Mickey Rourke has decided to drop out of playing rugby star Gareth Thomas in the upcoming film based on his coming out gay story.

Thomas, who retired from rugby last year, told UK tabloid The Sun that producers are in talks with Tom Hardy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Dark Knight Rises, RocknRolla) to fill the role.

The 59-year-old Rourke (The Wrestler, Iron Man 2) reportedly bowed out due to the rigorous training the part demanded.

“I was talking to Mickey yesterday and basically we're now talking to other big-name actors who could play the part instead,” Thomas told The Sun. “We had talked about using computer-generated special effects with Mickey but we don't think that will be as realistic, so it's time to find someone new.”

Rourke said he had underestimated the physical demands of the role: “The physical thing is harder than I thought. I'm just trying to get fit enough to do it.”

Thomas was in his early 30's when he became one of only a handful of professional athletes to come out gay during their careers.