'Warrior' Star Nick Nolte Calls Role 'Cathartic'

 Lionsgate

Nick Nolte waited three years for the chance to make Warrior, the story of two brothers competing in a mixed martial arts tournament.

Nolte plays the fighters' father, Paddy Conlon, a recovering addict struggling to hold on to sobriety while trying to reconnect with his estranged sons.

The part is written specifically for Nolte by director Gavin O'Connor. Nolte and O'Connor had worked together on 2008's Pride and Glory, but Nolte pulled out three weeks before shooting began due to medical reasons, notes the Associated Press.

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O'Connor kept the actor in mind over the years and brought him into the fold for Warrior. Conner tells AP, "I wanted to use him how he's best and hoped the role would remind everyone what he's capable of."

The director also noted in an interview with USA Today that Nolte was "the only one who was going to do this part. I hope this brings him back and gets him recognition as a national treasure."

Nolte acknowledges that staying in a director's graces after dropping out of a project is rare. He told USA Today, "Normally that would end your relationship with a director right there. But he knows me well. And he knows I wasn't the most…stable then."

Nolte, who has had issues with alcohol in his own life, told the paper that he was open to tackling those demons on camera, "Acting can be cathartic, and Gavin and I decided we were going to explore some real issues in my life."

As for his perceived wild ways, including a 2002 arrest for driving under the influence made famous by a wild-haired mug shot, Nolte says Hollywood and the media are masters of fiction, "Hollywood is all made up, anyway. Especially the stories and angles that people want to pin on you."

Warrior is now playing in theaters and stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton.

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