Mickey Rourke Slams Sean Penn’s Acting, Calls Him Homophobic


Gerald Posner reports in The Daily Beast:

Penn“After his December 23 appearance on David Letterman, [Mickey] Rourke told someone backstage that he was surprised that so many people seemed to think that Penn was his Oscar competition since ‘I’m not even sure he’ll get a nomination.’ On December 28, a Los Angeles entertainment honcho shared a text message that Rourke had sent him: ‘Look seans an old friend of mine and i didnt buy his performance at all—thought he did an average pretend acting like he was gay besides hes one of the most homophobic people i kno’ [sic] … ‘It’s a shame,’ says one veteran Hollywood lawyer. ‘Mickey should be looking at this as a once in a career chance for a fresh start. But dumping on Penn is not going to win him any friends. It’s not the way to get Oscar votes.'”

Rourke also has no business making homophobe accusations.

In 2006, Rourke tried to explain his way out of an incident at a restaurant in which he referred to a fellow patron as “some big obnoxious fag.” Said Rourke: “Look, I’m not afraid to say the word fag. I’m not gonna walk on glass because maybe some dude is gonna be offended if I say the word fag. I’ve got plenty of gay friends. We toss the word around. If I wanna say fag, I’m gonna fuckin’ say it. And if somebody has a problem with that, they can kiss my fuckin’ ass!”

Last month, Rourke found himself in the same situation after telling a paparazzo outside a Hollywood nightclub, “tell that faggot who wrote all that shit in the paper I’d like to break his fucking legs.”

Rourke later issued an apology for the fag slur.


  1. Chiot Moite says

    The only problem is that he’s right. Have any of you actually seen clips of Harvey Milk? He wasn’t limp wristed like Penn plays him. Franco did an amazing job though.

  2. Jay says

    Considering what he’s done to his face, this is hardly the source for perspective.

    I thought his was one of only two good performances in “Sin City,” though.

  3. Bryan says

    How ’bout we take a break from the endless “victim du jour” posts, the ridiculous assumption that the personal lives and vocabularies of actors are somehow significant (actors, for chrissakes!), and simply admit that Penn’s clueless performance as Milk was a profound disappointment?

    RuPaul could give a better evocation of Gerald Ford than Penn did a gay man.

  4. Brandon h says

    How was penn supposed to act? Harvey milk wasn’t exactly a Rock Hudson type.

    His portrayal seemed accurate to me, and moving.

  5. Keith says

    Sean Penn’s Harvey seems a bit softer than the real Harvey because his voice is higher. The real Harvey had a booming baritone but he certainly wasn’t shy about camping it up.

  6. dogthe hunter says

    Why do I doubt this insider e-mail is true?Because it’s a national enquirer story.Bullshit !

  7. scar2 says

    So what if Penn didn’t mimic Milk perfectly? It was still a strong performance. He totally disappeared into the role. He looked & acted like a different person. I didn’t mind that he acted a bit fey. A lot of gay people are like that & Penn may have made a conscious decision to add that perspective into the role.

    As for Rourke, he knows Penn is his toughest competition so he’s acting like a jerk about it. Penn may have been homophobic in his younger days but it’s clear he’s not now. I will still see ‘The Wrestler’ cuz I’ve heard only good things about it & I’m a big fan of Darren Aronofsky. However, I have less respect for Rourke now.

  8. says

    What an idiot. If the story is true, then Rourke hasn’t learned his lesson and deserves the backlash.
    As for the Best Actor Oscar race, it will probably be a close call between Penn and Rourke. Both give transcendent performances in two great films. I’d be happy if either one won – even happier if they share it (which never happens, save once or twice). But there were a few great performances this year (see The Visitor!) so who knows what will happen.

  9. says

    Milk is by far the best film of the year and Penn’s acting was absolutely amazing. Regardless of whether or not Penn was able to perform Milk’s every idiosyncrasy, he gave an incredible and inspirational performance. The Wrestler doesn’t open in my market for a few more weeks and I’m planning to see it for sure. But I am an avid moviegoer and Milk is definitely the best film of 2008 from the competition I’ve seen. Penn couldn’t be all that homophobic. If he was, he wouldn’t have chosen to play a gay character out of fear of what the possible repercussions to his career could be. If this story is true, it sounds to me like it’s a case of jealousy due to some early positive Oscar buzz Penn is garnering.

  10. ChrisM says

    Man, I thought Rourke died of an overdose years ago – maybe he just looks like it. Obviously he’s got to do something to get some press since most people couldn’t name a movie he’s been in during the past 10 or 15 years. I’m old enough to remember Harvey Milk and the 70’s and 80’s and in my opinion Sean Penn (of whom I’m not usually a fan), and the movie, hit it perfectly.

  11. realitythink says

    I thought Sean Penn’s performance in Milk was very moving and gripping. So what if he portrayed Milk’s effeminate side on occasion, he also portrayed him as a very strong and courageous man.

    I seem to remember reading about Penn first entering the room in character when many of Milk’s friends were there (they helped him shape the character) and those people were filled with emotion and moved to tears. They had to leave the room it was so chilling to them.

    And some of you people are criticizing that performance as if you knew Milk?

    I find it very hard to believe that Sean Penn is a homophobe.

  12. BC says

    Penn may be great at acting, but doesn’t anyone care that he has been a profound supporter of world leaders who actively are anti-gay. He has spoken loudly in support of the leaders of Iran and Venezuela where gays have been put to death. He seems to have no problem with that at all. Not to mention the support of various other dictators who also deny any rights of gays.

    Yes, I know that our country does not do much for gay rights either. However I can be damn sure that I am not going to be put in the gas chamber tomorrow for kissing my boyfriend today. In these other countries that Mr. Penn is an active supporter of, gays cannot say that.

    It seems to me that sometimes we as a community are so wishy-washy that as soon as someone “plays gay” we absolutely have to love them. I have never really liked Sean Penn. Although I am excited to see Milk, I doubt it will change my opinion of him as a person.

  13. Alex says

    Penn’s Harvey Milk was effeminate?

    Wait? What?

    Perhaps my definition of effeminate is Paul Lynde, but my definition of masculine isn’t grunting like a boar in heat while clutching a muddy football. Penn’s performance of Milk was incredibly nuanced and very reminiscent of the MAJORITY of gay men I know. We all have our little moments of campiness or softness, but I don’t think that makes us any less masculine.

    I felt it was one of the rare times I saw a cinematic portrayal of a gay man by a straight actor that felt accurate to my personal experience. It was done without condescecion or charicature and for that I commend Penn (and am rooting for him at the Oscars this year).

  14. Dback says

    I’ve seen “The Times of Harvey Milk,” and thought Penn pretty much nailed Harvey–not just the externals, but his sweetness of spirit as well as his political cunning and charisma. I’m aware that he’s expressed admiration for some leaders who were anti-gay; however, some of these leaders were also trying to keep their people alive, fed, and healthy, so it’s a no-win situation. (Some may recall Pen’s cameo in “Before Night Falls.”)

    I thought Rourke might win, due to his big “comeback” vehicle and the Academy’s reluctance to honor gay performances & issues; however, Rourke may have just stumbled badly enough to put Penn through, which would be nice. (Alas, Best Picture I’m resigned to going to “Slumdog”–even though a foreign-language film has never won, they’ll break 80 years of precedent rather than give it to “Milk.”)

  15. DB says

    Really, Mickey Rourke is probably insane. He always has been and the drugs and fighting have probably damaged his brains even more.

  16. martymartymarty says

    All of these show biz types (including those evangelicals ‘cos what is more show biz than church?) who have all of these “plenty of gay friends” sure are a puzzle. Where are these friends? What gay men really don’t mind being called “fag”? or hearing something sarcastically described as “gay”? None of *my* gay friends, that’s for sure, and as a gay man I *do* have plenty of them for real.