Marisa Tomei: Serious Stripper

How dedicated is Marisa Tomei to the craft of acting?

To prepare for her role in the critically acclaimed new Mickey Rourke vehicle The Wrestler—in which Tomei plays oft-topless stripper Cassidy—she befriended a bunch of real-life peelers to help her hone the performance.

“I talked to a bunch of different girls and a bunch of different dancers. We just went out, had some drinks, went to a bunch of clubs, watched a lot of dances, got some dances,” the 44-year-old reveals, according to People magazine. “It’s like anything, any subculture. You get in there, and it’s all individuals. And the dancing itself is not tawdry to the dancer and there’s a lot more complexity there than you’d think.”

Which isn’t to say that the role didn’t present certain challenges to Tomei.

“The script called for certain points where [Rourke’s character] has to put money in my G-string, so I definitely had to be wearing a G-string—I couldn’t be wearing boy shorts,” says Tomei, who won an Oscar for her performance in 1992’s My Cousin Vinnie. “And I didn’t really want to be topless in every single dance number…but there were certain things called for in the plot, and then I wanted to feel comfortable as her and I wanted it to be flattering.”

Tomei probably didn’t need to be so self-conscious about the whole thing. Stuffing dollar bills into strippers’ G-strings appears to be standard operating procedure for Mickey Rourke.