Mickey Rourke On Faith And New Role In Yelena Popovic’s MAN OF GOD

Screenshot from MAN OF GOD trailer, YouTube

Mickey Rourke On Faith And New Role In Yelena Popovic’s MAN OF GOD

By Movieguide® Staff

MAN OF GOD is a new faith-based movie from director Yelena Popovic and stars veteran actor Mickey Rourke. 

A portion of Movieguide®’s review of the movie reads: 

MAN OF GOD tells about the Greek Orthodox Bishop Nektarios of Aegina. In 1891, Nektarios is unjustly slandered, falsely accused and convicted without a trial, then removed from his duties as Bishop of Cairo in Egypt. Exiled to Greece, he lives in poverty as he continues to give Gospel charity to everyone. With pressure from church benefactors, his name is finally cleared. Nektarios becomes director of a school for seminarians and secular students. He then founds a monastery for nuns on the island of Aegina. Throughout his story, Nektarios is met with opposition and hatred at every turn. However, he returns this ill treatment from other church leaders with the Gospel values of love, patience, kindness, and self-denial.

The force behind the MAN OF GOD is the Bishop’s great faith in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. Bishop Nektarios lives the Gospel in service to the orphaned, the poor, the uneducated, and the needy. MAN OF GOD is a great, faith-filled movie for teenagers and adults. Although very European in structure and episodic, it tells a profound story of Christian sacrifice and service.

Rourke, who plays a paralyzed man in MAN OF GOD, said that his faith played a role in portraying the character. 

“My faith has always been something that has been very strong,” Rourke told Movieguide®’s Evy Baehr Carroll. “When I was living in New York, attempting to go to acting school… I got a call from a man I had never met before. Some guy my mother knew. And he wanted to talk to me in person. I went downstairs and said, ‘what’s up?’ And he says, ‘Well, your mother wanted me to come and see you because your younger brother only has six months to live.'”

Rourke recalled that his brother, Joey, was in prison at the time but that authorities released him after his cancer diagnosis. However, six months passed, and Rourke’s brother remained alive. 

Joey’s cancer would come and go over the next decade, but Rourke said he continually prayed for a miracle.  

“He lived more than six months. When he was 23, the cancer came back again. And then it went away. Then he was 27. cancer came back again. And I just kept praying to this saint, praying to St. Jude. When he was 33, it came back again. He got to the point where he didn’t want to take the chemotherapy anymore. He hated it.

“When he was about 41, they gave him six months again to live,” he continued. “But something inside me knew this was gonna be the last rodeo. He died in my arms six months later. I remember going to the bed. I counted, it was 13 Steps from the kitchen table to his bedroom. I told him that God never gave a man a better brother.”

Rourke revealed that he walked 13 steps in honor of his brother after his miraculous healing in MAN OF GOD. 

“I remember when I was doing MAN OF GOD, there was a scene where I was laying in the bed and I had to get up and I was able to walk,” he said. “The choice as an actor that I made was to make the 13 steps, like I made when I talked to Joey. The way I work as an actor is I connect things from my life and make it personal.'”

Rourke said that he saw that Popovic’s movie had “integrity,” which made him want to take on the role. 

“To have an opportunity with a director who wants to make a real movie and have it touch people, that’s what means the most to me,” he said. 

Popovic said that MAN OF GOD is full of hope and a timely movie for today. 

“It’s a story that emphasizes a virtue that we have actually sort of forgotten in our times: it’s called humility,” Popovic said. “Nobody takes responsibility for their actions in general, I’m first talking about myself. We all like to blame somebody else. Humility is something where you humble yourself, and try to see your faults and love others. You can potentially even get on the level to be able to love your enemies, like Saint Nektarios, which his life was Christ-like, life full of obstacles, full of slander, prosecution. But because of his amazing faith that he had, he chose the path of love and forgiveness.

“It showed the victory at the end, he was the one who was free. He was the one who had peace in his heart, regardless of what’s happening around you,” she added. That’s the real freedom. That’s the freedom that I wish on everybody. We can’t create it, it’s not good enough, because we don’t have much control. We want that freedom inside of us. It’s outside of this world. And that’s what he had. And without that kind of peace in the heart, it’s very hard to have peace with everybody else around or peace in this world. And that’s why I think this film of hope, and forgiveness and healing is really much needed right now.”

MAN OF GOD released as a Fathom event on March 21, 2022, and will play again on March 28.