Tom Hardy in Talks to Play Gay Rugby Icon Gareth Thomas After Mickey Rourke Drops Out


Mickey Rourke has pulled out of a starring role in a movie he's developing about gay Welsh rugby icon Gareth Thomas because he says he's too old for the training, The Sun reports. Rourke is 59.

RourkeSaid Rourke: "The physical thing is harder than I thought. I'm just trying to get fit enough to do it."

So now they're considering other actors:

Gareth said: "I was talking to Mickey yesterday and basically we're now talking to other big-name actors who could play the part instead. We had talked about using computer-generated special effects with Mickey but we don't think that will be as realistic, so it's time to find someone new."

He revealed Batman star Tom Hardy (above left) is now in talks for the part that will feature Gareth's personal struggle when he came out as gay in 2009.


  1. strepsi says

    Mickey is, strangely, a class act. I loved his interviews on “Chatty Man”. How did Mickey know what the producers didn’t, but that anyone who has eyes did? He was just too old for the part, he’s 60. My next choice would be Mark Strong, but he’s pushing it at 50.

    My choices:

    1) Jason Statham

    2) Tom Hardy

    3) Tom Sturridge

    4) Alex Pettyfer

  2. MT says

    Oh God yes! Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!. I would LOVE to see Tom Hardy in this role. I think he could totally pull it off.

  3. AndyWarholsWig says

    FINALLY! YES! I can’t express how happy this makes me. Mickey Rourke is an extraordinary actor, but I never understood this casting. Tom Hardy would be PERFECT. Although, I’ll agree with strepsi: Jason Statham would be awesome as well, but I think Hardy would bring a little more emotion to the role.

  4. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    Mickey Rourke thought he should play Gareth Thomas? That’s some ego y’got there, Mickey.

  5. Bryce Forestieri says

    Tom Hardy is an awesome start but if they don’t get a good director and a good script no matter who the actor is the movie is gonna suck as most mediocre biopics/semi-biopics do.

  6. RichB in PS says

    Do not know how and why Rourke ever. To name only two such as Hardy or Statham does have appeal and work well in the box office.

  7. Ricco says

    It takes an ego to pursue any acting job, but no more ego for Mickey Rourke to pursue the role of Gareth Thomas, or Kathryn Hepburn to play Jade in Pearl S. Buck’s “Dragon Seed, another caucasian actress, Luise Rainer, to play another Chinese character in Buck’s “The Good Earth . . . or Tom Cruise the role of LeStat in “Interview With A Vampire” . . . . and the list of crazy miss-castings go on forever, and some of then even win Oscars (Luise Rainer) . . . but here is what I like about the uber-straight Mickey Rourke wanting to develop the character of Gareth Thomas, and that is his unabashed admiration of a gay man.

    All of us want things that seem to others silly, even insane. Not all of us want something as badly as Mickey Rourke did, and have the ability to be honest with ourselves.

    From my perspective he is not an egotistical man, but a humble man with a healthy self-esteem. No one reaches the top of their profession, as he has, without believing in themselves.

    I am pleased, as Gareth Thomas was, that Mickey Rourke was so enamored of a gay man’s story.

    It’s called advocacy.

  8. says

    Well, good for an accomplished actor like Mickey Rourke for giving it a shot. But I never did understand how an audience was to believe someone who will be 60 at the time of filming playing a man whose international rugby career went from his early 20s to mid 30s before he retired. I know Hollywood has a habit of casting 30-year olds as high school students, but this case seemed like one that would be enough of a stretch to cause reviewers to dismiss the whole movie as unrealistic.
    I could imagine Mickey Rourke could add a lot to the movie cast as someone other than “young Gareth.” though.

  9. LincolnLounger says

    Hardy or Jason Statham are obvious choices. I thought the Mickey Rourke casting was bizarre from the get-go.

  10. Hollywood, CA says

    Aaawwweee… bless your heart, Mickey. I remember being so excited when this project was in the works, but being horrified that Mickey thought he could play this part. Then it was just a waiting game… like watching a child get a some huge prize and slowly working out in their head that it would be better to share it with their little siblings, then be greedy and take it all for themselves.

    You made a wise choice and the movie will prosper for it. Unless Tom Hardy is busy, there’s really no reason to look any further. Tom is 100% comfortable with his sexuality to fully embrace this character without belaboring the “I’m straight, I’m straight, I”m straight” point during the media circuit.


  11. tjm2112 says

    Hardy and Thomas look absolutely nothing alike, sound absolutely nothing alike, and probably play absolutely nothing alike.

    Despite Hardy’s indisputably superior acting skill, Stratham is a much wiser (and sexier) choice.

  12. jaragon says

    Oh yeah! Thank God Micky came to his senses ( or he must have seen some actual rugby games) perhaps he can play Tom Hardy’s father or trainer. Jason Stathan looks more like Thomas but Hardy is better actor- and he is gonna look super hot in those tight shorts!

  13. Ninong says

    Tom Hardy would be a perfect physical choice for this role. I hope he gets it and I hope the script does the story justice!

  14. ian says

    Glad to learn of this change. Love Mickey, but he was miscast here. If there is ever a Madonna bio he should be cast in the lead. Seriously, that would be a scream.

  15. jaragon says

    Stathan is better known as an action star and unless he has Oscar ambitions I doubt he would be play a gay man.

  16. pseudoamericano says

    I’m still at a loss at to why there is a biopic being made about Gareth Thomas? Good for him that he came out and all but does it really warrant a movie? If we use this standard, then there really should be movie about Justin Fashanu. His bravery should be lauded and recognized as well. That is my two cents.

  17. says

    Hardy is too pretty (thus the persistent , wishful thinking gay rumors) to play Thomas, who is on the treshold of ugly, if it weren’t for his hot build. Jason Statham is a likelier physical fit but he needs to bulk up for the role. He also has that requisite wordless, self-disciplined stoicism that Thomas wears like an aura. I look forward to the locker-room tension and his eventual succumbing to the sexual advances of a particular team mate after one triumphant championship night. In other words, it would have taken some extreme and debilitating special effects tricks to accomplish this had Rourke played the role.