A breaking report from the Hollywood Reporter states that the actor, who is enjoying a career resurgence after his critcally-acclaimed leading role in 'The Wrestler', has signed on as "a russian villain."
Mania readers know well that Rourke was tipped for the part back in early January. Just weeks later rumors circulated later that negotiations between the actor and Marvel had gotten rocky, with the studio reportedly low-balling him on his paycheck. Since then the actor's status in the film has seemed doubtful.
Now, apparently all doubts have been erased and Rourke is on board. It still remains to be seen if Rourke is playing Iron Man's armored nemesis The Crimson Dynamo (as most fans are hoping) or the lesser villain Whiplash (as previously claimed the The Hollywood Reporter). Updated: Variety reports that the character will be a hybrid of the two but will be called Whiplash.
Marvel has been stung by several instance of being penny wise and pound-foolish about the sequel to the film that put them on the map as a stand-alone studio. Jon Favreau publicly insinuated that the studio was balking at signing him on the sequel. Then actor Terrence Howard parted with the franchise over money issues. Samuel L. Jackson came right out and said they were being cheap about bringing him back as Nick Fury. Then the Rourke rumors began.
Update: Variety confirms that salary was, indeed, the sticking point and Rourke's reps at ICM were able to get his paycheck above the reported quarter million that Marvel initially offered. Another factor appears to have been Rourke's frequent encounters with Robert Downey Jr. on the awards circuit earlier this year.
To their credit, Marvel has resolved all conflicts except for Howard's, bringing Favreau back into the fold last year, signing Jackson to an amazing 9-picture deal and now getting Rourke to suit up.