Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
One of the first things most people notice about Darren Aronofsky‘s The Wrestler is the authenticity of the the situations and the performance of the main character Randy “The Ram” Robinson, played by Mickey Rourke.
Having had a background of involvement in the behind the scenes during the second pro wrestling boom (Austin, The Rock..etc), I was amazed at the authenticity of the pro-wrestling subculture. From the fanny packs to the locker room before an indie show, the film has the most realistic depiction of the business that I’ve ever seen (aside from maybe the documentary Beyond the Mat, which is also wonderful and you should seek out).
Vulture was able to talk to former WWF World, Hardcore and ECW/WCW/WWF Tag Team champion (and New York Times bestselling author) Mick Foley (who was also known as “Mankind”, “Cactus Jack” and “Dude Love”). So what did a real pro wrestler think of The Wrestler?
“I walked in something of a cynic, figuring there was no way an actor could ever really get a feel for what we do without having done it. But within the first five minutes, I was completely sold. From an emotional standpoint, I found Mickey Rourke to be so believable. He made it so easy to suspend disbelief that within five minutes in the movie, I never once thought of him as being Mickey Rourke, let alone an actor. He was Randy the Ram. It was the little cues that really registered — like how he lived to get a reaction from people, even if they were just customers at the deli counter.”
But that doesn’t mean that Mick didn’t have a couple issues. He says that the steroid transaction “seemed a little forced.” While he admits that wrestlers take drugs, he doubts that a transaction like that would happen out in the open locker room. Also, at one point, The Ram’s wrestling tights are cut off and he throws them in the trash.
“In a real-life situation, a guy like Randy would understand the value of the wrestling tights [that he throws away]. And no matter how injured he was, he would’ve taken those tights home with him and immediately put them up on eBay! In fact, I once had an article of clothing that had to be cut off me in the hospital and, believe me, that made it a cooler piece of memorabilia.”
You can read the full interview on NYMag.com.