It’s always a pleasure when a Hollywood superstar like Mickey Rourke gives you a bell on a Saturday afternoon. And that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday!
The Wrestler star couldn’t help but call his favourite columnist to talk about his plans to make a new movie about the life of rugby player Gareth Thomas – who despite the rugby world’s macho image announced he was gay in December 2009.
And Mickey tells me he’s currently struggling with learning Welsh! “I’m inspired by the story behind Gareth,” he told me. “He’s a brave guy and the first professional to come out while still playing, anywhere across the world.
“I can tell you I will be learning welsh. But Dean, let’s say it’s a work in progress at the moment.
“I’m meeting Gareth’s parents and his family tomorrow in a box to watch the game. This is an incredibly important story about equality and it’s something I want to make happen.
“We’re only in pre-production so we’re working on the script, the treatment and we have the producers onboard. I’m very excited to see Gareth play – it’s a first.”
But this wasn’t any usual call – he was on a First Great Western train to Cardiff to watch Gareth play with the Crusaders against the Salford City Reds after deciding he needed a bar for the journey down.
“I just didn’t want the hassle and the traffic of being stuck in a car,” he laughed. “Admittedly I wouldn’t usually travel by public transport except from when I’m forced too. But I’m actually very easy going when it comes to getting around.
“I’m fine with the fans and meeting people. They’re the people that made my name and kept my career alive so why not be on a train with them.
“Also – there’s a f***ing bar on a train.”
Mickey, 58 shocked onlookers on the train leaving Paddington just after midday yesterday when he pitched up with girlfriend Anastassija Makarenko.
Mickey also admitted he’s going to be slimming down to play Gareth. He chuckled: “I don’t know about beefing up for the role, I think I need to beef down.” Classic.
Mickey’s manager Emanuele Palladino added: “Mickey wants to take this opportunity to really immerse himself in Welsh rugby and its culture this weekend so it’s a busy trip.”
I’m more than as little bit excited about a star like Mickey Rourke mucking in for the rugby – and why not. Good on you Mickey – and I look forward to speaking to you again!