CAFFEINATED CLINT : ROURKE’S RAW DEAL
So Marvel Studios have apparently offered man-of-the-moment Mickey Rourke $250 grand to play the villain in â€œIron Man 2â€.
Now thatâ€™s a lot of money for you, me, and the-guy-that-played-the-janitor in â€˜â€™The Breakfast Clubâ€™â€™, but by Hollywood standards, itâ€™s a bag of hash-laced cookies and a studio notepad. And by comparison, $250 grand wonâ€™t even get you a good low-budget independently produced horror movie these days â€“ even they cost about a grand to make (and even if the biggest star on it is say, Thomas Ian Griffith or Jason London). And Iâ€™m guessing, it costs an actor living in a swanky Hollywood apartment about that in mortgage payments each month, right?
Was Marvel mid-way through an S&M session when this offer too place? Itâ€™s the only explanation. They didnâ€™t see who was in front of them because of the dark blind-folds they were wearing, right? If they hadâ€™ve put the whisk and eye-wear down for a second theyâ€™d have seen that future Oscar Winner and Comeback king Mickey Rourke was sitting across from them.
â€œAny actor, with any kind of a name, is not going to accept that kind of offer â€“ I should knowâ€, a Hollywood producer, who mostly deals in direct-to-DVD action films, told me this morning. â€œMickey Rourke was probably offered 250 grand to take his fuckin sunglasses off at the Golden Globes the other night â€“ and he wouldâ€™ve told them to fuck off, tooâ€.
Hells bells, a has-been supporting actor â€“ and I could name names, but I wonâ€™t (letâ€™s just say any former member of The Brat Pack gets close to, if not more, than that each movie) â€“ gets $250,000 a movieâ€¦ possibly more. To offer Mickey Rourke that kind of money is an insult; they might as well have asked him to unbutton his parents whilst they stick a spiked ruler up his anus. And god I hope the big guy wrestled the son of a bitch who offered him the measly sum to the ground â€“ whilst Bruce Springsteen, of course, played a sweet tune over his comeuppance.
OK, the economy is well below fiscal capacity at the moment, and so is the film industry (The WB just cut 800 people â€“ poor sods), but surely Marvel made enough mint on last yearâ€™s â€œIron Manâ€ to suffice paying someone of Rourkeâ€™s calibre an eight-figure-salary? Especially when they know the filmâ€™s going to be a huge money-maker for them?!
I bet none of the supporting cast of â€œThe Dark Knightâ€ wouldâ€™ve accepted such a measly offer from WB â€“ in fact, I wouldnâ€™t at all be surprised if uncle Alan paid Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman rather handsomely for their time (Eric Roberts was probably paid more than $250,000 for his two or three scenes in the film â€“ I know he gets close to that for some of the DTV things he headlines). In fact, I dare say this offer-to-Mickey would mark as one of the lowest (excluding whatever Ronny Cox was paid on the ill-fated â€œCaptain Americaâ€ movie) salaries ever offered to a potential actor filling the shoes of a comic-book villain â€“ itâ€™s like 24 times (!) less than what Jack Nicholson was paid to play The Joker in the original â€œBatmanâ€â€¦. And that was the fuckinâ€™ 80s! Jackâ€™d be looking at somewhere around the $60 million mark to play the clown prince of crime these days.
But as I said earlier, those not even of a Jack Nicholson calibre (and not necessary an Emilio Estevez or a Mare Winningham) have still been paid rather sexily for their stints in superhero movies such as â€œIron Manâ€: Colin Farrell was paid in the millions to portray â€˜Bullseyeâ€™ in the forgettable superhero flopâ€™â€™Daredevilâ€™â€™ (and he was dirt in that flick!), Arnold Schwarzenegger received a $25M dollar deal to play Mr.Freeze in the worst-comic-book-movie-ever-made (â€œBatman & Robinâ€) and Jim Carrey received roughly the same for his stint in its Bat-predecessor â€œBatman Foreverâ€. . Heck, I reckon Jon Cryer wouldâ€™ve been paid reasonable enough by the Salkinds for his contribution to â€œSuperman IVâ€ too – even if all he deserved was a languishing case of herpes and unwelcome piercing for punishing us with his performance as Luthorâ€™s nephew. And donâ€™t even make me look up the figures for Christopher Walkenâ€™s turn in â€œBatman Returnsâ€, William Hurt in â€œThe Incredible Hulkâ€, .
(On a separate note, a fellow producer recently told me that a not-so-bankable actor, whose name still rings a bell but not the box-office till, was offered $250,000 for a couple of days work in his classy-enough quickie horror movie. The actor sneezed at the proposal and immediately refused to even read the project).
Even if Rourke is offered some points in the backend, itâ€™s still a fairly dodgy offer. We all want a little cash we can play with now â€“ not when the filmâ€™s finished its cable run. And quite frankly, I think in this case â€“ I mean, heâ€™s going to hit this one out of the park! He always bloody does! â€“ the man deserves to be thanked financially-well for his time.
Marvel have made a mint the last few years ($582 million from â€œIron Manâ€ alone!) and yet are low-balling the type of talent that have helped them make this loot. They told Terrence Howard to go jump in the Hudson when he asked for a few extra dollars to reprise his role as â€˜Rhodeyâ€™ for the sequel, and now theyâ€™re about to lose Samuel L. Jackson.
Just a couple of weeks ago Jackson, who made a post-credits cameo in the first film but was expected to return for a much bigger part in the sequel, told the â€œmother fuckers to go fuck a spiky echidnaâ€ (OK, so maybe not in those words) when they offered him an undisclosed but apparently fairly shitty figure to come back as Nick Fury for the pic. Jackson was expected to reprise his role as the eye-patched superhero in not only that film, but further films â€“ including the spin-off movie â€œThe Avengersâ€. Jackson passed, leaving the role of Fury now actor-less.
Could they lose their third cast member?
I doubt it. But they could.
What do I think is going to happen with Rourke and â€œIron Man 2â€? Well, Iâ€™d say heâ€™ll end up doing it â€“ but only because news has got out that Marvel are offering him a turd sandwich in exchange for his time, not to mention the fact that in a couple of weeks his price tag is going to automatically increase after he wins Best Actor for â€œThe Wrestlerâ€, so theyâ€™ll be forced to cough up a satisfactory salary for the man.
But, if they stick to their guns, and decide that theyâ€™re only going to offer actors such as Rourke shit deals, theyâ€™ll find themselves exultantly beaten at the box office by Kevin James comedies and PG-13 horror movies week-in week-out. Nobodyâ€™ll be interested in seeing a star-less cheapo â€œX-Menâ€ movie, let alone an â€œIron Manâ€ movie with Henry Winkler playing the lead rogue.
And if this is how Marvel is going to continue to operate you can pretty much expect new, cheaper faces in all their superhero films from here on out (as if Ray Stevenson wasnâ€™t enough of a â€˜who the fuck is that guy!?â€™ when he played The Punisher for them last year) : a new Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in â€œSpider-Man 4â€ (in fact, there were rumours that Marvel didnâ€™t want to play Maguire his asking salary for the next one and that the studio had already started looking into replacements â€“ one being Patrick Fugit, of â€œAlmost Famousâ€ fame) , a no-name bodybuilder whose spend a week with Joseph Middleton leading up to his star turn in â€œThorâ€, and Matt Salinger, back to reprise his role as â€œCaptain Americaâ€ in a remake of the ill-fated and barely-released 1991 movie of the same name.
Off my soapbox and into the shade,