'I remember doing this film and hating myself every day.'
How did it take so long for Alec Baldwin to book his fellow actor, raconteur, and affectionately troubled person Mickey Rourke for a chat? In more than 100 interviews over the four and a half years of his fantastic podcast, Here’s the Thing, Baldwin has topped himself with his nerve-exposed, filter-busting 45-minute talk with the Oscar-nominated star of The Wrestler.
The whole interview (embedded below) is available for free streaming via NPR affiliate WNYC — and worth listening to every R-rated second — but here are the 10 best quotes from both men.
1. Rourke on growing up in Miami:
“You had to ride to school in a pack or else you’d get your bicycle taken from you. I remember days when I was riding my bicycle alone to school and there was four guys, five guys, whatever, waiting for me to cross Seventh Avenue. And I would go hide in the gas station until they left, because I didn’t want to get beat up or my bicycle taken from me.”
2. While taking acting classes in New York, Rourke was also running a massage parlor. He would send “flyboys” out on the street with sacks of flyers and then scare away the pimps fighting for turf control:
“My job was to go over to the pimps and I would say, ‘Leave my f—in’ flyboys alone.’ And if they didn’t get it, I’d open my coat and show ‘em the s— and they’d get the message.”
3. This incredible exchange between Baldwin and Rourke, keeping in mind the actress that Baldwin was married to from 1993 to 2002:
Rourke: Then there was the 9 1/2 Weeks deal.
Baldwin: [laughing] That girl who’s in that movie, what’s her name? I remember her, the blonde.
Rourke: The blonde chick with the big lips.
Baldwin: The blonde from Georgia. Yeah, there you go. So, Pope of Greenwich Village is probably your first starring role….
4. Rourke on reading reviews:
“[Director Michael Cimino said], ‘If you can’t handle reading the bad ones, don’t read the good ones either.’ And from that day on I haven’t read a review or a remark of a film I’ve done.”
5. On the 1991 flop Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man:
“This piece of s— fell in my plate and they offered me a boatload of money. And like a whore I took the $4 million or whatever it was and bought a big f—ing Elvis Presley house that I couldn’t afford. And I remember doing this film and hating myself every day.”
“Your Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man — I did about eight of those.”
6. Rourke, referring to a producer who angered him by loitering on the set during the first day of filming 1989’s Johnny Handsome:
“I can call him a c—sucker. Because to this day when my agent tries to set me up on a movie [that this producer] is doing, he goes, ‘You’ve still got a hard on for me.’ I say, you know what, ‘Go f— yourself, motherf—er. You and Donald Trump should get a hotel room.’”
7. Rourke on Darren Aronofsky, director of The Wrestler:
“When he was pointing his little finger at me and telling me, ‘You’re going to respect me and you’re not going to ever say anything to me in front of the crew.’ And I’m sitting there and thinking, ‘If he’s got the balls to point his finger at me then he’s got the s—.'”
8. On his diminished passion for moviemaking:
“If I could get a job walking dogs and get paid the same amount I do from making movies, I’d never make another movie again.”
9. Baldwin, revealing who he voted for in the category of Best Actor at the 2008 Oscars, where Rourke lost for The Wrestler to Sean Penn for Milk:
“Nothing against Sean…but he brings all the sympathy of Harvey Milk into the theater with him. When you lost I threw the f—ing Diet Coke can at the TV.”
10. On age, upon telling Baldwin that he’s planning to fight another boxing match this spring:
Baldwin: How old are you now?
Rourke: Doesn’t matter. It’s just a f—in’ number, Alec.
[Rourke is 63.]