And you thought Mickey Rourke played a tough guy in 'The Wrestler.'
The Golden Globe-winning actor has spoken recently of his desire to portray on film Gareth Thomas, the star Welsh rugby player who is considered to be the first openly gay active professional athlete.
On Sunday, Rourke sat for an interview on British television's 'Alan Carr's Chatty Man,' to discuss the role with the show's openly gay host. During the exchange, Rourke both gave insight into why he wants the role, and to how he wants the movie to be portrayed (via Bleeding Cool).
Carr: Is it true you're about to play a gay rugby player?
Rourke: You're not supposed to say that, okay? Here's the deal. When I met the rugby player, Gareth Thomas, this is one thing that he and I talked about. This is something that's really important. We're doing a movie about a man who plays rubgy who is gay...
Abso-f***ing-lutely. I read the story. it's one of the toughest, hardest sports in the world to play. They play with no pads. They play... it's a really brutal sport. To be a man who plays rugby who is gay and to live with that secret for the amount of years that Gareth had, to perform at the high level that he performed at, it takes a lot of courage.
Thomas is a well known veteran rugby player -- one-time captain of the Welsh national team, he has played the most games in the national team's history. He was married to his childhood sweetheart from 2002 to 2006, and in 2009, came out of the closet.
"I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost. I am a man. I just happen to be gay. It's irrelevant. What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby," he told The Daily Mail in 2009. And his teammates agreed, he said.
"[My coach] told two of my team-mates, Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams, and as I sat in the bar waiting for them, I was absolutely terrified, wondering what they were going to say.
But they came in, patted me on the back and said: 'We don't care. Why didn't you tell us before?'"
Thus far, no production company or plan haven been laid out for the film, but Rourke seems dead set on making it happen.