Jersey’s Ring Fling

Actor Mickey Rourke may be getting most of the accolades for his performance in The Wrestler, but New Jersey plays an important supporting role in the film.

Photo by Niko Tavernise.
Beach buds: Mickey Rourke strolls the Asbury Park boardwalk in a pivotal scene from The Wrestler with his on-screen daughter, played by Evan Rachel Wood.
Photo by Niko Tavernise.

In the critically acclaimed movie, Rourke portrays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, an over-the-hill professional wrestler. By the time you read this, Rourke may have garnered an Academy Award nomination for his work in the film, which is set almost entirely in the Garden State.

To capture the grungy world of pro wrestling, director Darren Aronofsky tapped area promoters to stage events in Rahway, Hasbrouck Heights, and Dover that doubled as movie shoots. Wrestling fans will recognize New Jersey ring veterans Judas Young and Danny “Inferno” Gimondo as extras in the locker-room scenes.
Other Jersey locations include the Martha Washington Apartments, Clifton; the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield; Mieleville Mobile Home Park, Hazlet; Tropical Tan and Color & Cuts Salon in Bayonne; Vintage Mode, Elizabeth; Frenchy’s Bar & Grill, Roselle Park; and the boardwalk in Asbury Park. For co-star Marisa Tomei’s scenes as a stripper, interiors were shot at Stiletto in Carlstadt and exteriors at Cheeques in Linden. Another infusion of Jersey-ness comes from Bruce Springsteen, who recorded the film’s somber title song—also a likely Oscar nominee.

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