Mickey Rourke Eyes Role as Gay Rugby Player

A year ago, Welsh rugby superstar Gareth Thomas came out of the closet and became the first openly gay active athlete in professional sports. And now, Thomas’ story may be coming to the silver screen. And who would have the perfect mix of toughness and tenderness to portray such a tortured and complex man? I think you and I both know the answer to that question is Mickey Rourke.

The actor decided Thomas would be the "perfect model" for a movie after reading a report about him "coming out"…

Their managers are now trying to work out a deal to make a movie based on the life of Wales's most-capped rugby union international.

Oscar-nominated Rourke, 57 - a former boxer - is believed to have wanted to do a film about rugby for some time. But he did not have a suitable story until he read about full-back Thomas.

If you really want to know Thomas’ story in depth, I implore you to read this profile of him done by SI’s Gary Smith. It’s very long, but well worth your time. Thomas played rugby professionally while staying in the closet for years, until all the whispers and self-loathing came to a head and he felt compelled to finally admit the truth to his teammates and his wife.

Thomas’ story is one so many gay people have had to deal with. The pain of keeping it all in, and the catharsis of finally letting go and being free to be yourself… it’s the definitive gay story arc, and I can’t really think of a feature film that has given it the treatment it deserves.

This is the kind of role that Rourke is particularly well-suited for, and he proved with “The Wrestler” that a sports movie in Mickey Rourke’s hands isn’t merely a sports movie. It’s something far deeper and more personal than that. Rourke likely sees this project as his chance to win the Oscar he should have gotten for “The Wrestler.” Don’t be surprised if he succeeds.

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