It’s still difficult to believe Mickey Rourke will really play Welsh international Rugby star Gareth Thomas in a film, not only because it’s a surprise Rourke is a fan of rugby, but the Hollywood star is 22 years Thomas’ senior. However, as Rourke announced earlier this year, he wants to star in a movie about Thomas, who became the first professional rugby player to come out as gay.
Now the Daily Express reports that to truly get to grips with his role, Rourke has been training with a gay rugby team in LA. The actor says, “I’ve been training with them for six months. I can’t wait to do the best job in the world I can.”
Rourke’s inspiration for the film came after he ended up having an arm wrestling match with the Huddersfield Giants rugby team. They gave him a magazine about their club, which contained an article about Thomas coming out. Rourke then saw a TV programme that spoke about the player’s decision to announce his sexuality, which led the actor to setting up a meeting with Gareth and from there, Rourke managing to tie up the rugby player’s life rights for a movie.
Rourke says, “We’re gonna do this movie now. Thomas announced his retirement [October 25th]. I’ve been writing the script for the past year. Hopefully we’ll do it in March.”
Whether Rourke will make a believable rugby player struggling with his sexuality is yet to be seen – although perhaps more pertinent is whether he’ll make a believable professional rugby player at the age of 59. It’ll be worth a watch whatever the results.