Mickey Rourke undergoes surgery, loses weight to play rugby player Gareth Thomas

Gay sportsman's biopic is likened to 'Raging Bull' and 'This Sporting Life'

Mickey Rourke has undergone surgery and lost more than two stone preparing to play gay Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas.

Rourke, 59, has hired a top personal trainer to get himself into shape before playing Thomas, 37, in a forthcoming biopic. He has also had work done on his eyes, reports The Guardian.

Producer Colin Vaines said that the 22-year age gap between the pair would not be a problem for the film. He said: “When Mickey’s committed, as he is with this, he can do anything. The age isn’t a problem.”

Rourke is said to be intrigued by the psychology that led Thomas to hide his sexuality for so long, and he is quoted as saying:

It’s a film about a man who played rugby, who was so aggressive when he played – and he happened to be gay. It took a lot of courage to be in his world and do that.

Describing the film, Vaines said: “I’m thinking of Martin Scorsese‘s Raging Bull and Lindsay Anderson‘s This Sporting Life, where sport was used as a backdrop to explore an inner torment. Gareth said to Mickey that he always had to be more macho on the field, because he was carrying a secret.”

The film is due to start shooting in September with Anthony Hoffman directing.”

Thomas became Britain’s only openly gay current professional player in a team sport when he came out in 2009, and was voted the most influential gay person in the UK, receiving Stonewall’s Hero Of The Year award in 2010. He is currently a favourite to win this year’s Celebrity Big Brother.