Mickey Rourke spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about his favorite films of all time, and also reflected on the great reception that The Wrestler (and his own performance, for which he’s received a Golden Globe nomination) has enjoyed. “It’s a movie I’m very proud of,” Rourke said. “It’s the best movie I’ve ever made, the hardest movie I’ve ever made. I think Darren Aronofsky is one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. I’d put him right up there with [Michael] Cimino, [Francis Ford] Coppola and Adrian Lyne.”
The Wrestler is currently in limited release and is Certified Fresh at 98 percent on the Tomatometer.
The Deer Hunter. I think the subject matter was very interesting. The way Michael Cimino works, he just got so much out of his actors, especially De Niro, Walken, and John Cazale, even secondary characters like the French guy in the movie. I’ve probably seen the movie 30 times, and you’re just on the edge of your seat the whole time, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. I think the interesting relationship that Walken and De Niro had with Meryl Streep is very complex. Really great movies are made out of special moments, and there were just so many moments in the movie, like when Chris Walken broke down when they were asking him his family’s name while he’s sitting in the window. I always remember that. The way that Bobby De Niro went back to rescue his friend. I think the movie had a lot of layers and a lot of integrity, and I think the love these men had for one another was so real you could identify with it. It was like going back to get your brother, you know?
I love the first Godfather movie, part one. And two. Another great director, Coppola. And then of course, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro. I had heard the stories about how they wanted a whole other cast, and Francis was under the gun and he rose to the occasion. He got great performances out of Pacino, and De Niro was unbelievable. All the secondary guys from Joe Spinell to Michael Gazzo. The casting was impeccable. He got a lot of great performances from people who were just getting into the business themselves.
Duvall, everybody had so many layers. The performance he got out of Lee Strasberg, who never really did much acting in front of the camera. When I was in the Actor’s Studio, the only actor that Lee actually spoke to was Al, so [Coppola] used the relationship that the two had and that was quite interesting.
There was a movie Kirk Douglas did that I loved a lot, Lonely Are the Brave. You’ll have to look that one up. I actually met him about 14 years ago, and he actually said that was his favorite movie.
RT: Just like you have said that The Wrestler is your favorite movie of your own
MR: Hands down. It’s kind of nice being able to say that after so many years of my answer being: “I haven’t made it yet.”
[Darren] surrounded me with a great stunt coordinator, and he took the time [for me] to put all the muscle on and to learn how to wrestle, and the scenes that he allowed me to rewrite.
RT: Which scenes did you rewrite?
MR: The scenes with Evan Rachel Wood and the speech at the end. Working with Evan, she’s only 21 and she’s just so f***ing professional. She’s so good and each take she got better and better. She’s probably the best actress I’ve ever worked with.
RT: She’s tremendous for her age.
MR: She’s tremendous for even beyond her age.
I really liked On the Waterfront, I have to put that up there. Those great scenes with Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger. Really great scenes with Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint.
There’s an old movie that Rita Hayworth was in that I really loved because I thought she was just smokin’ in it. [Gilda.] She just reminds me of all the girls that I want to be with. It was a movie where she was driving all the men crazy. I was going crazy, too. [My] favorite female actresses: Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman. And Evan Rachel Wood.
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