In an interesting interview with Relevant magazine, Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke talks about growing up in the Catholic church, a broken home that left him an angry young man, almost two decades of self-destructive behavior, an ongoing commitment to prayer, and the night he almost committed a murder/suicide before walking into a church and confiding in a pastor instead.
It was 1994, and Rourke's wife at the time, Carre Otis, was brutally raped while strung out on heroin. When Rourke learned who the perpetrator was, he grabbed a gun and wrote a suicide note, intending to kill the rapist and then himself. But en route, he felt a compulsion to enter New York's Church of the Holy Cross, where Father Peter Colapietro found a crying man, clearly in deep despair.
"I had reached a place in my life where living was living hard," Rourke told Relevant. "I was at a crossroads. . . . . I was ready to take care of business in a rather severe way and Father Peter talked me out of it, [asking me] 'Where in the Bible does it say, "Vengeance is mine, says Mickey Rourke"?'
"[He] took away my gun and had me leave the note with St. Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes. And he said that part of my life could be over now and I still had the opportunity to do things over again."
Rourke's self-destructive behavior didn't necessarily end that day, but a corner had been turned. He'd been trying to get to the point where he could make a great film again, and director Darren Aronofsky had just the right role for him, in The Wrestler. Rourke ended up winning the Best Actor Award at the Golden Globes, and was a runner-up to Sean Penn (for Milk) at the Oscars.
It's been quite a comeback for Rourke, who also told Relevant, "I wish I went with God's plan 15 years ago instead of mine. I'd be in a lot different place."