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Mickey Rourke In Talks To Portray Gay Rugby Star

Welsh Rugby player Gareth Thomas made headlines in December when he announced that he was gay. Now, Mickey Rourke is interested in portraying Thomas in an upcoming film that would depict his struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality. A spokesman for the athlete said:

Mickey contacted Gareth directly via a mutual friend in rugby league to express his interest and invited Gareth… to meet him for dinner. The fact that Mickey is so passionate about doing a moving picture has been really flattering and, although we haven’t come to an agreement yet, we’re really hoping it does happen.

Thomas bears the distinction of being the only openly gay professional athlete currently involved in a team sport. In an interview with Britain’s ITN news, he said:

There’s a stereotype to every profession you’re in. And I suppose the stereotype to sport and rugby in general is the macho man, the tough guy, you know, down at the pub, straight, honest guy. I just think unless the stereotype is broken then society doesn’t really change or accept anything else.

If the project goes through, Rourke will be the latest in a long line of straight actors to portray a gay character onscreen. Even though there have not been a huge number of movies released with gay subject matter, playing gay has started to seem like a sure path to awards and accolades in the last few years. Jake Gyllenhall and Heath Ledger scored Oscar nominations for playing doomed lovers in Brokeback Mountain, and more recently, Colin Firth was nominated for playing a gay college professor dealing with the loss of his partner in A Single Man.

It’s a fact that Rourke knows all too well after having lost to Sean Penn, who was handed a best actor trophy at the Academy Awards, for his portrayal of gay San Francisco mayor Harvey Milk, the same year he was nominated for his career comeback performance in The Wrestler. Rourke has kept a busy schedule since then, most recently portraying the Russian villain Ivan Venko in the summer blockbuster Iron Man 2.


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