Following Mickey Rourke’s decision to pull out of his role as gay Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas in a new biopic, Arnold Schwarzenegger has surprisingly emerged as his replacement to star in the film.
The film charting the life of Britain’s first openly gay rugby player was dreamed up by Rourke in a London pub after he lost an arm wrestling challenge with some gay rugby players. Rourke said: “There was an article about Gareth Thomas. I met Gareth and said [to him] I wanna make your life story”.
But after Rourke found the stunt training to exhausting, he was forced to pull out of his on-screen role and producers began to hunt for a replacement with more time on their hands to train, and with greater experience in body training.
An unlikely replacement appears to have been found in the guise of none other than the Terminator star, and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Mr Schwarzenegger has something of a mixed record on gay rights. He is notorious for having used effeminate stereotypes in describing gay men, and describing his opponents and people he considered ‘weak’ as ‘girly men,’ comments which have been construed as homophobic. However, he did stand against Proposition 8, and signed a bill that honoured Harvey Milk, and which recognised same-sex marriages performed in other states.
It had been rumoured that Mr Schwarzenegger wanted to return to film and television, and that he wanted to move away from pure action-thrillers for which he is best known.
According to sources, Mr Schwarzenegger said he is looking forward to starting the training needed to play the role. He said that “rugby is a real man’s game, and Thomas is a real man. He’s not one of those girly men. I cannot wait to get onto the pitch and get my hands onto the balls [sic], you know, the scrums should be exciting and I guess I’m also looking forward to the friendships that develop in the shower room, where, you know, you wash off all that dirtiness.”
The producers of the film have admitted that his strong Austrian accent would be a problem. However, during his recent trip to Downing Street, he fell in love with Britain so much that he wanted to return again for a longer time. He now intends to move to Wales for a time and learn the Welsh accent. Failing that, the producers may have to look for a voice double.