Actor Mickey Rourke says a film based on the life of openly gay rugby star Gareth Thomas will begin filming in February.

In an interview with New York Magazine's blog the Vulture, Rourke said about the upcoming movie: “That'll be a great movie. We start shooting February.”

Appearing last year on the BBC's Alan Carr: Chatty Man talk show, the 58-year-old Rourke confirmed that he'll play Thomas in the film.

When Carr, who is openly gay, asked, “Is it true you're about to play a gay rugby player?” Rourke responded: “You're not supposed to say that, okay? Here's the deal. When I met the rugby player, Gareth Thomas, this is one thing that he and I talked about. This is something that's really important. We're doing a movie about a man who plays rugby who is gay.”

“Oh, I see,” Carr replied. “Sorry, I shouldn't be so homophobic.”

“I read the story,” Rourke told Carr. “It's one of the toughest, hardest sports in the world to play. They play with no pads. They play … it's a really brutal sport. To be a man who plays rugby who is gay and to live with that secret for the amount of years that Gareth had, to perform at the high level that he performed at, it takes a lot of courage.”

Thomas, 36, first began talking about his coming out in 2009. In an interview with the UK's Daily Mail, he said he had his first male encounter at the age of 18 and told his teammates he was gay in 2006, shortly after divorcing his childhood sweetheart.