Watch Now: BARFLY
It was 1987 when the film world first met a character by the name of Henry Chinaski, a loner alcoholic and short story writer based on legendary novelist and poet Charles Bukowski. The man himself wrote this autobiographical screenplay, after receiving a commission for it from French filmmaker Barbet Schroeder. It took the original barfly three years to finalize the final draft, after which he had just one wish pertaining to the movie—that his alter ego Henry be played by Sean Penn. Then of course, Sean Penn had one request—that the movie be directed by Dennis Hopper.
Schroeder fought hard to keep himself in the director's chair and finally succeeded, deciding to cast Mickey Rourke as Henry Chinaski. Bukowski did not think that the actor would be able to portray the cinematic version of himself, but later admitted in a press kit letter that Rourke showed respect to the script by staying true to every line of dialogue and adding his unique spark without sacrificing the gist of the character. In Bukowski’s own words: “To add spirit to spirit can be dangerous but not in the hands of a damned good actor. Without distorting, he added, and I was very pleased with the love and understanding he lent to the role of the BARFLY.”