Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke are Villains in Iron Man 2?

If you don’t think “Iron Man 2” is going to clean up at the box office, even more so than its predecessor, then you’re out of yer motherlovin’ mind. The anticipation for the sequel is building steadily every since the first movie burst into cinemas, and it’s only grown as more casting rumors and potential storylines began making their way out of Hollywood. The latest from the trades have Sam Rockwell (“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”) and Mickey Rourke (last heard joining Stallone’s “The Expendables”) in negotiations to join the cast as Iron Man’s villains.

Says Variety:

Sam Rockwell also has begun talks to play a villain in the pic, to be distribbed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2010.

Which role Rockwell will play has yet to be disclosed by Marvel, but Rourke is in discussions to play the Crimson Dynamo, a heavily tattooed Russian arms dealer. He’s considered to be an evil version of Iron Man because he battles the superhero in a nuclear-powered suit of armor.

Variety may be clueless about Rockwell’s role, but The Hollywood Reporter isn’t. They also, er, says Rourke won’t be the Crimson Dynamo, but rather someone called … “Whiplash”?

Marvel has been keeping a very tight lid on the script for the sequel, being written by Justin Theroux, but it is known that Rourke would play a tattooed Russian heavy named Ivan who becomes Whiplash, a man with deadly, technologically enhanced coils.

Rockwell would play Justin Hammer, a multibillionaire businessman and a rival of industrialist Anthony Stark, AKA Iron Man, being played by a returning Robert Downey Jr.

I know geeks out there love Sam Rockwell (middle right, next to his comic book counterpart), and I like the guy, but I’m not in love with the guy. As a villain, eh, I guess, why not? He’s a good actor, I suppose. But Rourke as the heavy? Oh hell yeah, bring it on! Chances are, if the casting pans out as reported, Rourke will be the muscle who gets to throw down while Rockwell will play the behind-the-scenes villain. Or something to that affect.

Finally, THR drops this at the end of their article:

Another part — one for Stark’s assistant Natasha — is still open.

Natasha, eh? Natasha Romanov, perhaps? You know, the Black Widow (right), as originally reported to have a major role in the sequel? We shall see.

Justin Theroux (“Tropic Thunder”) is currently writing the script, but no official storyline has been released as yet. Robert Downey Jr. returns as Iron Man, Jon Favreau returns to direct, and Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, too-cool-for-school military dude.

Next up on Mickey Rourke’s list? Remind himself to call Darren Aronofsky every single day and thank him profusely for casting him in “The Wrestler”.

Below: The Crimson Dynamo knows that the only way to make friends is by the power of the nuclear-powered knuckle sandwich.