Rourke would go on to receive an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
The film was very well received by critics, holding a rating of 87% positive reviews on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.
I have so much respect for Nic Cage as an actor and I think it really could have worked with Nic but ...
you know, Nic was incredibly supportive of Mickey and he is old friends with Mickey and really wanted to help with this opportunity, so he pulled himself out of the race." In 2008, Cage appeared as Joe, a contract killer who undergoes a change of heart while on a work outing in Bangkok, in the film Bangkok Dangerous.
In November 2007, Cage was spotted backstage at a Ring of Honor wrestling show in New York City researching for the lead role for The Wrestler.
However, Cage dropped out of production shortly afterwards because he felt that he did not have enough time to prepare for the role and director Darren Aronofsky preferred Mickey Rourke for the lead part.