Acting was never my first choice as a profession, but I came to terms with it when I decided I better buckle down and be the best I can be at it.
Comeback is a good word, man.
When you're young, working in a warehouse or selling hot dogs, you look at work - at acting - as something precious. It gets you out of the stink.
I trained like an animal, but the thing is focus and concentration. When the bell rings it's like when the little red light goes on over the camera. And I can usually nail my lines on the first or second take because I'm right there.
It's no fun being a loser. Trust me.
Sometimes, when a man is alone, that's all you got is your dog.
The hardest thing in life to do is to change.
Some of your worst gangsters are guys who were very low-key.
I always knew I'd accomplish something very special - like robbing a bank perhaps.
I don't mind getting punched in the nose by a guy standing in front of me. It's getting stabbed in the back that I can't handle.
People are always afraid of the truth.
I don't care what Tom Cruise says about therapy.
When I first met Alan Parker, who directed 'Angel Heart,' he'd heard so many horror stories about me that he was literally scared to death of me. Right away, he sat me down and said, 'I'm very scared of you. I've heard you're a very bad boy.'
I never look backwards. I have always been an athlete. I boxed before I acted.
What I've got to do now is let them judge me for who I am as an actor and not for my notoriety.
It was the most fun I've ever had on a movie. It was one of the happiest times in my life. I was living in New York, and I really enjoyed acting at the time. Also, it's funny because that was also the time when I went downhill.
I used to love playing football in high school. I played with the same guys for 10 years.
You can be mediocre, the way most actors are, and you can still be a top movie star, even if your movies are boring and predictable. All you have to do is know how to sell yourself, let yourself be manufactured.
I grew up in a gym in Miami, the one where Muhammad Ali trained. I had 142 amateur fights and lost three.
You know, back in acting school they always teach you, 'Make bold choices and look for activities that are interesting.'
I started out fighting before I was acting, actually, then got hurt and got into the acting.
I try to find the right director who won't compromise his or anyone else's integrity, and yet be political enough to give the studio what they want, yet put up a fight to maintain that integrity.
A lot of the stuff I am now seeing is edgy, raw kinda material.
My dogs are more important than my family.
Bounty hunters these days - because everything is so sophisticated with computers and surveillance, it doesn't have to be a one-man-army-type guy who goes in and kicks a door down.
I was very immature when I was young, and for me there was no balance. Everything was just all or nothing.
Being out of work for 13 to 15 years is no walk in the park.
I love the first Godfather movie, part one. And two.
I behaved worse than anybody for 15 years, and you have to pay the price for that. I used to blame other people, then therapy made me realise I had to change.
I had a lot of anger inside me and that came out at times that were not particularly advantageous to me career-wise.
A couple of guys won Academy Awards for the things that I turned down. Today, after coming to terms with everything, after being in therapy for a long time-there are areas where I will compromise.
It was either therapy or die.
I did think for many, many years that because of my ability I could beat the system. And I was wrong.
All that prosthetic makeup drains you. By the time it's lunch, you're done.
I had some things I had to fix. It took me 14 years to do it. But it was never really fun back in the day to work with directors who were a lot older and were like authoritarian and talking to you like that.
I had a bonding problem when I went off and boxed for five years. I was over in Europe and Asia fighting because I wanted to do something different; I was tired of acting. But the thing is, when I was done doing that, I couldn't get a job.
I started to shortcircuit because I had high aspirations for the film. I never told anybody that.
Years ago I realized that maybe I made mistake, politically, when I turned a lot of that stuff down. I would go off to obscure places and make movies that six people went to see.
I come from a violent background. So I became hard. I realised that I had made myself that way to deal with a feeling of abandonment and shame.
It's the formulaic studio movies the make money, and when they do, the actors in them are automatically movie stars.
I still work out most days. When I do it, I go full blast five or six days a week, two to three hours a day. I enjoy it. It's therapeutic for me.
A lot of those who let you down are those who seemed the closest to you.
To me, everything's competition.
All I am hoping for is to be able to work - I think my best work is still ahead of me - I think all that I have been through in the last several years have only made me a better, more interesting actor.
I'm only as rich as my next film.
Evan Rachel Wood is the best actress I've ever worked with, hands down.
I have a really good relationship with a lot of designers. I like Gaultier, Billionaire and Cavalli.
The acclaim I'm getting for 'The Wrestler' means everything in the world to me. But it also means I can't take my foot off the gas pedal.
Where I come from, being a hard man is being able to take a good beating and then get back up again and carry on fighting.
I'm not gonna rush out and see the next 'Batman;' I'm not big on formula movies.
A reputation is really hard to live down.
Hollywood's famous for putting you in a box.
Very few men can fall as far as I have and come back. People see me and it's like they've seen a ghost, like I'm back from the dead.
Usually if you read a screenplay, no matter who's writing it, the bad guy is always written as a one-dimensional bad guy.
I don't have many Hollywood friends anyway; I thought with my ability I didn't need to make those kind of relationships, but maybe I should have done. Might have made my life easier!
You want to earn respect in your old age. You want to walk into a restaurant and have people say: 'There's Mickey Rourke. He was great in 'The Wrestler.' You don't want them jumping out of windows.
I spent a lot of years trying to beat the system and, in the end, the system kicked my behind good.
I spent so long studying really hard to become a fine actor, but threw it all away because I got the adulation and the fame so easily.
I loved my mother, but I don't like her.
In boxing, you don't know what's going to happen. In wrestling, it's already prearranged.
Winning an Oscar ain't about performance. There's a lot of politics involved.
When you lose everything, and I mean everything, you sit there in this empty room in the dark, and the only person who can get you out is you.
Mitch Glazer and I went to high school together, and his mother was my English teacher for two years. She was my favorite teacher, and I followed Mitch's career as a journalist, so we've kind of kept in touch over the years.
I'd just as soon do a big-budget movie as an independent one.
There's always going to be a war going on inside of me. That's just, I think, my make-up.
Wrestling and boxing is like Ping-Pong and rugby. There's no connection.
I didn't have a childhood, really, because I worked my whole life and... other reasons. So when I had some success, I went ballistic. That was my childhood, and the party kept going on.
Once you've been somebody, really, you have a career and you're a nobody anymore, and you're getting older, you're living what's called a state of shame.
People need medicine and they need therapists.
I'm the worst surfer in California. My balance is off from boxing.
Sometimes the independent movies can get a little too arty-farty. You watch the IFC Channel and you want to throw up. You don't always have to take things so serious, you know.
I never knew my father, and I'd hate to repeat that kind of cycle with my own children, because I'd also want to be there for them no matter what.
The ladies love me and I love the ladies!
In Hollywood, you're always playing roles... It's like going through the motions. But in real life, it's like, you gotta take care of business. It's not just the movies.