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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview with President Jimmy Carter/Interview with Mickey Rourke

Aired January 27, 2009 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he's slamming, jamming and ramming home a role that could win him an Oscar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE WRESTLER," COURTESY PROTOZOA PICTURES)

MICKEY ROURKE, ACTOR: And I deserve to be all alone. I just didn't want you to hate me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Mickey Rourke -- he soared high then crashed hard. And Hollywood said he was down for the count.

How did he battle back?

But first, Jimmy Carter. One week after Barack Obama's inauguration, how does the 39th president rate the 44th?

Are his priorities right?

What about the people he's picked to surround him?

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with former President Jimmy Carter. He's got a new book out called "We Can Have Peace in The Holy Land

A Plan That Will Work." I have the book right here. And there you see its cover.

We'll talk about that in a couple of minutes.

He joins us from Chicago.

President Obama was inaugurated a week ago. It's a short time.

How is he doing?

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, I think he's doing great. I've been with him before we had the five presidents meet. And I was with him at the inauguration. And I was meeting, obviously, with him at the luncheon that we had with all the presidents. And I think he's doing just great.

I was particularly gratified that he carried out his promise, which didn't surprise me, that he would start working on the Middle East peace process the first time he was in office and not wait until the last year he was in office. So he's already made telephone calls over there and he's appointed the greatest American he could possibly appoint to be a special envoy to that region, George Mitchell.

KING: And we'll talk about that in a couple of minutes.

What do you make of the stimulus package?

CARTER: Well, I don't know enough about the details yet. But I have confidence in President Obama and his advisers on economic matters. And I believe that what he's proposed basically will go through the Congress, because he's so popular now and the American people are backing him. So if House members or senators are doubtful about it now, I think they'll lean toward accommodating the new president.

KING: Can our -- Mr. President, can our expectations possibly be too high?

CARTER: Well, I think they are. I believe that's better than being in despair. And I think everybody that's rational about it and considers it for a long time knows that the changes that have to take place in the economy are going to be very slow and tedious. And I think a lot of the expenditures that will come as rapidly as possible might not occur until maybe 18 months from now -- some earlier.

So we're going to have to be patient.

We're going to have to have confidence in our new leader. And I don't think there's any doubt that he will be as successful as any human being can possibly be. And we all need to give him our support and our prayers.

KING: What do you think of the cabinet selections?

CARTER: I think it's good. I know a lot of them. I had chance to talk to some of them on Inauguration Day and during the ceremonies there. I had a long talk, by the way, with the new secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, just before we went out on the platform to witness the ceremonies. And I know a lot of the others, as well. I think he's made some good choices.

KING: Do you think Hillary Clinton will be good with regard to the Middle East?

CARTER: I think so. Obviously, the key person in administration is the man in the White House. And if she should have some slight differences with him as secretary of State, she'll have to accommodate the desires of the president. So I don't think there will be any gap between the two.

And I think he's going to be very aggressive. And he's appointed a man who knows both side of the issue, from long experience. And George Mitchell, as you know, is on the way over there now. He'll be meeting with the top leaders in Palestine and also, in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and so forth.

And this is primarily a fact-finding mission, just to make sure that he comes up to date on what's happening over there. And I'm thankful that he's my new book. The first copy went to the president. And so I think we will see some very good and wise analysis of it. Obviously, they're the ones that are making the decisions, not me.

KING: The president gave his first formal TV interview, as president, to Al Arabiya, an Arab satellite network.

Now, let's take a look at a little of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY AL ARABIYA)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you expect him to have a -- a kind of balanced outreach to the Middle East?

CARTER: That's a dramatic change over what we've had the last eight years -- or certainly the last six years.

Yes, I think that, overwhelmingly, in the Muslim world, they have the same basic motivations that we do. They want stability in their lives. They want peace. They want a better life for their children and grandchildren and they've had themselves. And they want to be respected by foreign dignitaries and by great, powerful nations like ours.

And if he will treat them that way, I think this will minimize the radical element in the Muslim world, which exists in the Christian world, as well, who might want to have violence and terrorism.

So, yes, I believe this is a very good start. And I believe it will pay rich dividends to reach out to them. I think his phrase, that he wants to shake hands if they will unclench their fists, to those who are inclined in that direction, it was a very memorable thing.

KING: What about his outreach to Israel?

CARTER: I don't know what he's done yet. I know he called the prime minister of Israel and he called the leader of the Palestinians both, the first day he was in office, as well as the leaders of the Egyptians and Saudi Arabians -- I believe that's right -- so far.

But I think that he will have a very equal treatment between Israel and the Palestinians, perhaps more than we've seen in the last few years, because George Mitchell, his appointee, knows both sides. He's done deep analysis of what's happening in the West Bank and in Israel. And, obviously, they will move toward a two state solution. The worst possible thing that could happen to Israel, in the long run, is to continue down the road toward a one state solution, which means that eventually you'll have a majority of Palestinians -- of Arabs -- in the one state and a minority of Israelis and of Jews. And that would be a catastrophe. I think.

KING: You title your book "We Can Have Peace in The Holy Land

A Plan That Will Work." This seems tougher than the Irish and the English. This seems -- it seems insurmountable.

CARTER: I'm not sure that it's tougher than the Irish was, because we had the IRA that was looked upon, you know, for years as a terrorist organization. And they did some terrorist acts.

But I think that's one reason that the president chose George Mitchell, because he was a key person, as you know, in negotiating a peace agreement...

KING: Right.

CARTER: ...when no one much thought it could happen. So I believe it wasn't a miracle, but it was close to a miracle. I think we could have the same thing in the Middle East, in the Holy Land.

KING: President Carter's daughter Amy was nine when he became president.

What advice might he have for the Obama girls in a little while?

More on the Middle East, too, ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: They just had a cease-fire, Mr. President. It may have been broken yesterday.

Do you think Israel was right in retaliating when it was hit with missiles every day, to go into the Gaza?

CARTER: Well, you have to remember something in perspective. Of course, it's bad to fire missiles. It's bad to kill civilians. But the year before the cease-fire went into effect last June the 19th, which I went over and helped to negotiate, there had been one -- a total of one Israeli killed in an entire year. And an average of 49 Palestinians were killed every month. So that kind of puts it into perspective.

But I think it's best for all of us to condemn any violence on either side. And what we need is just two things right now. One is to open up the gates going into Gaza so that people can have food and water and medicine and fuel. And, on the other hand, stop all of the firing of missiles and, also, all of the firing of -- dropping of bombs and so forth -- end the violence. And that's possible, I think.

And I went back over there in December and tried to work out a similar agreement. But I was not able to, at the last minute. And so the violence recurred, which I really regret.

KING: OK. One of the problems is, I mean, if someone was dropping missiles into Atlanta, you would retaliate wouldn't you?

I mean it's just human form to do that.

CARTER: If I couldn't stop it otherwise, I certainly would, yes. One way to stop it would have been to open up the supply of fuel and water and food and medicine to let the 1.5 million Palestinians have a decent life. But those -- that gate going into Israel was closed. And that's the only way you can get food and water and so forth in.

And I think, obviously, if they continued to fire the missiles after that was supplied, then retaliation would take place.

But I think that if the bombing and the shells could have been dropped on the tunnels coming into Gaza instead of on the schools and mosques and churches and houses, that would have been a better response.

KING: All right. Israel holds elections February 10th. Benjamin Netanyahu is favored to win. That's the hard line party, Likud.

CARTER: Yes.

KING: Do you think that sets things back?

CARTER: I don't know if there's much choice to be made between the three leading candidates, because the issues won't change. And Netanyahu has been pretty outspoken about building up the quality of life in among the Palestinians.

I think the key to it is what happens with influence or pressure -- I'd rather have the word influence -- from Washington. And I think if the president of the United States makes a major effort to bring about an accommodation between Israel and its neighbors, that can be done.

That's what happened when I was in office. We had had four horrible wars in 25 years. Israel was attacked almost four times. There was no relationship between the Arabs and the Israelis. Sadat, Begin formed a peace treaty that was signed in 1979 -- 30 years ago -- not a word of which has ever been violated.

And, obviously, Netanyahu doesn't have the negative image or reputation that Menachem Begin had when he was elected, as you remember, back in 1977.

KING: So the United States plays a key role, in your book, in solving this?

CARTER: The key role. Absolutely.

KING: The key role?

CARTER: I think so, because you have to remember that the United States provides Israel with about $10 million of aid every day. And that's very important. And, also, the international community is led by the United States in giving Israel support and defending Israel from attacks, both military attacks and also political attacks, through the United Nations and otherwise.

So Israel depends substantially on goodwill from the United States. And I think that almost overwhelmingly, the Israeli people want peace. They don't want continued violence and war the rest of their lives and their children's lives. And those opportunities for making real progress come just every now and then. And I think this year is a time when one of those opportunities has come. And that's why I produced this book this year, to let the American people know what's been happening for the last 30 years, what's happening now and what can be the formula to bring peace.

KING: Are you optimistic?

CARTER: I'm as optimistic as -- I'm more optimistic now than I've been in the last 16 years. Yes.

KING: Really?

CARTER: I believe that we can see real progress made. I don't have any doubt about that.

KING: Jimmy Carter.

The book is "We Can Have Peace In The Holy Land." Two former presidents -- Bush 41 and Bill Clinton -- were at a forum today. And you won't believe what happened.

We'll be back with it in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

And there was a forum today. The former president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, and the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, was there.

Interesting things occurred.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One time we thought we'd outsmarted the crowd. We sent a decoy limousine off in one direction while I snuck out in the back entrance. And as we rounded the corner -- I'll never forget it -- I saw one of the ugliest and angriest women I have ever seen in my entire life. Boy, she was really mad. And she charged my car with a sign. God, I don't see why the Secret Service let her up that close -- right next to the window: "Stay out of my womb!"

No problem, lady. And...

(LAUGHTER)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, he tells jokes that I just couldn't get away with telling.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Can you imagine what they would do to me if I told that joke he told up here?

Some people can do things. Other people can't. That reminds me, you know, of the story of the two dogs who watched kids break dancing. And one dog said to the other, you know, if we did that, they'd worm us.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: I mean, some guys got it, some guys don't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How do you explain that -- that friendship, Mr. President?

CARTER: Oh, I think it's very good. And I think it's accurate to say that all five of us presidents have a very good, friendly relationship.

I had the best relationship with the administration when George H.W. Bush was in office and Jim Baker was the secretary of State. I worked very harmoniously with them.

But I had the same relationship, pretty much, with Bill Clinton, because it was under Bill Clinton's watch that I went to North Korea, with his approval, and negotiated an agreement with Kim Il Sung. And, also, I went to Haiti with Colin Powell and Sam Nunn and prevented a war down there.

KING: Yes.

CARTER: So Bill Clinton gave me some major things to do, as well.

KING: Colin Powell told me that he never saw any one have more guts than you displayed in Haiti. It's an incredible story. I won't go into it now, but it's quite a story.

What's it like to...

CARTER: It was a dangerous...

KING: Yes. What's it -- yes, I know. They were going to bomb you.

What's it like to raise a family in the White House?

I'll ask, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The Carter Center's annual fundraising auction is next month. More than 100 unique and historic items go up for bid. You can go CNN.com/larryking for more information.

You mentioned Bill Clinton.

What is your relationship with him?

CARTER: Very good. When we met outside the reviewing stand the other day for the inauguration, we exchanged kisses with each other's wives and then we talked about the fact that Bill helped me become president in '76, I helped him become president later on and the things that we've done together. And, particularly, we talked about the future of Hillary Clinton as secretary of State. And then we walked out together.

And George H.W. Bush then had a hip operation and he had to go up on the elevator. So we met him later on.

But we had a long, friendly conversation, which we had always done.

KING: George W. Bush left office with a very low approval rating and those things changed.

You, though, when you left office, you had a 34 percent approval rating. In the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll, you have a popularity rating of 60 percent.

What -- any advice you can give to George W. As a former president now?

CARTER: Well, I think just be frank with the American people. Get out whenever you can. Use the tremendous influence that accrues to every former president trying to benefit as many people as possible.

I think he's done a superb job, by the way, in increasing U.S. aid to the poverty-stricken people in Africa. I think no one could have done any better than he has there. And I think he can take advantage of that.

So I don't think there's any doubt that his public opinion polls will go up in the future.

KING: Your daughter Amy was nine when you became president.

Any advice to the Obamas about parenting daughters in the White House fish bowl?

CARTER: Well, we had long conversations with Barack Obama and with his wife a week before last. Rosa spent an hour-and-a-half luncheon with Michelle. And I was with Barack with the other presidents the same day. And they're very interested in seeing their daughters have as normal a life as possible in the White House. And Amy was exactly the same age as their oldest daughter. So I think we covered it fairly well. And I told them, you know, that you can have a delightful life, not only in the White House during the week, but, also, at Camp David on the weekends.

But Amy would bring her classmates home with her. And the White House is a good place for a kid. They have a movie theater and the first family can get any movie they want -- brand new ones or old ones. Amy sometimes would bring her classmates there and spend all night, Friday night, watching movies and eating popcorn and Cokes.

And, you know, President Ford put in a swimming pool and Harry Truman put in a bowling alley. So there's a lot to be done around the White House. And I think their -- their daughters will have a delightful time.

KING: How old is Amy now?

CARTER: Amy was born in 1967. I'll let you figure it out.

KING: Forty-two.

CARTER: Forty-two. Forty-two years old. I just figured it.

KING: I want to clear something...

CARTER: And she's getting along fine.

KING: I want to clear something up on the Middle East. You said earlier that Israel fired on schools and mosques. Israel says it fired back to where the missiles were fired from.

What was Israel supposed to do at that point?

CARTER: I can't deny that. I don't know. I wasn't over there. I just know what the United Nations report was. The big allegation was that the United Nations school, with 30 children in it, was struck and all the kids were killed. And the United Nations denies that there were any terrorists inside or -- I don't know what the answer is.

But once you decide to destroy a city -- as I understand, they destroyed 22,000 buildings -- then you can't really pick and choose which ones you're going to destroy.

KING: Do you trust Hamas?

CARTER: I trust Hamas to do what they know is best for them. When I have met with Hamas, twice, their pre-eminent -- almost their only demand was open the gates and let food come into our people here.

As you know, at least half of those folks in Gaza -- about 1.5 million -- are not loyal to Hamas. They're loyal to Fatah. And a lot of the people on the West Bank are not all loyal to Fatah, they're loyal to Hamas.

So the Palestinians are indistinguishable. And I would just hope that everybody there wants peace.

The Hamas people committed to me and announced publicly and confirmed that they will accept any peace agreement negotiated between the Palestinians and the Israelis, provided the terms are submitted to the Palestinians all over the West Bank and Gaza in a referendum. And if it's approved by the Palestinians, Hamas swears they will accept it. I think they will.

KING: How is your health, Mr. President?

CARTER: It's fine, I think. I'm getting along fine. This is four day book tour and I think I have 51 interviews in four days. And if I survive these four days, then I know I'm OK

KING: Thanks, Mr. President.

Always good seeing you.

CARTER: Thank you, Larry.

KING: President Jimmy Carter. The book "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land

A Plan That Will Work."

Speaking of books, one of the most talked about books in ages is the one about to be published about and by Joe Torre, former manager of the Yankees, general manager of the Dodgers. Joe Torre's first appearance concerning that book -- his first exclusive appearance -- will be on this program Friday night. Joe Torre Friday night right here.

Next, he had it all and then it all disappeared. And now he's nominated for a best actor Oscar. Mickey Rourke -- he'll tell us about his roller coaster ride with life, acting and fame, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Nobody could be happier for anybody than we are for Mickey Rourke. He has earned an Oscar nomination as best actor for a performance in "The Wrestler." He's already won the Golden Globe best actor for that role.

We congratulate him.

This is his first Oscar nomination.

Were you surprised?

ROURKE: I was surprised, sure. I mean, it's been a long, winding road. I was surprised. I mean, after about six days of working with the director, Darren Aronofsky, I knew we had something special. And all the actors that he hired were really good. And the...

KING: No one had -- you were kind of disappeared.

Like what happened to Mickey Rourke?

You were a what happened to.

ROURKE: Yes.

KING: How did you get the role of the wrestler?

ROURKE: It wasn't just that role. I think it was an accumulation over the last four, five years of being accountable and having somebody like Darren being able to check with the last group of directors that I worked with, talked to Tony Scott or Robert Rodriguez. And the feedback was he has changed. He's not the handful he used to be. I had to take that journey.

KING: What were you a handful about? What made Mickey Rourke like persona non grata?

ROURKE: It was all Mickey Rourke's fault. I had a very naive idea about what the acting was going to be. I was not prepared to deal with the politics or the business. And I was just coming out of the actor's studio with Strasbourg, and the last few years he was alive. It was all about the work with me. I just didn't have the tools and wasn't educated enough to understand.

KING: All you had was the talent.

ROURKE: That was it.

KING: Also nominated, by the way, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Frank Langella and Richard Jenkins. Have you seen all these guys in their films?

ROURKE: I have seen them all. I haven't seen all their movies. It has been a really crazy kind of time. I haven't had a lot of time to watch. I saw Sean's movie. As usual, Sean brings it. He is an incredible actor. We sort of came up around the same time. I have been aware of him for a long time. We are good friends. And you know, Sean -- Sean is the man.

KING: Is your breakthrough movie "Pope of Greenwich Village?"

ROURKE: No, I think before that, it was a very small role in "Body Heat" where I worked for a day.

KING: You were in "Body Heat?"

ROURKE: Yes, for a minute. It was the first job I got. I was here in Los Angeles. I was bouncing at a transvestite nightclub. I went in and got the part. My agent said to me, well, you can quit that job now. I said, are you sure? He said, yes.

KING: Let's take a look at your winning moment at the Golden Globes earlier this month. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Golden Globe goes to Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Nice to know how happy everyone was for you? I mean, that was genuine great feeling in that room?

ROURKE: I was having trouble tripping up the stairs. Yes, it was really special.

KING: Were you surprised?

ROURKE: Anything at this point. Yes, I was surprised. I mean, you know -- Bruce Springsteen did me a really great favor. You know, when I got done making this movie, I really felt that we had something special. And I wrote Bruce a really long letter. He was on a European tour. And he was really busy. I asked him would you just read this and if we had shot some stuff in his neck of the woods, in Asbury Park, and what have you. It's sort of a blue-collar movie. I thought, if anybody could do something with it, he could.

He took the time a couple months later, called me back, said, I was in Miami. I was -- it was like midnight. He said, well, listen, man, I wrote you a little something. I was just look, wow. I mean, I -- I mean, he is one of the good guys. I love him to death.

KING: We have been talking about it -- maybe you haven't seen it. You will see it now, I am sure. Take a look at a clip from a terrific movie "The Wrestler."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARISA TOMEI, ACTRESS: I'm here. I'm really here. What do you call that?

(CHEERING)

ROURKE: You hear that?

TOMEI No. Randy. Randy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The woman in that clip is Marisa Tomei, won an Oscar in 1992 for "My Cousin Vinny" and is nominated for supporting actor's role in this. Did you have to learn to wrestle?

ROURKE: I did, in that I didn't know nothing about wrestling. I had a preconceived idea of how I thought it was. And I was -- I couldn't have been more wrong. I mean, having come from a boxing background, I looked at wrestling like, it is a pre-determined outcome. It is choreographed. I thought I can do that in a heartbeat.

And I got in there with the training sessions, and -- which was about a four-month period. And the Baffa, the wild Samoan (ph) was my wrestling trainer. I think after the first two months I had three MRIS. I went these guys aren't only athletes. They're entertainers and athletic. Somebody that's over 230 pounds picks you up and slams you down, something is going to shake, rattle and roll.

KING: Mickey Rourke. Does Mickey like being described as a comeback? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Feel funny looking at young Mickey Rourke?

ROURKE: I don't know. It is trippy. I don't watch the movies until a couple years pass.

KING: Really?

ROURKE: Yes.

KING: Do you think this is -- fair to say it's a come back, this movie?

ROURKE: I would say it is fair to say. A come back -- you know, when you use the word come back, it can be defined so -- come back from where? Come back from --

KING: You were certainly a major figure, in extraordinary roles. Then you kind of fell off the planet?

ROURKE: Yes, I did.

KING: So it is a come back.

ROURKE: It is a come back. I can roll with that.

KING: Did the World Wrestling Federation, Vince McMahon and that troupe, see this, like it, not like it, what?

ROURKE: OK, this is the deal. The thing I was concerned and worried about the most was when we had the premiere. And Rick Flair, Rowdy Piper, Bruce Beefcake, and Lex Luger all came. I'm just visiting their world for a little while. This is their world. So sure I cared. I didn't really care too much about what anybody else thought, except for those guys, if you want to know the truth. After the movie, I went oh, my god, there is Nature Boy, and there's Rowdy, and everybody. They came over and said, hey, brother, you are one of us. It was look I couldn't have been paid a higher compliment. Same thing with Rowdy.

These are a great group of guys. The camaraderie they have with each other, it is really special. Recently, I have been having some dialogue with Vince McMahon. And I mean he has transcended that sport, you know, the way Spielberg and George Lucas are to film. He has taken fat guys in speedos from the old days and now these guys are -- they're -- they're in the gym. They're all fit. They're all, you know, terribly athletic.

KING: You can say he is a genius promoter? ROURKE: I think he is a good dude, you know? I think he is a good person and he has honorable intentions. And he's been -- we have had some great dialogue. I know he has got a program coming up April 5th in Houston, Wrestlemania. I want to do anything I can to just go there and support those guys, because they -- they're -- they're embracing of our movie meant more to me than anything else.

KING: What was the hardest part as an actor of doing this film?

ROURKE: I think the emotional stuff was really hard. I think that's why Darren wanted me to do the movie. He knew stuff deep inside, revisiting some painful dark places. He knew a lot about my story. The other thing was the training was putting on -- I walk around at about 192, and I had to get up to about 226, 227, 228. And I had, you know, seven months to do it. And that was hell.

KING: The scene in the grocery store, it looked like you were having fun doing that? It's a wild scene. It is very funny.

ROURKE: I begged him not to do that scene.

KING: Why?

ROURKE: Because it brought up -- look, I think it brought up issues of shame with me, because it was too close to the belt. It's like, here is somebody who used to be somebody and now he is working in a god damned deli.

KING: Supermarket.

ROURKE: Yes. I said to Darren, can't he just be a dishwasher, where he can hide in the back. I remember going for several years to the 7-Eleven to get something in the middle of the night. There'd be a line, seven, eight people. Somebody would go, didn't you used to be in -- I'd go, let me get out of here.

KING: Mickey Rourke, he stars in "The Wrestler" nominated for Academy Award, won the Golden Globes.

We want to hear from you, by the way. Blog at CNN.com/LarryKing. We'll be back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROURKE: Darren said to me -- he told me how I ruined my career to 15 years. Then he said to me, if you do this with me, you have to do everything I tell you. Just like this. You'll do everything I say. And you can never disrespect me. And I can't pay you. And I went -- to say all that, I thought, you know, he has got a lot of balls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back. The Academy Award nominated Mickey Rourke is our guest. What are you saying tonight by the way on our blog? We now check in with our own David Theall to hear what is on your mind. David?

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE: Larry, a lot of people still talking about your interview yesterday with impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. We have been getting a lot of comments yesterday, through the night, and even today there are still a lot of people talking about that interview. Talking also about the governor's personality. And talking about the impeachment proceedings happening.

Cassandra chimed in on your interview, Larry. We heard from her and she said, "Larry, thank you for giving the man a chance to talk without making fun of him."

Valerie said, "I don't feel sorry for him at all," the governor, she is talking about. "However, I do feel sorry for the state of Illinois."

Larry, we also heard from Mike, the governor does have his supporters, at least some dropping by the blog. One is Mike. He said, "Governor Blagojevich is the Huey Long for the disenfranchised and the poor. Governor Blagojevich will always be my governor."

Now, we have put some of that video, Larry, from your interview last night that we did in New York -- we put it online, on the blog, and also on your main page, CNN.com/LarryKing. Go there and look for the link. You can find some replays of that interview that you did last night.

Also on the blog, we're talking about your interview with Mickey Rourke. Mickey has a lot of fans that dropped by the blog. Jan is one of them. She says to you, Mickey, "you never really got the credit your talent deserves. It is good to see it is finally coming around his way."

About this proposed wrestling match between Mickey Rourke and Chris Jericho, we heard from Anita. I know you are going to be talking about that proposed wrestling match pretty soon here, Larry. Anita said she "can't wait to see it." According to Anita, "Chris Jericho is going down."

That's what we are talking about on the blog, Larry, CNN.com/LarryKing. As always, look for the live blog link. Click it, jump into the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you. Larry?

KING: Thank you, David. Mickey Rourke plays "The Wrestler." Next, we'll have a real pro-wrestler, Chris Jericho, the WWE star, who has had six different championship titles. He joins us along with Mickey next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK) KING: Mickey Rourke remains with us. He earned an Oscar nomination as best actor in "The Wrestler," and he has already won the Golden Globe for that role. Joining us now in Chicago is Chris Jericho, pro wrestler, actor and TV personality. Chris has held six different championship titles in WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. Chris, have you seen "The Wrestler?"

CHRIS JERICHO, WWE STAR: Yes, I have seen "The Wrestler," Larry. I thought Mickey did a tremendous job. I thought he hit the ball right out of the park. He did a great job, made no mistakes in his performance as Randy the Ram.

KING: To please you, he had to go some, because you're in the game every day.

JERICHO: That's the thing, I think the movie represented the minor leagues of wrestling very well. And, like I said, I think it was a nice representation of what it is like to be on the way up, and also what it's like to be on the way down of wrestling. It's not representing what I do in the WWE, and who I am, for example, as the best in the world at what I do.

Like I said, Mickey's performance was immaculate. He made no mistakes. But I think he did make a mistake on the red carpet at the SAGE Awards when he mentioned Wrestlemania and he called me out, because if he got his wish and had a confirmation with me at Wrestlemania, I think the ending of the Jericho/Rourke movie would not turn out very well for Mr. Rourke, as it did in "The Wrestler."

KING: Ha, a challenge. Mickey?

JERICHO: Not really a challenge. I think Mickey kind of talked out of line. It's not a challenge, I'm just answering. There's a lot of difference between playing a wrestler in a movie and actually being one in real life. I think Mickey was given some bad advice in saying my name on the red carpet. If you get your wish, Mr. Rourke, you will learn things you never learned playing in playing a wrestler in a movie.

KING: Mr. Rourke?

ROURKE: I think that's fine. I was visiting his world. He does his thing. He does his thing very well. Perhaps, I did put my foot in my mouth. I got nothing but respect for him.

KING: Would you wrestle him?

ROURKE: Would I wrestle him? If it was up to me --

KING: You would?

ROURKE: No. I would -- it's not my world. I was a professional fighter. Would I box him in a boxing ring or a bare knuckle match? Yes. Wrestling, that's his role. That's what this man does.

(CROSS TALK) JERICHO: Boxing match, bare knuckle match, interesting, Mr. Rourke. I think you should have thought before you spoke. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Rourke. It may come true.

ROURKE: Listen, all the best to you at Wrestlemania on the fifth.

JERICHO: I do respect what you did in the movie, "The Wrestler," Mickey. Like I said, I think the performance was immaculate. Like I said, I think you offended me. That's the last thing you want to do is offend Chris Jericho, believe me, because you may have respect for me and respect my world, I don't have respect for you. I don't. I really don't.

ROURKE: Well, I am going to take the high road, brother, and wish you all the best and do your thing.

KING: See, Chris, he's taken the high road.

JERICHO: You know me, Larry, I'm a very nice guy. We've worked together quite a few times in the past. It takes a lot to throw me off kilter, Larry. Next time, think twice, Mickey. Like I said, I'm right here, brother. You want bare knuckle, you want boxing, whatever it is, I'm fine. I'm an entertainer just like you are. But my world is a lot different than yours. You think that you know that, but I don't think you know it for sure.

ROURKE: I don't know a whole lot about wrestling. Chris, you're looking sharp tonight.

KING: Thanks, Chris, go back to see Metallica.

JERICHO: I'll be waiting, Mr. Rourke. I'll be waiting.

ROURKE: Take care, have a good night, son.

KING: Mickey Rourke, by the way, turned down a lot of unbelievable roles. Wait until you hear what some of them were when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That's quite a film, "The Wrestler." The star is Mickey Rourke, nominated for an Oscar, won the Golden Globes for best actor. These are supposed -- check me if we're wrong -- some roles you turned down. You were asked to appear in "48 Hours."

ROURKE: Some of these are so far back, I can't remember that well.

KING: "Pulp Fiction."

ROURKE: I don't recall that.

KING: "Platoon?" You turned down "Platoon."

ROURKE: I know.

KING: "Rain Man."

ROURKE: I don't know.

KING: "Top Gun."

ROURKE: No.

KING: "Silence of the Lambs?"

ROURKE: No.

KING: We had that wrong. What do you know you turned down?

ROURKE: I don't know. I don't even go there because -- I don't want to say because there's other actors that got in the movie and I don't want to take anything away from them. I turned down some stuff, some stuff I shouldn't have for all the wrong reasons.

KING: Do you regret it?

ROURKE: Yes.

KING: What are you doing next? There's got to be something big. What are you doing next?

ROURKE: We're talking to the people about the "Ironman" and there's some other stuff down the road, maybe a project with Walter Hill, and something with Tony Scott maybe over in Berlin.

KING: Another action thing?

ROURKE: Not action, like drama.

KING: Let's take a call. Washington D.C. for Mickey Rourke, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, how you doing? Mickey?

ROURKE: Yes.

CALLER: I love you dearly. Are you single?

ROURKE: It depends what I'm drinking, what time of night it is.

KING: Are you single? Are you single or not?

ROURKE: Well, look, Roy Rogers had Dale Evans and Trigger. I ain't got Dale Evans. I just got lucky.

KING: You got a horse?

ROURKE: No, I got a dog.

KING: He's got a dog, ma'am. A dog can be tough to contend with sometimes.

ROURKE: Yes.

KING: How do you select what you do?

ROURKE: I've got a really good agent. I told people this before -- that put his ass on the line about seven years ago when I didn't have an agent even. I take his advice. I listen to his advice. I listen to his advice about -- when I didn't used to listen to anybody's advice, it was like doing this thing with Jericho -- I mean, man, I would love to get in there with, you know -- it would be an honor to wrestle with somebody like that. But, you know what, I've got to listen and not do the crazy things I used to do. There are repercussions and being accountable for my actions. And part of that is taking responsibility for what I do.

KING: Are you happy?

ROURKE: I'm content. I'm OK. There's a lot I've got to be thankful for. I've worked hard. Change has come hard for me and I'm glad it took me a decade or so to change and change has been for the better.

KING: You deserve it, man.

ROURKE: Thank you, brother.

KING: Good luck.

ROURKE: Good luck.

KING: Mickey Rourke, the Academy Award nominee, winner of the Golden Globe. The movie is "The Wrestler."

Thursday night, Ted Haggard, the one-time Evangelical superstar talks about battling his own sexuality.

And Friday night, Joe Torre, the baseball manager formerly of the Yankees and now the Dodgers. He'll talk about A-Rod and Derek Jeter and lots more. You go to CNN/com/LarryKing and e-mail our upcoming guests. You can also download our podcasts, find show transcripts or check out our blog.

Right now, check out Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?

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