Star Robert Downey Jr. says he "was literally begging" Rourke "in public" to do the movie.
"I chewed you like a rib," Downey told Rourke at the "Iron Man 2" press day last week. "It was embarrassing."
All this so that Rourke could open a can of Russian beating on Downey Jr. in the movie. Their film conversation took place during the stars' many award show appearances in 2009 (Rourke had multiple award show nominations for "The Wrestler," Downey Jr. for "Tropic Thunder").
But director Jon Favreau had the idea long before Rourke's comeback in "The Wrestler." He recalled meeting Rourke early on in a hotel room to get the basics of the character who became Ivan Vanko.
"We were concocting a Russian," said Favreau. "We were thinking Viggo in "Eastern Promises" with the tattoos." That definitely came through in the end product.
The talks were happening as Rourke was in the midst of his comeback. "Suddenly Mickey was back with a vengeance," said Favreau. "I thought, who is going to be there and make an impression and really make you feel that (Iron Man) is in trouble?"
With more body ink that actual words of dialogue, Rourke does just that in the film.