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together Randy "The Ram" Robinson, Mickey Rourke struggles with problems many real-world wrestlers — significantly Jake "The Snake" Roberts — have faced over the years.

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Niko Tavernise/Fox Searchlight photos

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The documentary Beyond the Mat caught The snake (background) and his most renowned gimmick: using reptiles in the ring.

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Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky says his research study on the pro-wrestling people led him to "many males who had similar journeys" come the heights the fame and also back. Niko Tavernise/Fox Searchlight pictures hide caption


Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky says his research on the pro-wrestling civilization led him to "many guys who had comparable journeys" to the heights that fame and also back.

Niko Tavernise/Fox Searchlight photos

Mickey Rourke can have been left pulling staples indigenous his earlier after a particularly violent complement in The Wrestler, however one real-life number who may have actually influenced the film once had to detach a line from his face.

Like Randy "The Ram" Robinson — the central character in The Wrestler — Jake "The Snake" Roberts was a gifted showman, a faded icon and also an absent father. And also like Randy, he, too, struggled through drugs and failing health later in his career.

His story was told nine years before The Wrestler, in a documentary titled Beyond the Mat. Barry Blaustein, the manager of the previously film, states he loves The Wrestler.

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"Someone asked me if ns was sorry i didn"t do The Wrestler," that says. "I stated I did do it; ns made the nonfiction version of it."

Blaustein says that manager Darren Aronofsky acquired all the details right, and that Rourke to be superb. However Blaustein couldn"t aid but notification the similarities — down to the encounter between Randy and also his daughter.

In The Wrestler, Rourke"s character reaches the end to his daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). Beyond the Mat contains a similar scene in i m sorry the aging wrestler confronts his estranged daughter, Brandy.


Nothing around Roberts" life to be sugary or sweet. Born in 1955 come a 13-year-old mother, Roberts dealt with with and fought because that the fist of his father, additionally a skilled wrestler. He turned pro and flourished, realizing the psychology to be as essential to a good match as crisp move or a sculpted physique.

After progressing through wrestling"s boy leagues, Roberts broke vast in the 1980s, once Vince McMahon, president of what to be then called the civilization Wrestling Federation, had actually the idea to offer Jake "The Snake" an really snake.

Of course, those that cavort with snakes occasionally feel the bite themselves. In one match, the cobra bit Roberts in the face.

Big-time wrestling ultimately turned on Roberts. As he ended up being addicted to drugs, his real-life chemistry dependency was included into the manuscript for his matches.

But as tragic as Roberts" story is, it"s far from unique, Blaustein says.

Aronofsky agrees: "It"s sad to say what has happened come Jake is no that original a story for agree wrestling," he says. "We met so many guys that had comparable journeys, that were huge stars and just didn"t take treatment of themselves and also ended up in really, really devastating situations."

Aronofsky claims he and also Wrestler screenwriter Robert D. Siegel weren"t mindful of Beyond the Mat till after lock had started working on your movie.


Blaustein claims he got a contact from Aronofsky"s office asking for Roberts" call number, which the didn"t have.

Roberts turned down a inquiry to speak come dearteassociazione.org, saying the he didn"t desire to talk around The Wrestler or be interviewed because that this story.

Today, Jake "The Snake" Roberts markets his own direct-to-consumer DVDs and also appears in small gyms and halls mainly in the Southeast.

His fictitious incarnation can receive an ext star treatment this weekend: Randy "The Ram" Robinson can be the duty that wins Mickey Rourke an Academy Award.