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Posts Tagged ‘Rumble Fish’

The Wrestler is the first movie that made me wake up sore the next day. Watching Mickey Rourke on screen had some kind of psychosomatic effect on me where I felt the pain of a lifetime of wrestling. Just as pro wrestling sometimes blurs the lines of fake and reality (even staged body slams have to take a toll on one’s body) this movie blurs the lines between Mickey Rourke the actor and Mickey Rourke the person. 

The fact that Rourke has been out of the limelight for many years made his transformation all that more amazing. Was this really the good looking young actor of the 80s films Diner, Body Heat, Rumble Fish, and The Pope of Greewnich Village? I’ve never been to a pro wrestling event, but know enough about the culture to think that Rourke’s performance rang true. 

When I was youngster I used to go to boxing matches and hang out at the Orlando Sports Stadium gym which in many ways was the boxing equivalent of some of the mid-level wrestling shown in The Wrestler. The most bruised and beaten face I ever saw was that of boxer Mike Quarry the day after a fight. Quarry once had a title shot that he lost to Bob Foster and continued to fight ten years after that loss.

He died at age 55 and the cause of death was pugilistic dementia which is also known commonly known as punch-drunk caused by traumatic blows to the head. Mike’s brother Jerry, also a boxer, died two years before him and also suffered from pugilistic dementia. Mike’s swollen and beaten face that I saw when I was 12-years-old stays with me to this day.

The Wrestler is a look at one character’s life and why he puts his body through the abuse he does. It doesn’t preach, but it does show that there is a cause and effect to the choices we make in life.

It was not an easy film to watch. It was also not an easy film to get made.  

“It’s always been hard for me to make my films. I’ve always had to make them with incredible financial limitations because it’s the only way to get them made. After Pi everyone was like, “What do you want to do?” and I showed them the book to Requiem and no one returned my calls. After Requiem it took six years to make The Fountain. Then when we tried to put this movie (The Wrestler) together , because I cast Mickey Rourke, it took two years to finance it. No one believed that Mickey could be sympathetic. It’s always a tough road for some reason. I end up choosing things that are not obvious.”
                                                                Darren Aronifsky
                                                                film.com interview with Laremy Legel

Related posts: Screenwriting & Brass Knuckles
                      Screenwriting Quote of the Day #17 (Robert Siegel)

 

 

Scott W. Smith

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Big college football game tonight between Oklahoma and Florida. That eventually got me thinking about the writer S.E. Hinton. She’s from Oklahoma and pals around with hoods like Mickey Rourke, Matt Dillion, and Dennis Hopper. At least she did back in 1983 when Francis Ford Coppola made her book Rumble Fish into a movie. 

The cast also included  Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits and Sofia Coppola. Hinton herself picked up a little money on the side playing a hooker in the movie, as well as writing the screenplay with Coppola.

Her other books The Outsiders, Tex, That Was Then…This is Now not only became movies but virtually were training grounds for a generation of actors including the above actors as well as Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, Meg Tilly and Emilio Estevez. (I didn’t realize until I looked on IMDB that Morgan Freeman was also in That was Then…This is Now.)

So Hinton, who started writing The Outsiders when she was 15, has done well considering that it was reported that her first royalty check was only $10 and that the book almost went out of print before going on to sell more than 13 million copies.

Our quote today comes from Hinton and it’s a reminder to all writers to get the words written and to take advantage of every networking opportunity (especially if you live in fly-over country);

At school one day I mentioned to a friend that I wrote, and she mentioned to me that her mother wrote children’s books. She said, “Why don’t you let my mother read your stuff?” I gave her a copy of The Outsiders, and this woman showed it to a friend of hers who had a New York agent. She said, “Send this to my agent. Maybe she can get it published for you.” I didn’t believe that was going to happen, but I mailed it to her. She has been my agent ever since.
                                                                        
S.E. Hinton
                                                                        A Conversation at Penguin.com 

S.E. Hinton lives in Tulsa and has a horse, a dog, and her own website — www.sehinton.com.

 

Scott W. Smith

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