Even after his Golden-Globe winning, Oscar-nominated star turn in “The Wrestler,” Marvel Entertainment did not want to pay Mickey Rourke what he’s probably worth to play the villain in “Iron Man 2.” (This comes as no surprise, and you’ll see just how cruel studios are to actors in my upcoming story about SAG president Alan Rosenberg). Anyway, the word is that Marvel wanted to pay Rourke $250,000, which is not the going rate for those who are either talented or famous, or in Rourke’s case, both. After many weeks of laborious negotiations, a deal was finally made. They haven’t released the agreed upon figure, but if I know anything about Rourke’s agent David Unger, the ICM powerhouse that singlehandedly revived his career, Rourke could take down “Iron Man” with gold.
Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr, who will reprise his role in the sequel, has reportedly been instrumental in persuading his fellow Oscar nominee to take the role. The two actors have encountered each other several times on the awards season circuit and it is thought that Downey Jr used the opportunity to apply some serious schmooze.
Rourke’s character will be based on two comic-book villains – Whiplash, who flies around on a board and uses a whip, and a Russian villain named Crimson Dynamo. Rourke has been developing the character with director Jon Favreau, who also returns to the franchise.
Iron Man was one of the biggest hits of last summer, taking $572m (£414m) across the globe and making a sequel inevitable. But despite its huge success, reports have painted Marvel Studios as a tightwad in its recruitment process for Iron Man 2. Terrence Howard was dropped as Colonel James Rhodes – reportedly over his salary demands – and replaced by Don Cheadle.
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