- Welsh Rugby
Rourke begins researching Gareth Thomas biopic
Hollywood film star Mickey Rourke started his homework for the movie about the life of former Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Gareth Thomas at the Millennium Stadium at the weekend.
Rourke, who plans to play Thomas having been inspired by his decision to come out as gay whilst at the top of his sport, was amongst the thousands of fans of the 13-man code who flocked to the Welsh capital for an action-packed start to the season.
The star of such films as The Wrestler and Iron Man 2 was on hand to see Thomas and his current side the Celtic Crusaders launch their Super League season with a 42-12 win over Salford Reds.
"It's a big field compared to what I'm used to looking at and I'm impressed with how fit the guys are," Rourke told WRUTV before revealing that the film of Thomas' life remains some way from going into production.
"We're not going to make this movie until we've done all the proper research. We need to do our homework and I need to train for from nine to 11 months," he added. "I can't play rugby but I'm a good enough actor and I can look fit enough to play the game and that's what it's all about. That's what I do, I act. I can act like I can play, and play at a high level."
A former professional boxer, Rourke is confident he can get in shape for the role but intends to call on Thomas' expertise as well as that of former Great Britain and Crusaders coach Brian Noble who has been signed up as an advisor on the project.
"I'm going to have to train my ass off for probably the last time in my life that I ever have to get in shape and it's a challenge. I'm looking forward to it but I'm also a little terrified of it. I'm going to talk to Gareth, talk to Brian Noble, talk to the boys that know the game. We're not in a hurry to make the movie because we want to make the movie the right way."