Gareth Thomas

Reports that Oscar-nominated actor Mickey Rourke had dropped out of the film about the life of gay Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas have been denied.

It had earlier been claimed that the 59-year-old Rourke was not able to cope with the rigorous training required for the role.

“I was talking to Mickey yesterday and basically we’re now talking to other big-name actors who could play the part instead,” The Sun newspaper on Monday quoted Thomas as saying.

There were also suggestions that actor Tom Hardy could instead take the role.

On Tuesday, however, Thomas denied the claims and insisted that Rourke was still on-board for the film.

“Any notion that Mickey is giving up on the role are way off the mark. We’d love Tom Hardy to be involved, but he will not be playing me,” said Thomas.

“I teamed up with Mickey because in my opinion there’s nobody better to take on such a challenging role and nothing has changed there. He’s so motivated by the role it’s blown me away.”

Thomas came out as gay in December 2009 and was hailed as one of the few openly gay professional sportsmen in the world. He announced his retirement from rugby in late 2011.

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