Red Rocket’s Simon Rex on his long, bizarre journey through fame
Baker had sketched out the idea of Red rocket years ago and was pursuing other projects, but with the pandemic filming was actually doable. He didn’t want an A-lister, although some famous actors would have wanted the role of Mikey. “There were other people being considered, names being thrown out. I have short term memory loss and I smoke a lot of weed, so it was my wife, Samantha, who said to me, “Simon, Hello? ‘”
Rex checked in for the audition and Baker called him to ask if he could get to Texas in three days so he wouldn’t have to quarantine himself. Rex deleted social media from his phone and showed up with all of his long monologues memorized. “I showed him videos of men who look like Mikey – I had researched the world of adult cinema. I said, “Don’t pretend you are, but you got it.” (Baker thinks Rex has the lineup: “He could bring the funny like Ryan Reynolds, the physicality of Mark Wahlberg, do Bradley Cooper.”)
Mikey’s character wasn’t the one Rex had to dig particularly to find. “I’m with actors in LA all the time, and there are only people who think they’re going to be a big star someday, and they’re just delusional. And they’re exhausting, ”Rex says. The secret was to get the audience to root for Mikey by playing him a little likable, a little childish, a little charming, a little wacky. “It was important to make the public feel conflicted over why they are sort of rooting for this horrible guy, who is basically a low level pimp, drug dealer, user.”
I ask if he thought Mikey voted for Trump. “I don’t think he voted,” Rex said. Do you think he is getting vaccinated? “I think so, because if you think about it, I imagine in the porn industry they’re vaxxed. They must be vaxxed. And if not, he would get a fake vaccination record.
That’s what he tried to embody. But that’s the problem: he still plays those characters, maybe so people think they’re just him. “I couldn’t be more opposed in real life than someone like Mikey. I’m the guy who, I’m really aware of being loud on my phone or hogging the aisle of a plane. I’m neurotic. He said. When he was Dirt Nasty he had a song called “1980”, with a hook that said “I take cocaine” and people were throwing bags of coke at his feet on stage, like he was a ballerina showering with roses.
“They believed this Dirt Nasty character was real, and they couldn’t separate the fact that I was doing a character. And they really thought I would love Coke. I hate Coke. He had been to all those Al meetings. -Anon growing up, and he had the idea that alcohol and cocaine didn’t do any good.
“I guess I did it myself. I created these characters and asked for them, ”Rex explains. Maybe he’s just too convincing. “But people don’t really know who I am. I’ve released so many characters and silly things over the years that I always want to reinvent myself. So now, who is his character, serious actor? Rex smiles. “Indie darling. “
Photographs by Evan Angelastro
Stylized by Dolly pratt
Grooming by Melissa DeZarate