December 28th, 2010
12:05 PM ET
After tackling the title role in "The Wrestler," Mickey Rourke is now ready to tell the story Gareth Thomas, a tough-as-nails Welsh rugby star who also happens to be gay.
Rourke confirmed his upcoming role on the British talk show "Alan Carr's Chatty Man" – but not before setting the host straight. Asked if he was going to play a gay rugby star, Rourke warned Carr not to use labels. "You’re not supposed to say that, okay?" the 58-year-old actor scolded. "When I met the rugby player, Gareth Thomas, this is one thing that he and I talked about. This is something that’s really important: We’re doing a movie about a man who plays rugby who is gay."
Six-foot-three Thomas, 36, married his teenage sweetheart in 2002, but four years later, decided he could no longer live a lie and told her he is homosexual. Shortly afterward, he told his coach and his closest teammates. "I was absolutely terrified, wondering what they were going to say," Thomas has said. "But they came in, patted me on the back and said, 'We don't care. Why didn't you tell us before?'"
In December 2009, Thomas went public about his sexuality, and Rourke commends him for his bravery both on and off the field.
"To be a man who plays rugby who is gay and to live with that secret for the amount of years that Gareth had, to perform at the high level that he performed at, it takes a lot of courage," he told Carr.
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