Belfast Telegraph

Rourke: Thomas will define career

Mickey Rourke has said that his portrayal of rugby star Gareth Thomas in The Welshman will be "the most important film" of his career.

The Bafta-winning actor will star as the retired rugby player, known as Alfie, who came out as gay in 2009 in the movie.

"The Welshman will be the most important film of my career. No matter what happens," he told SoFilm.

Mickey, who received an Oscar nomination for his role in The Wrestler, decided to write the film himself after bringing in a professional scriptwriter.

"The guy wore a tweed jacket with elbow patches. He looked like a writer, he wanted to act like one, but he wasn't a writer," he said. "He was a little homophobic and he knew nothing about rugby."

The biopic has Gareth's full backing, the 61-year-old actor revealed.

Mickey confessed: "I was really nervous asking him to read it, because it's his life story. And because there were others who wanted to make the movie. But he told his manager, who was negotiating with a studio, 'I trust Mickey'."

Mickey told how he was inspired to bring Gareth's story to life on the big screen after he read an article about him.

"I was in London, in a bar, late at night. I was drinking tequila on my own. Four guys in suits came in, I looked at them and I thought, 'F***, I'm going to get my a** kicked'," he recalled.

The actor added: "I didn't know if they were gangsters, or what. In the end they turned out to be four rugby players from up north. We became very close, we arm wrestled all night. When they left, they left me a magazine with an article about Alfie. After that, I went to Wales and I bought the rights."

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