The convergence of life and art that has brought The Wrestler to the brink of an Oscar win took a dark turn when the actor who plays Mickey Rourke’s steroid dealer was charged with being the real thing.
Scott Siegel, 34, appeared in court after Drug Enforcement Agency officials allegedly found 1,500 bottles labelled as anabolic steroids and tens of thousands of dollars in cash at his home on the outskirts of New York.
Court papers said Siegel had been arrested on Wednesday after a late-night car chase. Prosecutors claim he smashed through a fence, rammed five cars “apparently intentionally,” and drove at a police officer “in an apparent attempt to run him over”. He was caught after fleeing on foot.
On Thursday, he was charged with several counts of drug dealing and assault and remanded in custody pending a court appearance in March. If convicted, Siegel, who has a previous conviction for distributing narcotics, faces up to 20 years in jail.
In The Wrestler, Rourke – whose acting career was deep in the doldrums at the time of filming – plays a washed-up wrestler called Randy “The Ram” Robinson.
Many of the film’s characters are real-life figures from America’s small-town professional wrestling circuit who were asked by the director, Darren Aronofsky, to perform cameos in order to keep the production within its $7m (£4.9m) budget.
Siegel is a semi-professional body-builder who got his small role in the film after several of the wrestlers who feature in it put him forward.
His lawyer, Peter Tilem, said his client was yet to enter a plea to the charges.
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