The 'Jewish Dude' Who Trained Mickey Rourke

By Eleanor Goldberg

Published January 20, 2009, issue of January 30, 2009.

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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