Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Rourke 'confirmed for Iron Man 2'

Mickey Rourke
Rourke will reportedly play Russian villain Whiplash

Oscar-nominated actor Mickey Rourke is to star in the sequel to comic book film Iron Man, according to reports.

The Wrestler star will play a Russian villain called Whiplash, industry newspaper Variety said.

The 56-year-old's involvement had been mooted since January, after lead star Robert Downey Jnr asked him to be in the film.

Marvel Entertainment would not confirm Rourke's involvement in the film, which is due to be released in May 2010.

Negotiations to sign Rourke to the film took so long as Marvel reportedly only offered the star $250,000 (181,000) for the role, Variety said.

He is poised to join Downey Jnr, Sam Rockwell and Samuel L Jackson in the film, along with Scarlett Johansson, who is reportedly replacing British actress Emily Blunt as superspy Black Widow.

Rourke sealed his comeback king status after winning a string of awards including a Golden Globe and Bafta for his portrayal of Randy "The Ram" Robinson in The Wrestler.

Iron Man was one of the biggest hit films of 2008, taking more than $300m (218m) in the US alone.

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