RUGBY league forward Keith Mason has made a film with Hollywood legends Mickey Rourke, Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah as he begins to recover from the stress of his wrongful dismissal from Huddersfield Giants.
The prop, 31, successfully sued his former club last month after they sacked him in October for an inappropriate picture on his Twitter account.
Mason, who was just 12 months into a £95,000 per year four-year contract, won around £167,000 damages at Leeds High Court.
But he admits the ordeal caused great anxiety after he had to accept a vastly reduced salary at Castleford Tigers, almost lost his home and admits to now struggling to fully trust people.
However, he has taken the first steps towards a potential future career by being cast in a movie following the intervention of his friend, the American Oscar-nominated actor Rourke.
“I did it last week with Eric Roberts, Michael Madsen, Mickey Rourke and Daryl Hannah – the blond woman who did the mermaid movie (Splash) – and actually had a speaking part,” revealed Dewsbury-born Mason.
“I’ve not had one little bit experience of acting but the director was quite happy. For a rugby league player I don’t know who’s done that before. I know Adam Fogerty does but he doesn’t do really clever roles, does he? He gets beat up a bit.
“In this I’m a bodyguard but have a few lines in the film. I can’t give too much away but it will be out in cinemas next year and I’m in the first part of the movie.
“Things like that – getting a phone call from Mickey saying he wants me in the film – was nice and a bit of good news after everything that has happened.
“It’s been shot in Vancouver, Amsterdam and a few places over the world but I went down to London for a full day shoot.
“There was only a small crew – just two people – but I met all the stars and some decent people.
“I really enjoyed it and the casting director said there’d have been thousands wanting the role.
“I was very humbled that Mickey gave me the chance. I’m coming to the back end of my career – I reckon I could do another three or four years – but if I got the opportunity to do that type of thing again it’d be pretty hard not to.
“Rugby league players aren’t generally good friends with legends of the acting world which Mickey is so I’m glad of the opportunity. It’s not bad for a lad from a council estate.”
Mason hopes to make his first appearance for Castleford against Warrington Wolves tomorrow since the pressure of that three-day court appearance.
“It’s been a pretty stressful ten months,” conceded the ex-Wales player, who has yet to earn a new contract for next season.
“I wouldn’t really wish it on anyone. The money that was owed is my money anyway – and I didn’t get it all – so it’s not like I won on the lottery.
“I think the system stinks sometimes but justice was served.
“I’d been there (Huddersfield) seven years, have family and kids and they basically just kicked me between the legs and said ‘See you later’.
“The thing that got me through it all was looking at my babies and thinking you’re not only hurting me you’re hurting them too.
“People behind desks who wear ties think they’re powerful people but they’re tin-gods in my eyes. They’re not all that powerful if they can do that to certain people including me but I stayed tough and had a fantastic team behind me.”