Resurgent Mickey Rourke pins down another award

Sun Feb 8, 2009 6:13pm EST
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By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) - Mickey Rourke won another round in his comeback when he picked up a leading actor prize at Britain's BAFTA film awards on Sunday night for his performance in "The Wrestler."

He hasn't entirely abandoned his bad-boy ways -- he swore during his acceptance speech and puffed on a cigarette when he strolled up the red carpet outside London's Royal Opera House before the ceremony.

But he acknowledged that the award was part of his emerging "out of the darkness."

He has already won a Golden Globe and is a contender for an Oscar for his portrayal of a down-and-out wrestler struggling to stay in the limelight while fighting his own personal demons.

The role has strong echoes with Rourke's own tumultuous life, which saw him go from one of Hollywood's brightest talents to the butt of comedians' jokes.

Rourke appeared emotional as he recounted his troubled years at a post-awards news conference.

"I lost everybody's trust. I had some things I had to change ...I didn't handle myself like a professional," he said, holding his BAFTA trophy in one hand and a half-drunk bottle of champagne in the other.

"After 13 years of therapy, after losing everything, I needed to put the pieces back together to be okay with the change of being accountable," Rourke said.

"The armor that I wore much, the strength, the physical, the -- my mentality became a weakness and I am okay with the change."

<p>Mickey Rourke poses after winning the award for Leading Actor for "The Wrestler" during the 2009 BAFTA awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 8, 2009. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>