Tom Hardy may replace Mickey Rourke as Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas reveals that actor Tom Hardy is in talks to replace Mickey Rourke, who has decided he is too old to portray the gay rugby superstar in the planned film biography, in an interview with London’s  The Sun. 

According to Thomas, the 59-year-old Rourke found the training necessary for the film was too intense. 

“I was talking to Mickey yesterday and basically we’re now talking to other big-name actors who could play the part instead,” Thomas says.

“We had talked about using computer-generated special effects with Mickey but we don’t think that will be as realistic, so it’s time to find someone new.” 

Thomas says 34-year-old Hardy, who’ll star as villainous Bane in The Dark Knight Rises this summer, is in talks to take over the role in the film, which is expected to begin shooting this spring. Thomas came out as gay in 2009 and retired from the sport last October. Last November, Rourke said he’d become interested in portraying Thomas after being inspired by a magazine profile he’d read about him. The actor, who received acclaim for his performance in the 2008 film The Wrestler, had even trained extensively with a gay rugby team in Los Angeles in preparation for the film.

Gareth tells the Press Association that yesterday’s story in the Sun is “way off the mark,” and that Mickey Rourke is still meeting his high expectations of casting in the biopic about his life. 

“Any notion that Mickey is giving up on the role are way off the mark. We’d love Tom Hardy to be involved, but he will not be playing me. 

I teamed up with Mickey because in my opinion there’s nobody better to take on such a challenging role and nothing has changed there. He’s so motivated by the role it’s blown me away. 

I’m an ex-rugby player, films are Mickey’s world and I totally trust in his vision for the film.”

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