For one scene, Mickey Rourke delivers a poignant performance opposite Jack Nicholson in “The Pledge”. When he shoots Sean Penn’s thriller, the actor is at the bottom of the hole…
The Pledge : a shocking investigation
Six years after leading him in Crossing Guard, Sean Penn offers a powerful new role to Jack Nicholson in The Pledge. In this thriller released in 2001, the actor lends his features to Jerry Black, a policeman about to retire, who agrees to help a colleague with a final investigation.
He throws himself on the trail of the murderer and rapist of an eight-year-old girl, whose body was found in the mountains of Nevada. While his partners suggest he give up, Jerry makes a solemn promise to Margaret Larsen (Patricia Clarkson), the victim’s mother. The policeman swears to find the killer.
Sam Shepard, Aaron Eckhart, Robin Wright, Helen Mirren, Tom Noonan, Benicio del Toro, Vanessa Redgrave, Harry Dean Stanton and mickey rourke complete the phenomenal distribution of The Pledge. Years before his return to favor with SinCity and especially The Wrestlerthe latter appears in one of the most touching and memorable scenes of his career.
A broken father
At the beginning of his investigation, Jerry Black visits Jim Olstad, father of a little girl who has been missing for 3 years. In the smoking room of a hospital, Mickey Rourke displays a look of despair. Faced with a distraught Jack Nicholson, he lets his grief explode by evoking memories, expresses his guilt and asks where his child is.
Two moving minutes in which Mickey Rourke steals the show from his brilliant partner, who steps aside to leave him the stage. In 2009, Christopher Walken questions the comedian for the magazine Interview and assures him that he is “incredible” in The Pledge. The actor replies that his career was at a standstill when he shot this scene :
When I did the Sean Penn movie, I think I was living in a $500 a month room. Someone called me or walked past me and asked if I wanted to come to work for a day. It helped me move forward a bit. But it is only when SinCity (released in 2005, editor’s note) that I came back to the game.
An actor at the bottom of the hole
In the 1990s, Mickey Rourke left film sets to try to devote himself to boxing. He notably refuses the role of Butch Coolidge in pulp Fiction. The actor then believes he is at the top and thinks that he will not be able to fall, as he confides to Thierry Ardisson during the promotion of SinCity :
I had everything and I messed it up. It’s a total disaster. At the time, I didn’t realize it was my fault. I thought it was other people’s fault, that they were the ones who were after me. (…) I had a big head, I thought I was a genius. You earn a lot of money, everyone kisses you, you start to believe that you are someone special. We think we’ll never end up on the ground. And when we’re there, we don’t think it’s going to last 12-13 years.
After twelve matches, a doctor forces Mickey Rourke to quit boxing. He resorts to cosmetic surgery and finds himself “living alone in a room” for ten yearsas he tells the magazine She in 2009. He appears in independent films like Buffalo ’66 and Animal Factoryand began to climb the slope in the early 2000s thanks to supporting roles in Get Carterwhere he fights Sylvester Stalloneand The Pledge. The actor adds on this subject:
I went to sports, I watched TV… I sold everything. Only two people have remained faithful to me in the profession: Sylvester Stallone and Sean Penn.
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The Pledge: Mickey Rourke was at his worst when he shot the film