Wednesday, January 28
A whole lotta years ago I had a chance to play one of those roles that actors often dream of, but very rarely get. The play was called ‘Resurrection’. It’s about a woman who, in surviving a terrible accident, discovers she suddenly has the power to heal. There’s a particular monologue where she tries to explain (to herself, as much as to anyone else) what happens inside....the triggers, the clicks – those spaces between her soul and god that reach out when the healing happens. It took me a while to be able to perform it. Not because she was too alien, or the experiences too far out of my ken (it wasn’t – I knew EXACTLY what all that felt like) – but because whoever wrote the character knew and understood that destruction lies at the heart of every epiphany. You cannot build without tearing down. Well I’d lived through that kind of sea change. Different names, different circumstances – but I knew. Because of that - there could be no wall between me and the audience – no 'plausible deniability'. All that I was, all that I felt – my worst fears and most terrifying beliefs - haunted every second of that performance. It was wrenching. I couldn’t hardly watch myself on tape (still can’t).
Mickey Rourke’s performance in ‘The Wrestler’ is just like that. And he can’t watch it either. I saw him last night in an interview – he turned away, tears in his eyes. He was re-living those moments; I saw it in the set of his shoulders, the angle of his chin. That was real. What you see up on that screen is real. Every hurt – physical and psychic – hits home with devastating accuracy. ‘The Wrestler’ is Rourke’s epiphany. Shooting that film must have been grinding. I certainly hope it was worth the pain – that in the end, some of his personal dragons went down. So I’d say go see it – go see the resurrection of one of the best actors of his generation - but be prepared, ‘cause it will resurrect the bones of your own dead, and beat you senseless in the process.