A few weeks ago, the internet was rampant with speculation about Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell’s roles in Iron Man 2. Conflicting reports from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter made people ask who was playing who, and wonder whether Rourke would in fact be playing Crimson Dynamo in the sequel. You can check out our original post on the subject here, and be sure to check out some good analysis by CHUD and MTV too.

Unfortunately, it’s looking like negotiations for the film aren’t going as well as Rourke fans might have hoped. Variety has published an article about the cost cuts that studios have decided to make while under the Damoclean sword of a potential SAG disaster, as well as a punishing economic climate. Actor salaries are one of the first places they’re trying to cut back on, as they don’t represent fixed costs.

One interesting tidbit is the fact that Marvel’s starting offer to Mickey Rourke was $250,000 to play the villain in the new Iron Man film. For an actor whose performance in The Wrestler has made him buzzworthy again, not to mention a virtual lock for an Oscar nomination, $250,000 seems a bit on the low side to me. Granted, we don’t know how big Rourke’s role will be, but this report follows other baffling casting news, such as Samuel L. Jackson’s potential exclusion from the series for financial reasons, Terence Howard’s problematic negotiations, and the former possibility that Favreau might be left out of the picture completely.

One incident is a fluke. Three is a trend. When you’re making money hand over fist like Marvel, I feel like it’s best not to be stingy with your A-list actors (at least, not in a way that will make it onto the trades/blogs).

Discuss: Do you think $250,000 is fair offer to Mickey Rourke to play the villain in Iron Man 2?

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