Mickey Rourke Confirms He’ll Play Rugby Icon Gareth Thomas, Who Happens to Be Gay


In July I mentioned that Mickey Rourke had met with gay rugby legend Gareth Thomas in hopes of playing the athlete in a biopic. Rourke discussed it on Alan Carr's UK talk show Chatty Man last night.

Transcript via Bleeding Cool: Thomas

Carr: Is it true you’re about to play a gay rugby player?

Rourke: You’re not supposed to say that, okay? Here’s the deal. When I met the rugby player, Gareth Thomas, this is one thing that he and I talked about. This is something that’s really important. We’re doing a movie about a man who plays rugby who is gay.

Carr: Oh, I see. Sorry, I shouldn’t be so homophobic.

Rourke: That’s the point though.

Carr: Labels.

Rourke: Abso-fucking-lutely. I read the story. it’s one of the tougest, hardest sports in the world to play. They play with no pads. They play… it’s a really brutal sport. To be a man who plays rugby who is gay and to live with that secret for the amount of years that Gareth had, to perform at the high level that he performed at, it takes a lot of courage.

Carr: Are you going to learn the Welsh?

Rourke: I have no choice.

Back in July, Wales on Sunday reported:

"The actor got in touch with the Crusaders star after reading about his life story and deciding he was 'the perfect model' for a film, the player’s management have revealed. The managers of both The Wrestler star and the Bridgend-born 35-year-old are now trying to thrash out a deal to get a movie of the life of Wales’ most-capped international onto the big screen. The pair met for the first time last week at the filming of Jonathan Ross’ last BBC chat show, where Rourke was a guest. A spokesman for Thomas’ management company told Wales on Sunday: 'Mickey Rourke is a big rugby fan and was flying to New York from London recently when he read an article about Gareth and thought he would be the perfect model for a film.  Mickey contacted Gareth directly via a mutual friend in rugby league to express his interest and invited Gareth to watch the Jonathan Ross show and to meet him for dinner afterwards.' Oscar-nominated actor Rourke, 57 – who is a trained boxer – is believed to have been keen to do a film about rugby for some time. But before discovering Thomas’ story he was not sure about how to find an angle for the project."


  1. Michael says

    Makes total sense to me. Gareth may have to stick his head in a meat-grinder to make sure they look a little more alike.

    This movie just dropped down a few thousand notches on my must-see list.

  2. says

    Mickey’s evidently tumbled to the fact that the quickest way to an Oscar is to play gay.
    It also means that one of the ugliest creatures walking the planet will be playing one of the most beautiful creatures walking the planet.

    That’s $13.00 I’ll be saving.

  3. apernettt says

    and yes, I’m shallow and superficial, maybe Vin Diesel? LOL, that’s not oscar-baiting. Anyway, the guy who lands the role must be a stud, rough and beautifully strong and brutal. Rugby by itself is very brutal.

  4. True Words says

    Jason Statham

    Vinnie Jones

    Arnold Vosloo

    Yeah it is short and sweet but that is your list because you need the accent period…Hollywood always fucks up the selection process!

  5. says

    Rourke sounds terrible. Complaining about “gay rugby player”? Really? Is he going to try and act like he’d play the rugby player if he was straight? That’s why the story is remarkable. Get off the high horse.

  6. says

    I’m thinking Christian Bale, skinhead and about a hundred pounds beefier. I’m sure Rourke can do it, with and without additional plastic surgeries to approximate Gareth’s age and beauty. But I’m also thinking that the attractive and underrated Bale will pull in the numbers that will make the movie a winner at the box office as well as an Oscar bait. Rourke as Gareth Thomas doesn’t address the needs of the movie’s largest target demographic, which is the non-sports fans gays and straight women who, single or despite being married, are still waiting for Mr. Right.

  7. Abie says

    This will never happen.
    What film producer is going to invest in any 57 year old actor playing an athlete who is 35 years old now, let alone however young he is supposed to be in the movie? If this is the sort of role Rourke thinks he is suited for, then that’s the end of his comeback.
    Too bad.

  8. Rick S. says

    As I have said elsewhere, this is right up there with that scene in “Mommie Dearest” (and as what happened in real life), when Joan Crawford decides that she can take over her daughter’s role on a soap opera, not to mention Norma Desmond thinking she can play Salome.

    Brace yourself for a Warholian camp spectacle that will make your eyes bleed.

  9. David in Houston says

    I thought, historically, Mickey Rourke was well known to be homophobic. Now he seems to not want to discuss that the real-life character he’ll be playing is gay. That’s kinda the point of doing the movie, no?

  10. Paul R says

    @David in Houston: Money can help overcome a whole lot of homophobia (and not just in acting), especially if an actor can spin it to talk about the “challenges” and hope that people call him brave.

    Even with The Wrestler a huge critical success, Rourke creeps the hell out of most people and it didn’t exactly restore his career. I can’t even look at him. If I somehow end up seeing this movie, I will most decidedly avert my gaze at anything remotely sexual involving him.

  11. ratbastard says

    Somebody is yanking somebody’s chain.

    Vin Diesel would be a far better pick for a well known mainstream actor, at least as far as looks are concerned. But even he isn’t as good looking as Gareth Thomas.

  12. says

    In related news, Joan Rivers will be playing Britney Spears in her up-coming biopic.

    I mean… Mickey is a great actor and I love how he stood up to the casual homophobia from the interviewer. That said.. he’s just WAY too old to play Gareth and… he’s American. And just doesn’t look the part at all.

    I mean, learn Welsh.. great… how are you going to get the body of a Rugby player 25 years younger than you are?

  13. mld says

    ok first off, you guys are all crazy. rourke is not hot, but gareth is maybe a quarter peg more hot and thats about it. second, jason statham is a WAY more obvious pick then vin diesel.

  14. Joe says

    Mickey Rourke is an okay actor who got a good break with the wrestler. Not sure why he is getting this opportunity.

    I’d much rather give the role to a better actor. And one who is also better looking.

  15. AllBeefPatty says

    Sorry, but there seems to be a typo in the headline:

    That should read:


    I know this….

  16. Bruno says

    Kind of funny that he objected to the interviewer’s question as homophobic. Last I heard, he was tossing around the word “faggot” like there was no tomorrow and justifying it by saying he had gay friends and it’s no big deal.

    He’s a little too old and fucked up looking to play Gareth, but other than that he’d probably do a great job.

  17. Justin says

    This really bothers me. I hate to sound shallow (I really do), but he is just far too unattractive and old to play this role.

    Also shallow sounding, but part of Gareth’s appeal and notoriety if you will is that he is a masculine and very attractive man that came out of the closet: you lose that sex appeal and half the story is gone.

    He would be FAR better suited to be the producer, and to be a very loud vocal advocate for the film. Think Ron Howard or Tom Hanks: how many movies are they known for producing without ever actually appearing in the movie? How well known was Oprah’s involvement in Precious without ever being in the movie? Mickey could put some of his money up, and he could be even more well known for a finely crafted and groundbreaking movie, rather than starring in it and making it a bomb.

    Or hell, be the producer and add the role of a RETIRED rugby player that comes out of the closet after Gareth, or helps him on the side come to terms with being out of the closet, or helping him come out of the closet. Movies make up stuff all the time in biographies.

    I really wish there was a way to tell Mickey that we appreciate the sentiment, but there are better ways that he can have success with this movie OTHER than starring in it himself.

    My pic for Gareth would be Jason Statham. As long as the other Rugby players in the movie are not so super tall, he could pull it off (trick of camerawork as he is short).

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