Posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
Comedian and New York Times Bestselling author Artie Lange admitted on the Howard Stern Show yesterday that he auditioned for Darren Aronofsky‘s The Wrestler.
“I really took it seriously. I had what I thought was a great audition. It was for the fifth lead of the movie, a sleazy wrestling promoter in that world… he had all his scenes with Mickey Rourke. So I went back another time, killed again. I then did a screen test. Killed again. So my Agent says to me ‘Aronofsky really likes you, and its between you and another guy.’” … “So it goes right til the end, and my manager calls me back and tells me ‘the other guy got it’. I was like ‘Aw Fuck!’ It was really like god fucking with me. I wanted it now.”
A funny aside, and an interesting look into the paranoia of an auditioning actor’s mind — the story continues. Why didn’t Artie get the part? According to one of Lange’s friends, Artie had drunkenly roughed up Aronofsky in the mid 90′s at a Hollywood party.
“My friend says, doesn’t ‘Artie remember Darren Aronofsky? I was like ‘What are you talking about?’ When I was at Mad TV back in 1996 we went out to a Hollywood party, the kid tells the story ‘Artie got completely fucked up… this is one of those times when we had to pull him out of the party. This kid went to film school with Darren Aronofsky. He said in this party you claimed this guy Aronofsky, this is before Requiem for a Dream, you claimed that he was looking at you wrong and you kept hitting him in the head and you punched him in the face. I said ‘What?’ He goes ‘You were abusing this guy, calling him a film school fag’.
Artie’s friend believes that Aronofsky remembered the incident and was only leading him on to get back at him, but Lange discounts the idea saying that he didn’t even believe the story actually happened, and that Aronofsky “was so nice to me in the auditions.” Howard Stern also commented on the absurdity of the suggestion, saying that Aronofsky would have to be a criminal mastermind to come up with that plot.
The wrestling promoter character that Artie auditioned for doesn’t appear much in the completed film. I remember the role being a little bit more prominent in the screenplay draft I had read before the film went into production.
Lange is currently developing a Wonder Years-like television show concept with Frank Sebastiano (Beer League) for Comedy Central based on his #1 New York Times Bestselling Memoir Too Fat To Fish. The Wrestler hits limited theaters on Wednesday, December 17th. Click here to see when The Wrestler is coming to your town/city.