined once more since his surprising return. What led to Mickey Rourke’s difficulties in Hollywood?
Working with Mickey Rourke is infamously challenging. Why should directors keep taking chances on someone who can’t behave on set when so many performers are vying for jobs? Some boundaries shouldn’t be broken, regardless of an actor’s talent.
A “loose cannon” on set, Rourke is. Director Alan Parker states, “Working with Mickey is a nightmare. He poses a risk on the job since he is unpredictable. Being on Rourke’s lousy side on set was terrifying due to his rage. Eventually, many renowned directors gave up. Although he is talented, others are too. His intensity appears to be a strength onscreen but a weakness off.”
Mickey Rourke’s mental health deteriorated as he fell out of favor in Hollywood. His sadness was made worse by overindulgence. Later, according to Rourke, Carré Otis’s divorce was the final straw. He was unsuccessful. Everything he had created was falling apart.
Rourke claims that this was his darkest time. He told Barbara Walters, “I was in a dark place in my thoughts and heart. “I wanted to press a button and vanish.” For almost five months, Rourke spent the night in his closet. According to Rourke, having his dogs gave him something to look forward to during this trying time and helped him get out of bed. He remarked, “The wife left, the career was over, and the money was nothing.” The dogs were on their own.
Many believe they would be wealthy if they earned as much as their favorite celebrity. Although it’s a fair assumption, many Hollywood success tales quickly blow through their money. Even as his career dwindled, Rourke would spend hundreds of dollars on every luxury item he desired.
Rourke acknowledged using cash to purchase six Cadillacs and gift them to pals. He spent $97,000 on the Iranian Shah’s armored desert car in 1986. He only used it five times over two months before selling it. Estimate $20k for each drive. Budget buster, that.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has transformed comic book movies from kiddie fare into blockbuster entertainment that draws in reputable veteran stars. From brief cameos by Robert Redford, Glenn Close, and Tilda Swinton to significant roles for award-winning performers like Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kurt Russell, and Brie Larson, Mickey Rourke was one of the first big names to join the MCU.
Rourke portrayed Ivan Vanko, the main antagonist in Iron Man 2. Many actors would have been thrilled to work on this sequel, even given its time in the early MCU—after all, who doesn’t love Iron Man?—but Rourke continued to complain to anybody who would listen about his bad experiences working with Marvel for years after the film’s debut.
Despite Vanko’s ambition to play a complex antagonist, Rourke claimed that Marvel removed many of Vanko’s character traits from the final product. Rourke described it as “disappointing” and said he was “not a Marvel fan.” He is entitled to his opinion, but as we know, it is not wise to openly disparage a former employer. That might discourage directors from hiring you.
After a bad movie, many actors have learned to play nice and go on quietly. They might joke about it later, but they don’t want to dwell on it or criticize anyone else involved. But Rourke likes to chat. He has publicly criticized many of his movies, including Marvel.
In 2011, Rourke remarked, “In your career and all the movies you make, you’re going to make a few horrible ones.” The frankness is commendable. On the other hand, it’s understandable why he’s struggled to land good roles; creating a movie requires the labor of dozens of people, and it’s impolite when someone breaks ranks to call their work “awful.” Rourke is great, but for a director concerned about set chemistry and receiving negative feedback after the movie’s release, Rourke might seem problematic.
Acting, boxing, and animals all appeal to Mickey Rourke. After winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor for The Wrestler, he thanked his pets. He considers his Pomeranians and Chihuahuas his children and loves them dearly. Despite his intimidating attitude, Rourke is a passionate dog owner.
Rourke frequently takes his fluffy Pomeranian, “Number One,” to lunch dates. Number One was accompanied to an Italian restaurant by Rourke, who also purchased a highchair for him to use. Rourke posted a photo of the lunch to Instagram with the caption “Carbonara Day” and several heart emojis. Even Hollywood’s most infamous bad boys can’t withstand a dog’s unconditional devotion.
Mickey Rourke has acknowledged that he doesn’t frequently perform for pay. He openly admits that he wishes to leave but cannot. If money were not a concern, what would he do? It’s not surprising that Rourke would spend his retirement dealing with animals after reading about his passion for dogs.
Alec Baldwin’s podcast Here’s the Thing featured Rourke saying, “If I could get a job walking dogs and get paid the same amount I do from creating movies, I’d never create another movie.” He appears to be done acting, yet he needs to continue doing so because his free-spending days left him in such a dire financial situation. Not even low-budget films have salaries that most people would kill for, so don’t feel bad for Rourke. He might leave Hollywood and start walking dogs.
Mickey Rourke made his acting debut in the 2019 movie Berlin, I Love You as Jim. Despite having an all-star ensemble, which included Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley, Berlin, I Love You underwhelmed critics. The film has ten stories, all set in the namesake city, although none were united by romance or European beauty.
Even though Rourke rarely plays the lead in romantic comedies, he now seems open to any plot. Rourke’s 2019 appears light, with only Night Walk scheduled for release. Mickey Rourke has further projects in the works, but he no longer cares about money at this point in his career.
Sorry, Rourke fans. The American actor most known for his roles in The Wrestler, Sin City, and 91 2 Weeks reportedly announced his retirement at 70 with immediate effect.