The 'Jewish Dude' Who Trained Mickey Rourke

By Eleanor Goldberg

Published January 20, 2009, issue of January 30, 2009.
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Mickey Rourke had much to look forward to while filming “The Wrestler”: a serious career comeback, Oscar buzz, and getting to do back flips and build a buff physique. But each week, the actor could not wait for an entirely different indulgence — the Sabbath. To prepare for the grueling task of developing a fighter’s body, Rourke enlisted a former Israeli soldier and an ex-cage fighter to whip him into shape. “It was basic training. His mentality was coming from the army and Israel,” Rourke told the entertainment site Deadbolt.com in a recent interview.

His coach mixed cardio and weightlifting by day and enforced strict curfews by night. But come sundown Friday, Rourke, who took home a Golden Globe for his performance in the film, knew his aching muscles would finally get a rest. “I had one night a week that was mine. Here’s this dude that’s all tattooed and he’s a cage fighter, and yet he was very religious. He’s that kind of Jewish dude that can’t work on Saturdays,” the actor explained. “Friday night, whatever it is. Man, I couldn’t wait for that day to come along.”


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