HOLLYWOOD — Surrounded by celebrities like Christina Aguilera, Rose McGowan, Brittany Murphy and Mena Suvari, perennial sourpuss Mickey Rourke was his usual cranky self at the premiere of "Spun" on Monday. (Click to see photos on the red carpet.)
"I really didn't care for the material, and there was no money," confessed Rourke, who plays a speed dealer nicknamed "The Cook" in "Spun."
"I'm sort of listening to my agent right now, and I never really did that before," added the veteran actor, whose résumé includes "9 1/2 Weeks" and "Body Heat." "He suggested several times to me that I make the movie because he's very fond of Jonas Akerlund, the director. I looked at Jonas' reels and I really liked his commercials and his videos a lot more than I liked the material."
"Spun," about a group of meth addicts and suppliers, is Akerlund's feature film debut. The Swedish-born director has earned accolades for controversial videos like the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up," Metallica's "Turn the Page" and Aguilera's "Beautiful."
"The script was kind of questionable," said John Leguizamo ("Summer of Sam"), who plays a dealer named Spider Mike. "And it had to be in the master's hands for it to rock. And [Akerlund] took it — he took it all the way, man."
"I felt really, really blessed to be a part of [it]," gushed Murphy ("8 Mile"). "It was about two years ago when we filmed it, and what a joy. It was quick, it was painless, and it was fun."
Maybe that's because Akerlund approached making "Spun" the same way he approaches music videos. The film boasts flashy editing, animation and original music by Billy Corgan. "It's pretty much the same thing, but [it] just takes a bit longer," he said.
Suvari ("American Beauty") plays Spider Mike's tweaked-out girlfriend, and as fans of her previous work will attest, she's no stranger to risky material.
"Lately I've realized that the things I've been attracted to are just really dark and different," she said. "I love when there's different sides of life that are shown. I think that methamphetamine drug use is really prominent in our society and it's good to show that. It's a really racy and gritty film. You either get it or you don't."
"I think it's important to make a film about [the] drug epidemic," her co-star Jason Schwartzman agreed. "I've never seen anything like it. It's a comedy and it's very serious. It's a comedic tragedy I suppose.
"Crystal meth keeps your life boring and keeps you from changing as a human being," he said when pressed for the movie's underlying message. "It's a bad way to live your life. It brings out the worst in you."
"Spun" is playing in limited release, with more cities to be added in the coming weeks.