Mickey Rourke keen to do biopic about 'a man who plays rugby who is gay.' Don't forget Welsh, bald, and kinda scary looking!

Mickey-Rourke-Gareth-ThomasImage Credit: Chris Hatcher/PR Photos; Stu Forster/Getty ImagesWhile appearing on a British chat show on Sunday night, actor Mickey Rourke discussed his plans to play openly gay rugby player Gareth Thomas. But when the show’s openly gay host Alan Carr put it like that to Rourke, the actor gently scolded him. “You’re not supposed to say that,” Rourke said, pointing his finger. “When I met the rugby player, Gareth Thomas, this is one thing that he and I talked about….We’re doing a movie about a man who plays rugby who is gay.”

Okay. Granted, Thomas himself said in his coming out interview with the Daily Mail, “I don’t want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost.” But earlier this year, Sports Illustrated noted in its story about Thomas that the man was literally the only active professional male athlete in a team sport who was openly gay — in the world. Rourke even went on to note that rugby is “one of the toughest, hardest sports in the world to play,” and that “it [took] a lot of courage” for Thomas to be a top tier player in that sport, living with the secret that he’s gay for years before he came out a year ago. But if I’ve got this, er, straight, the movie about Thomas wouldn’t be about that part of his life?

Balderdash. Of course it would. A Gareth Thomas movie would obviously touch on Thomas’ Welsh heritage, his bald head, and his frankly rather terrifying teeth. And it would certainly be riven through with the sport of rugby. But movies thrive on conflict, and sports movies thrive on someone winning against all odds. As that terrific SI story makes crystal clear, Gareth Thomas’ sexuality is at the heart of his story; it’s his central conflict, and it’s how he won against all odds. To pretend otherwise by semantically placing the word “gay” at the end of the sentence instead the beginning is just silly.

Let me put it to you this way: Would you rather see a movie about a gay rugby player? Or one about a rugby player who just happens to be gay?

Comments (26 total) Add your comment
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  • John B.

    In this particular case, yes, I would wanna see a movie about a gay rugby player, only because his sexuality is central to the drama of the story. Like Adam said, this whole film is being done in the first place precisely because of the extraordinary circumstance of Thomas being the only active professional male athlete in a team sport who is openly gay. Now, if there was say, a film about a (gay) rugby player who say, is fighting a custody battle with his ex-wife over a son, and is slowly losing his sanity because of the death of his mother, then, in that case, the main conflict would have nothing to do with him being gay.

  • Jose

    Rourke is a great actor, but isn’t there a 20 year difference between him and Thomas? And what’s with “tougerst” is that supposed to be toughest?

    • FromChicago

      My thoughts too. And didn’t Mickey use the F**ag word in an interview? I hope he’s not broke and needs the money, why else would he want to do this?

      • Jose

        He can’t be broke, Iron man 2 was like the biggest hit of his career, and he said in an interiew that he’s always been a fan of rugby and wanted this role. No idea why though, Jason stathom could pull it off I think.

  • whatevs

    Obviously the movie can’t leave his orientation out of the plot. If the guy were straight, no one would even be making a movie about him.

    • FromChicago

      “If the guy were straight?” Come on, if he had conflict in his life, someone would make the movie….but he has no conflict in his life other than he’s gay. Who wants to see that movie?
      BTW, I love you Phillip Morris is bombing at the movies.

      • TorontoTom

        You’re a closet case, no doubt about it. Issues, issues, issues. ANY article on EW’s website with ANY kind of gay connection automatically has negative comments from YOU every time. You seem WAY too concerned with making sure everyone know that YOU don’t like gay people. Protesting way too much…

      • Weblogic

        $19 million worldwide box office so far on a budget of $13 million.

        Incorrect troll is incorrect.

  • MCS

    EW has been on such a roll lately with the writers producing stupid articles.

  • Guil

    To be honest, it doesn’t sound like it woulc be that interesting a movie. I guess rugby players would like it. I understand his bravery, but the fact that he’s gay is irrelevant to me.

  • KFed

    As a bald, Welsh, scary-looking person I find this headline most offensive. Expect to hear from whichever relevant bodies I can find about this possible racism and blantant baldie bashing.

  • Bob

    Some editing wouldn’t have gone astray in this piece. I’m pretty sure rugby (not “rubgy” as it is in the headline) is one of the toughest (not “tougerst”) sports to play.

  • Olive

    Rourke is way too old to be playing Gareth

  • Adam

    Okay seriously, I hate to be a grammar Nazi, but “rubgy?” “Tougerest?” Don’t you have spellcheck?

    • Weblogic

      So what you really are is a spelling Nazi, rather than a grammar Nazi. And I am apparently a word choice Nazi…but trust me, I was just following orders :)

  • Bubba in TX

    You didn’t mention the best part of the interview, something that was included in the article you linked to, but only in the transcript and without any irony: When Rourke admonishes the interviewer (who happens to be gay, as you DID mention) for bringing up the gay issue, the interviewer says (dripping with sarcasm), “Oh, I see. Sorry, I shouldn’t be so homophobic.” It got a big laugh, and it pointed out how clueless Rourke was being about the subject.

    Frankly, it makes me worry a bit about Rourke’s involvement in the project–at the very least he won’t handle the press very well, but I sure hope he has nothing to do with determining what content ends gets included in the film.

  • TheRealEverton

    I’m not a fan of Rugby at all but, as with any sport, there’s a movie there without the gay conflict. Of course the final third of that movie, where after all the mega macho stuff we finally get to see Thomas, his team mates, fellow players and the public / media deal with him being gay is the more interesting part. Also doubtless the tunnelmvision actor’s guilds and unions awards candy.

    Also the last British sportsman to come-out, whilst still playing was footballer Justin Fashanu. He was virtually disowned by his own brother, another pro footballer, and found great difficulty getting any top clubs, or even lower division clubs, to buy him and play him. A false accusation and tragic misunderstanding led to his suicide at just 37; the fall out from his coming out ( which was messy) and subsequent career problems undoubtedly contributed to his fateful decision to end his life.

  • Wynn

    NO! NO! NO! Mickey is far too old and grotesque because of his botched plastic surgery operations to portray Gareth! Besides, he totally overweight and out of shape. No! God help the casting director who casts Mickey, feeding his vanity.

    • whatevs

      Uh, Mickey isn’t even half as grotesque as Gareth is. I’ll give you the age thing, but that picture with his teeth will be in my nightmares now.

  • Jay

    I don’t see Jason Statham taking on a role like that ever.

    • Stacie

      ‘Member those rumors about the Transporter being gay? Next movie, they come up with a horrible “love interest”. Statham may look the part, but I agree he’d never do it.

  • Rob

    Kind of funny how the SI story linked in this article points out his nickname is ALF, and the very next Popwatch story is about…ALF. Thats two more ALF references today than I’ve seen in the last 10 years, haha.

  • jmcg

    I have a hard time looking at Rourke when he plays a regular character. In Iron Man, he was such a freak it fit. Can they find a real Welshman to play the guy?

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