Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mickey Rourke Explains His Preparation For 'The Wrestler': 'I Had Some Demons'

Mickey Rourke's performance as Randy "the Ram" Robinson in "The Wrestler" is the kind of thing you can't wait to tell everybody you know about. You may have heard the first whispers about it already. Since debuting at the Venice Film Festival last week and premiering in North America at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week, the buzz has started to build. And I'm here to tell you it's for real. If this isn't an Oscar-caliber performance, I don't know what is.

A moving and soulful portrait of a man who can find no peace outside of a wrestling ring, Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" could have been pitched as "Rocky Balboa" without the happy ending. Eschewing the stylistic flourishes he became known for with films like "Requiem for a Dream" and "The Fountain," Aronofsky's latest offering is spare and quietly mesmerizing, even when its protagonist is bleeding and battered.

MTV News caught up with Rourke and Aronofsky in Toronto only hours after the film was sold to Fox Searchlight (which will, by all accounts, release "The Wrestler" for awards consideration before the end of the year). We found an introspective and ultimately upbeat Rourke, mindful of his past mistakes and eager for the next phase of his career.

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