Iron Man 2's Mickey Rourke does research in a Moscow prison

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Mickey Rourke—who is expected to play a Russian supervillain called Whiplash in the upcoming Iron Man 2—last week toured Moscow's infamous and overcrowded Butyrka prison to prepare for the role, the Moscow Times newspaper reported.

Rourke, who was in Russia for the premiere of his film The Wrestler, also became the first person in 35 years to don a tsarist torture device called a "slingshot," used to keep prisoners awake.

Butyrka is the main pre-sentencing facility in Moscow; its inmates have included the KGB forerunner's founder Felix Dzerzhinsky, Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn and oligarch and former NTV owner Vladimir Gusinsky.

During his time behind bars, the actor also visited with guards, strolled the grounds and even tested out the prison beds, Access Hollywood reported.

(Thanks to MTV.com for the photo.)