Trivia: The Wrestler

  • Banned in Iran: The Iranian Government has condemned The Wrestler as "Western propaganda" (due to the Ayatollah character).
  • Enforced Method Acting: It's pretty clear that in every scene where Randy interacts with another wrestler (as in, an actual wrestler cast as an extra), that Mickey Rourke was told to act like, and that the others were told to treat him like, an aging but still respected wrestler. Granted, that's the very definition of acting, but aside from the scenario itself, it's obvious there was no script involved. This results in scenes like Randy walking into the makeshift locker room near the beginning of the movie and interacting with R-Truth and others later on in the gymnasium, which come across as very spontaneous with only a very broad "goal" of conversation to be reached in order to complete the scene. Contrast these scenes with actual scripted scenes involving wrestler extras like Tommy Rotton and The Ayatollah.
    • The scenes between Randy and the gorcery store customers were unscripted with hidden cameras. Those were real shoppers interacting with a person they believed to be an employee.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Fans of Darren Aronofsky's work will recognize Mark Margolis (who plays Lenny) as Max's neighbor Sol from π, old Mr. Rabinowitz from Requiem for a Dream, and Franciscan monk Father Avila from The Fountain.
    • Marv falls for Danika, tries to rekindle his relationship with his daughter Lucy and signs things at Frank's Rec Center.
    • WWE fans will note that Ron Killings, now known as R-Truth, is among the indie wrestlers that make cameos in the film. Old WCW fans may recognize The Ayatollah as Ernest "The Cat" Miller. And ECW fans will recognize The Blue Meanie. In fact, every wrestler you see in this movie is a professional wrestler in real life, and they're using their actual gimmicks (save for Miller).
  • Reality Subtext: Randy's wrestling career is a fairly close mirror to Rourke's acting career.
    • The conversation about how the '90s sucked can serve as this for Marisa Tomei as well as Rourke; while she won an Academy Award for My Cousin Vinny, many people sniped that she didn't really win or didn't deserve to win because she won for a comic performance, and her career suffered for a while as a result.
    • Also, before becoming an actor, Rourke was a promising amateur boxer. When his acting career stalled, Rourke decided to go pro at 39. While he was undefeated in his eight bouts, he, like Randy, was at an age where he really did not belong in the ring and suffered serious injuries trying to succeed in a sport he shouldn't have been a part of anymore.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, Nicolas Cage was cast as Randy, and was spotted backstage at several Ring of Honor shows trying to get a better feel for the environment. He willingly stepped down in favor of Rourke, who was Aronofsky's original choice.
    • Originally, Tomei's character was supposed to be a ballerina, and Black Swan was supposed to be pretty much folded into this. However, the producers felt that it was too much for one movie, and the stories were split in half. They are still considered "two halves of the same movie," however.
  • Doing It for the Art: Because of how much the movie meant to them personally, Aronofsky, Rourke, and Bruce Springsteen did their work free of charge.
    • In spite of his Real Life personality, Axl Rose was invited to see an advance screening of the movie. He was so moved that he allowed the movie to use "Sweet Child o' Mine" free of charge.