By Zack Zeigler
After earning a Best Actor Golden Globe Award as well as an Oscar nod for his performance in "The Wrestler," Mickey Rourke's stock soared as high as Robert Downey Jr.'s following "Iron Man." But the decision to cast him as Ivan Vanko, aka
"I talked to people that worked with [Rourke], and they said great things about him. His talent is undeniable," director Jon Favreau said at a press conference in Los Angeles. "I met with Mickey... [and] I brought him some artwork and we thought,
|Mickey Rourke as Whiplash|
"Well, the character is
"Justin's a bit of a used-car salesman... a real wheeler and dealer who is kind of like the Jeremy Piven character in 'Entourage' mixed with George C. Scott in 'The Hustler," said Rockwell. "I also really like the character of Justin Hammer as an arms dealer trying to get in good with the United States and be their new Tony Stark."
Added Rockwell, "I knew [Jon] and Robert were very similar to me in that they like to improvise a lot, which made me feel very comfortable with coming on board."
Rockwell, like Rourke, is on a hot streak of his own after posting memorable performances in "Moon" and "Frost/Nixon." His versatility
|Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer|
"[Rockwell] really knows how to play with story and character and squeeze the most out of it," noted Justin Theroux, who penned the "Iron Man 2" script. "Even though he is ostensibly a villain, he is also enormous fun to watch."
And if a film is only as good as its villain, as once suggested by famed movie critic Roger Ebert, fans of the Iron Man franchise should rest easy knowing both roles were handled with such attention.
You can see Rourke and Rockwell wreak havoc on Stark and the world at-large in theaters May 7, when "Iron Man 2" opens nationwide.
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