Marisa Tomei

Supporting actress, 'The Wrestler'

Pole dancing only looks easy.

Marisa Tomei follows her fully nude work for Sidney Lumet in last year’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” with her stint this year as a barely clothed stripper in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler.”

Unlike her leading man, Mickey Rourke, who got a workout spot in the director’s office, Tomei wasn’t so lucky.

“I had to cram it, I guess, into a few weeks,” the actress says of her preparation. “But also I thought, ‘Well, it’s not really dancing. It’s how you look.’ ” But not just looks. As Tomei discovered, “There was a craft to it and a strength. You’re working off the adrenaline of the audience you’re entertaining. It’s difficult but I wound up enjoying it. Also, the personal challenge of standing there, doing that!”

Tomei laughs: “It’s one thing when it’s a fantasy in my mind, but … ” quite another to actually do it.

Fear was the key. “I always like to go into things I’m scared of, so I eventually found it — ‘liberating’ is kind of a trite word — but it was fun. It was scary but fun.”

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