"Poetry is an art that will never disappear."

Source: El Punt Avui

A multifaceted artist

Image El Punt Avui.
© LL.A. Elisabeth Magre.
Practically everybody knows the facet of Viggo Mortensen as an actor, mainly because of his role as Aragorn in the acclaimed trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings. Mortensen has also worked in films like David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, or Eastern Promises by the same director. The actor has also ventured into other disciplines like poetry, music, photography or painting. Among other things, in 2002 he founded the publishing house Perceval Press which specializes in art.

Viggo Mortensen, the American actor of Danish descent known worldwide for his role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings movies, performed on Saturday in Premià de Dalt under the Escenarts festival. Mortensen, accompanied by pianist Rafel Plana, gave a recital where he went over his poems published under the title Canciones de Invierno.

What brought you to perform in a town like Premiá de Dalt?

We have the honor of being here (Rafel and I) because the town council of Premiá de Dalt invited us. It's a very nice theatre and quite an intimate space. What we're trying to offer in the performance is a conversation with the audience and it's nice to do it in a space like this.

Do you feel comfortable performing in small places?

No, every time I say that I'll do it, I think that it's a terrible mistake. [Laughter] But seriously, I think that it's a good moment to start a three-way conversation and share feelings with the audience.

You're involved in many artistic disciplines. Do you think that poetry is undervalued?

Poetry is an art that will never disappear; it will always exist. They don't pay a poet what they pay Lionel Messi, obviously, but it's never been like that. There are very few exceptions in the history of literature in that sense. There are novelists that are lucky enough to be paid a lot, and not always for work that's very interesting, of course...But poets, as well as writers in general, don't earn much money. Poetry is another way of communicating. What I like is the fact that theatre is different from cinema because you do it live and what happens has to happen, errors included, and there is an immediate connection with the audience. In film or television, you can always resort to editing or do another take. With poetry, it's something more personal.

What inspires you at the moment you write your poems?

The things that most interest me are the everyday things. The normal incidents, the day to day...Everything lies beneath those thoughts. For me, the little things of life are very interesting.

Does it worry you that people only come to see you because of your popularity as an actor?

I don't think about that. [Laughter] I was already doing poetry readings in the 80's, long before I was known as an actor. After The Lord of the Rings, more people came to see me, of course! And if I did a photography exhibition, it would fill with people, when before the trilogy, only six people came.

In which artistic role do you feel most at home?

To me they are all linked. They are a single thing: sharing what one sees, feels and remembers. For example, in my performance I read recent poems or some that I wrote years ago. Every time I read them, they come out in a different way. But I always remember where and how the poem in question came to be.

What has it meant to you to have played the character of Aragorn in the acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy?

Playing Aragorn on the big screen has given me more opportunities. It has allowed me to work with directors who wanted to launch productions with complicated financing, but it's also useful for other things. For instance, they come to see you at the Romea theatre or Premià de Dalt for a poetry reading. If people know you because you've made a movie or because you are a musician, they come to see you. That's just how it is.
Last edited: 19 April 2016 08:02:52