Actor able to negotiate salary increase

Mickey Rourke has closed his deal to play the Russian villain in “Iron Man 2.”

His involvement was expected (Daily Variety, Jan. 7), but dealmaking was arduous after Marvel Entertainment offered “The Wrestler” star only $250,000 for his first major studio film in years.

Rourke’s salary will be now better than that.

While his ICM rep, David Unger, battled for more dough, Rourke’s encounters with “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. on the awards circuit sealed his participation in the film.los

Rourke won the Golden Globe and was Oscar nominated for “The Wrestler” and Downey got Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for “Tropic Thunder,” so Downey used each occasion to recruit Rourke.

When Downey, Rourke as well as actors including Frank Langella and Anne Hathaway took part in a roundtable discussion with Newsweek’s David Ansen, Downey interrupted the proceedings, reached across the table and flat out asked Rourke to do “Iron Man 2.”

Rourke also met with Jon Favreau and scribe Justin Theroux and got to be part of the development of his character. He’ll play Whiplash, a character that includes elements from that comicbook villain and Crimson Dynamo, another Russian baddie.

Marvel wouldn’t confirm Rourke’s involvement, but he’s planning to join Downey, Sam Rockwell and Samuel L. Jackson, with Scarlett Johansson the frontrunner to play the Black Widow.

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