Photo Credit: Chris Haston/Bravo
Usually, it's a slow day in television when a segment of Inside the Actors Studio is the not-miss broadcast of the week. But tonight, Dance Your Ass Off ain't got nothin' on James Lipton. Because only James Lipton has Mickey Rourke in the hot seat. And only Mickey Rourke can bring the crazy.
Of course, you'll have to tune in tonight to glean the full effect of Rourke in action. But perhaps you'd appreciate a taste? Well, Rourke is wearing his usual Rourkewear, which means velvet slippers and a powder-blue seersucker suit and a gauzy undershirt unbuttoned down to his spotlessly hairless navel. There's the fedora set so firmly onto multicolored dreadlocks that you wonder if they come off in one piece. There's the Zippo lighter attached to a watch fob, which transforms Rourke's chain smoking into a bizarrely gentile art form. He looks like a fallen prince, drinking tea from atop a pile of used car parts.
Despite the getup, however, Rourke reminds us why he used to (and may still) be a thinking-gal's sex symbol. He's soft-spoken and candid. He tells stories—even about his shaky gun skills during his drug-running days—with a gentleman's flourish. It's that slightly wistful, slightly sad undercurrent that made Rourke more than just a Wall Street pervert in 9 ½ Weeks, or a sleazy private eye in Angel Heart. When Rourke staged a comeback in The Wrestler last year, his handsome heartthrob face was long gone, thanks to age and plastic surgery. But audiences remembered why they loved him in the first place. Even at his scummiest or kookiest, there's something pure about him. Something dignified, even. Which is a strange thing to say about a man who wore a miniature photo of his dead pet chihuahua around his neck to the Oscars. But watch him on Inside the Actors Studio tonight, and you'll see for yourself.