Mickey Rourke discusses his training methods for “The Wrestler”

After hitting rock bottom, Mickey Rourke resurrected his career with his role in “The Wrestler.” He’s received numerous awards and he’s also been nominated for an Oscar.

Brad Balfour interviewed Rourke about his comeback, which included a discussion of his training methods for the film.

Q: What did you do to get into shape to play “The Ram?”

MR: It was a process over six months of putting on the weight. I had to put on muscle and not fat and I had never done that before. I’ve had to lose weight–20 pounds over 12 weeks–and I thought that was murder. So, I thought, ‘Oh great, I get to eat.’ You can’t just eat anything or you’re going to put fat on. But you’re going to put fat on anyway, because you’re eating six or seven meals a day.

You have to make sure you’re doing the weight lifting and the cardio, so it’s like never ending in the gymnasium for me. I have to admit, since I’ve done the movie, I haven’t walked into a gym. I’ve just done weights at home. I just can’t go to a gym yet, because it was hell…

Q: How many months did you train?

It was six months. It was three times a day, under this Israeli ex-army commando guy, who was a martial arts champion. They met him in Miami and I thought, ‘Wow. This guy won’t take any shit.’ And I wanted someone who was very disciplined, because I didn’t want to control this. I wanted somebody who wasn’t going to kiss my ass. I didn’t want a trainer where I could go, “Well, I don’t feel like working out today.”

This guy took it personally if I didn’t show up. Actually, I was staying at a hotel. I had a late night and I wasn’t answering my phone. He actually came up to the room, knocked on the door. I tried to roll up in a little ball and get the covers over me and hope that he’d go away. The prick went down and got the key…

He was like, “You were out till five in the morning. I heard. I got the report.” He would know where I was and [that] I was out until five am. So after me doing that a couple of times, he pulled me aside and he says, “You see the pictures that we looked at that we want to look like.”

And I say, “Yes.” He said, “When this movie goes, do you want to look like that or do you want to look like this the first time you see yourself up there?’ And I go, ‘I want to look like that.” And so he really put the wood to me… Even when I was out late, I managed to get my tired ass to the gym and just do endless hours, putting on weight. And every time my hands were empty, he’d stick a shake in my hand about this big, and say “Drink.”

  

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