EXCLUSIVE: Mickey Rourke is about to re-emerge in his biggest studio starring role in years this Friday as the villainous Ivan Vanko in Paramount/Marvel’s Iron Man 2. Now, I’m hearing that he’s talking with Tony Scott about starring in the director’s next two films.
The first, Potzdamer Platz, will finalize financing imminently, with Sammy Hadida’s Metropolitan rumored to be close to taking the lead producing/financing role in the film. He and Scott are also in talks to team in Hell’s Angels, with Rourke playing Sonny Barger, the tough guy who formed an Oakland chapter and helped transform the Angels into a national organization. Barger sold rights to his memoir to Fox 2000 a decade ago.
Scott has been tinkering under the hood for more than a decade, but Hell’s Angels is revving again at Fox 2000. The studio has brought A-list screenwriter Scott Frank in to do a significant rewrite of a drama that is being framed as a Donnie Brasco-style drama. It would be a two-hander with a younger actor playing a cop who attempts to infiltrate the club to investigate alleged criminal activities. I’m told that Scott has met with Shia LaBeouf. No deals have yet been made, but clearly there is renewed heat.
Rourke is on fire again, after he and his ICM agents smartly weathered a tough negotiation so that he could follow an Oscar-nominated comeback in The Wrestler with a studio film that casts him as the hi-tech villain who goes mano a mano against Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man character in a film that is expected to challenge opening weekend box office records. Sources said that the Barger role is so perfectly tailored for Rourke that it is hard to imagine another actor who could more convincingly play a character who wears the hard miles and brawn of a grizzled biker gang veteran. Rourke separately has completed starring roles in the Mitch Glazer-directed Passion Play with Megan Fox and Bill Murray, and is part of Sly Stallone’s The Expendables.
There is a frenzy of pre-Cannes activity between Scott Free and prospective financiers on Potzdamer Platz. The prospective cast is still the same as when I first wrote about the picture when financiers began chasing the package. Javier Bardem, Rourke and Jason Statham are circling, though none are locked into deals for the drama about two soldiers in a New Jersey-based crime family who try to expand internationally. Scott also wanted Gene Hackman, and while there have been rumors he’s eyeing Al Pacino after Hackman declined to return to acting, I’ve also heard that Scott hasn’t given up on his Crimson Tide star. The title’s likely to change, because it refers to the bustling German train station and commerce center, and the action is being transplanted to Puerto Rico. The script is by Buddy Giovinazzo, rewritten by the Sexy Beast team of David Scinto and Louis Mellis.