Mean Magazine | June 2006 | Cover Story

MICKEY ROURKE

motorcycle boy lives!
BY ANDREW VONTZ

Mickey Rourke gently cradles his beautiful 14-year-old Chihuahua, Loki, on his lap and feeds her tender morsels of the homebaked dark chocolate chip, organic, whole grain cookies that Mean has offered him. The barrel-chested Rourke scratches Loki’s head gently and awaits her review. The Klee Kai, a toy Husky breed, may be the hot miniature pet until someone figures out how to grow a dwarf mammoth in a test tube—they’re shaggy, they’ve got trunks’n’tusks—but Loki takes the crown of the celebrity pet wars. Regal, compassionate, quiet, and affectionate, Loki is never far from Rourke’s side this day.

Like Suge Knight, also interviewed in this issue, Rourke is a strong, physically imposing man. Rourke boxed professionally for five years. He also helped to bring ice cubes out of the freezer and onto nipples around the world with his Basinger-abetted sextravaganza in Nine and a ½ Weeks.

While the vicissitudes of his life have made Rourke a contentious figure, his colleagues have always held his acting talent in the utmost esteem. In the new era of the ‘00s, Rourke has carved out a niche as a super creepy, necksnappin’ badass in flicks like Spun and Sin City. He’ll soon be seen in Stormbreaker and Killshot with another dose of Sin City on the way in 2007.

Right now he has chunks of broken up cookie and dog slobber on his leg. He pets his dog. He talks.


You’re known for your hardcore integrity when it comes to choosing roles. What has been your favorite?
For many years it was Pope of Greenwich Village. I just did a movie Harvey Weinstein produced, an Elmore Leonard piece, called Killshot. I had a wonderful fucking experience with that. It was with the director of Shakespeare in Love, John Madden. I just loved it, the whole working process. John is a perfectionist, he’s very driven, he’s very intelligent. He set a good work ethic with what he demanded out of everybody. He was very tough. The kind of person you want to have at the helm. We were working very long hours and that motherfucker just kept going and kept pushing us. You thought you’d have it and he’d say, one more take. I thought, look at this cunt. He’s got no life and he just wants the perfect movie. But I liked the way he worked really hard to achieve what he thought would be the best possible performance he could get from all the actors. I liked that about him. He was just driven.


What has been your least favorite experience making a movie?
I did a movie once where they paid me a lot of money and I shouldn’t have done it, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. It was a real piece of crap. One day the writer came up to me and told me how great the script was. I said, this is a piece of shit, they paid me a lot of money, so fuck off. I think I stopped working shortly after that for five or six years.


Was that bit of a bummer?
Yeah. It’s important for me right now to take jobs that have integrity, that I’m not doing it for the payday. I’m doing it because I believe in the piece and I can respect myself for whatever the effort is. That’s where I won’t get in any trouble or get tired of working.


How do you account for your massive popularity in France? 
That happened a long time ago. It was something that I really appreciate. When I gave up acting for a while and wasn’t really doing it anymore, even they got disappointed with me.


What about the people in the Czech Republic?
Oh, those are my biggest fans. We love the people in the Czech Republic.


How does your dog enhance your day-to-day life?
I wake up and she’s there. She’s very small so I can take her wherever I want and I’ve got my buddy with me. She’s been with me for fourteen years. I told my agent, look, if we were on a cruise ship and the two of you fell in, I’d dive in after Loki. I don’t even have to think about that.


You’ve had Loki for a long time. What does it feel like to have people like Paris Hilton biting your style?
First of all, I kinda don’t really recognize what that woman does. It’s kind of like a joke, you know. That’s sort of like asking me about a character at a Halloween party.


Do you think it’s degrading to dress your dog up in costumes?
No, not really. I think it’s okay. Some people do that who really love dogs. Then you get the jerkoffs who just want to have a picture with a dog, a cuddly animal. I thought that spoof Pink did on all those bitches was pretty cool. Did you see that?


No, but I’ll just nod my head and say it’s awesome.
I thought it was pretty cool of her. Big ups to her.


Yeah, somebody has to step in and stop this dog on dog violence.
Plus, Pink is talented anyway. The girls she was doing the spoof on, you could roll them up in a big ball. . .


What was the strangest thing that happened during the years you boxed in Japan?I walked into a place one time and I had to keep my weight down to make the weight limit. I walked into a place where nobody spoke any English at all and you were supposed to pick the fish you wanted out of the tank. I kept picking all of these colorful fish that were swimming around. I don’t know if they were supposed to be edible, but they cooked them up and they didn’t taste very good.


Maybe any tropical fish owners reading this will let go of any ideas they might have about eating their pets. 
Exactly. I probably ate the owner’s tropical fish in a Japanese restaurant.


Do you continue to train for boxing?
The boxing thing for me is finished. I reached a level that I was okay with. I didn’t really want to continue doing the boxing after I couldn’t compete competitively anymore because I retired. Now I do Muay Thai fighting which is different. It’s a whole learning experience because I have to learn it from the ground up.


How often do you train for Muay Thai?
I train with two different people. A kid named Chris Riley who has a gym down here called the Bomb Squad. He shows me the basics because I’m starting from the ground up. And I work with a guy named Ray Sefo who’s a world champion heavyweight kickboxer, he’s a K-One fighter from New Zealand. We’ve become very close. I go to two different training sessions a day. It ends up being two hours a day. I go to one in the afternoon and one in the early evening. Because I’m using muscles I’ve never used before with my legs and throwing elbows and stuff like that, you’re pretty exhausted. I’m not used to using those particular moves.


How do you feel about mixed martial arts?
I’m really a big fan. I really love it. Chuck Liddell is fantastic. I’m a big fan of his. Karo Parisyan is a terrific fighter, he’s a kid from West LA here. My buddy Ray Sefo who does K-1. They have Pride and the K-1. Bas Rutten is a good friend of mine.


Would you ever consider stepping in the octagon for an MMA brawl?
Never. You’ve gotta be in your early 20’s to really be at the top of your game. I don’t like to lose and there’s no point in going in there and fighting a guy 25 years younger than me and getting my ass kicked. Which is what would happen to me. Boxers don’t fare very well. That’s one of the reasons I took up the Muay Thai. After all those years looking down on other boxing styles, I finally went wow, a boxer can’t last in Pride or ultimate fighting. I like the fact of having two more tools or three or four more to use aside from just your hands. I see the point of it.


Do you work on submissions also?
No, I don’t do that. I just went from hands to legs.


If you could face down anyone in Hollywood in an MMA fight, who would it be? 
My mind wouldn’t even go that way. All of the guys I fought as a professional fighter I was always very close with them and had a lot of respect for them. It never transcended into like somebody I didn’t like or I hated. It was about respect and the sport itself. It’s not about being pissed off.


What's the most compassionate thing you’ve ever done for a stranger?
I adopt dogs that nobody else wants. Usually ones that they’re going to put to sleep.


How many have you adopted?
Six or seven. Even the one that bit me in the face and gave me two stitches. I took him home. His name was Little Mickey, believe it or not. After he bit me I changed his name to Jaws.


If you were hiking, and you ran into George Bush on the trail, and there was no one else around, what would you say to him?
I’d say, George, you’re doing a hell of a job during very difficult times. More power to you. Fuck all them people who don’t like you.


Does that make you a popular man in Hollywood?
I really don’t give a shit.


What else don’t you give a shit about?
I don’t give a shit about much.


But you do love your dog?
I love all my dogs.


Equally?
No, I’m a little bit partial to Loki but the rest of them are a hair behind.