Mickey Rourke nearly overdosed on attitude, says Jonathan Heaf in British GQ. After a promising start in such hit films as Diner and The Pope of Greenwich Village, the heartthrob actor rapidly destroyed his career by becoming a total jerk—explosive on the set and self-destructive off of it. “I raged at directors, threatened producers, even forgot my agent’s name,” he says. Rourke drank heavily, entangled himself in a destructive marriage with then–heroin addict Carré Otis, and ruined his face by taking up boxing. Parts dried up and he contemplated suicide. His troubles, Rourke says, stemmed from what he calls “that little f---ing hatchet” inside him—a volatile mix of temper and stubbornness he developed while growing up with a stepfather he describes as physically abusive. “You’d rather feel tough than insignificant,” he says. “It’s a pride thing. Screwing up my career was never about drugs or about booze. It was always my attitude. I stupidly said acting wasn’t a job for a real man.” He turned down roles like Charlie Babbit in Rain Man and Sgt. Elias Grodin in Platoon, which made Willem Dafoe famous. “I woke up that day and, for no reason whatsoever, thought Oliver Stone had pissed me off. Big f---ing mistake!” Having made a comeback in The Wrestler, he is grateful for another chance. “I’ve had two and a half strikes. I’m not going back to the hell I was living before—no way.”
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