The long, strange career path of [movieperson id="54512"]Mickey Rourke[/movieperson] has seen him as a heartthrob, a boxer and a barfly. He’s been Harley Davidson, Randy “The Ram” Robinson and — most shockingly — an Oscar nominee.
Now, the veteran actor could be a certified super-villain.
DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com is reporting that Rourke has signed on to play a Russian villain in the eagerly anticipated [movie id="390378"]“Iron Man 2.”[/movie] Coming off his Oscar-nominated performance in director Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” the red-hot Rourke was also reportedly being considered for “Spider-Man 4,” but his participation in that film will likely stall now that he’s been claimed by Tony Stark.
Scarlett Johansson was also reportedly added to the cast, replacing Emily Blunt as Black Widow, according to Deadline Hollywood. The site reports that Johansson screen-tested for the role previously and didn’t get it. Blunt spoke about losing the role at a press event last month, saying, “It’s a little disappointing is all I can say.”
Although the confirmation of Rourke’s involvement is thrilling, the story isn’t exactly unexpected. We first got wind of the resurrected character actor joining the superhero franchise back in January, then heard from Robert Downey Jr. that Rourke’s character was not the oft-suspected Crimson Dynamo. When asked if Rourke were going to be playing high-tech villain Whiplash, however, Downey cryptically added: “I can neither confirm nor deny that.”
Asked for clarification on Wednesday (March 11), a Paramount rep said the studio had “no comment” on Rourke’s role or the Deadline Hollywood report that he had been cast.
The 56-year-old Rourke would fit in well on the “Iron Man” sequel set, joining the newly resurrected Downey. When Rourke first hit Hollywood in the early ’80s, his good looks and cool persona got him cast in such classics as “Diner,” “Rumble Fish” and “Nine 1/2 Weeks.” Much like Downey, his career hit a rough patch in the following decade — but he publicly put his troubled past behind him a few years ago and is only now beginning to fulfill the promise he once harnessed so effortlessly.
Based on the classic Marvel Comics character, “Iron Man” became one of the biggest hits of 2008, taking in more than $300 million domestically. The sequel has a targeted release date of May 7, 2010, and recently signed Samuel L. Jackson to return as sneering S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury.
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[This story was originally published at 8:07 pm E.T. on 3.11.09]