Mickey Rourke will bring a brand new malefactor to the silver screen this weekend in director Tarsem Singh’s lush reinterpretation of classic Greek mythology, Immortals (read our review). In Immortals Theseus (Henry Cavill), a simple stonemason, rises up in vengeful retribution against the viscous King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), who is waging a bloody and gruesome war against both the Hellenic people and the Olympian Gods. A war that cost Theseus’ mother her life at the hands of Hyperion.
We recently had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with Hyperion the merciless himself, Mickey Rourke, to talk about working while injured, playing a reprehensible villain, and his take on the final film.
What drew you to the project initially and what were some of the challenges that you experienced?
“Well, the days would start out bad because the lady, Iko? She spent three years doing the wardrobe and it was heavy. It took me an hour to put my pants on. It was like this layer and another layer. Then a layer up here. Then a belt over here. Then another layer and a gauntlet over here. It was like, ‘Now I have to stand?!’ And the shoes were like 300 pounds a piece. It was nice once I got dressed and then it was another two hours in the makeup chair. The main reason I took the movie was to work with Tarsem. I saw his commercial reel and I saw the interesting Nike reel he did where he had the faces on all the athletes. The masks. He brought some drawings of the different characters. I thought this guy is very prepared, you know. And I like working with guys who do a very long pre-production because they know exactly what they want. And because he comes out of commercials, he has such a fabulous look. I thought he could take this material to another level. So I don’t necessarily know if I would have done this movie if it wasn’t Tarsem involved.”
When you’re playing a guy who is essentially pure evil, is it hard to sympathize?
“I never look at the guy as that pure evil. I always try to find a reason. Maybe it’s Theseus’ problem, you know?”
You find a justification for why he does what he does?
“Absolutely. It’s like territory. Back home it’s like, ‘this is my territory.’ I got a reason to do whatever I want in my territory – or you could say ‘in my house.’ He (Hyperion) considered everything his house.”
Was there any particular portion of the experience that felt the most rewarding?
“Once again working with Tarsem and Henry. Henry’s very young, enthusiastic. He was running around doing push ups and cartwheels. I remember when I used to get that excited. I thought maybe he’d better work on his lines. (Laughter) But it’s nice to work with someone who’s beginning their career, seeing them so gung ho. Tarsem was excited. It was a very good…. I worked a total of eight days maybe on the movie.”
You have a pretty good history of physical discipline. So did you have to do anything different for that short period of time?
“I had just come out of surgery. I had torn my bicep and I just had bicep surgery. I lost my whole tendon. The operation didn’t work. So I was actually worried about just being able to tie my shoes. It’s one of the reasons I wore a gauntlet up here (motions to top of his right arm). I had a big scar. I’m going to have to have a cadaver tendon put in to fix it.”
But it will heal eventually?
“No. I have to have a dead person. Do you wanna volunteer?”
No more questions.
On second thought.
Mickey, have you seen the movie?
What did you think?
“What did you think? It’s entertainment, you know? It looks great. I didn’t wear the glasses. I just wasn’t in a mood to put them on, they told me there’s a difference. I thought Tarsem did a hell of a job. It’s a wild looking two hours of something you can escape to and go, ‘Wow. That’s different.’”
Immortals opens in theaters today.
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