Exclusive Darren Aronofsky InterviewMarisa Tomei told me Mickey Rourke changed one of her scenes and she wasn't happy about it. What happened?
Darren Aronofsky: "What did she say?"
She said in a scene important to her character arc, Mickey Rourke rewrote the dialogue and it affected the scene.
Darren Aronofsky: "I don’t know what she's talking about. Let me just think, I'm going through the scenes in my head… I don’t know what she’s talking about."
It was a big change apparently.
Darren Aronofsky: "And she didn’t say what it was?"
No. She said it was a big change in a scene in which her character evolves. This doesn’t ring a bell?
Darren Aronofsky: "Well he didn't change anything… I don’t know exactly, I think maybe that was, me and Mickey went - and so did me and Marisa - what I do with actors is we go through the script line by line and have them talk about each line so that they understand it. And then if they want to change it somehow, they're welcome to as long as it doesn't change the overall meaning of the film. And so I'm curious what she was talking about. But Mickey, Mickey definitely put his own spirit into every scene, you know? He just really likes to say things in a very personal way. I think the character used to say ‘broski’ and the writer Rob Siegel wrote like as instead of, you know how some people say ‘dude’ or some people say ‘man’, you know, Rob wrote 'broski'. And Mickey was like, 'I’m not saying broski,' so he changed it and it became his own. And he also, I think, even put some of his own, because of the connections between him and the character he was able to put a lot of his personal experiences. I think that's what makes that performance so special."
Did it alter anything, the way he changed it? Did it change the way a scene played out?
Darren Aronofsky: "I think, well clearly something happened with Marisa so I have to find out what she's talking about. [Laughing] I'm curious as to what she was talking about. But I mean I'm sure there were impacts, like for instance the final speech at the end that he makes in front of that audience which everyone can see how personal that might be. Me and the writer had gone to a wrestling match and we saw this wrestler from this famous wresting family make this speech, and it was kind of painful and kind of beautiful at the same time. And we looked at each other and said, 'Mickey’s got to definitely do a speech at the end,' and we came up with it. So Rob wrote something for that, but then Mickey two days before said, 'Can I do something a little bit more my own?' And I said, 'Well let’s see what it is.' And he came and he turned it into something that I knew was going to be really interesting for the audience because it was a bit like him yet it also still worked for the Ram and it was a little bit more personal. So I liked that. So I think if anything it was about personalizing it, and that's I think what he, as a method actor, does."
How difficult is it to direct a method actor?
Darren Aronofsky: "It’s tough. I mean, you know, I think even more so than that it’s like Mickey's known to have all this armor. He’s like this big guy and he’s scary in some ways, but when you meet him - and I recommend if you can to try and do it because he's quite a character - when you look in to his eyes he's filled with so much soul and so much love and so much spirit so that you wonder why there's all this armor. And I think it comes out of fear."
Really? Did you ask him about it?
Darren Aronofsky: "Well, I call him a wimp all the time and that would challenge him. So I would just basically…I knew how to push the buttons. And I think that’s what he wanted. To be pushed away from his fear you just had to challenge him ,and then he would rise and he would keep rising. The more I pushed him, the better he would get. And that’s what was interesting, how much better. But another thing that method actors do is they do props a lot of times. They want to have something in their hands so kind of the greatest accomplishment in a joking way for me in this film was the fact that Mickey Rourke doesn't wear sunglasses for one scene in the entire film, because in every scene he wanted to wear sunglasses to hide. And I'm like, 'Mickey, people are coming to the movies to look into peoples’ eyes. That's what they want to see. They don’t want to see a reflection of the camera; they want to see your soul, so no sunglasses.' And there was a fight every day, every day."
He never gave up?
Darren Aronofsky: "Oh every day he’s like, 'What about these sunglasses, boss? They're great. What about these, boss?' It was like, 'No. No sunglasses.'"