Rings star invigorated by new film Hidalgo
Image Nick McGinnis.
© Toronto Metro.
Viggo Mortensen shot the Lord Of The Rings trilogy about three years ago, so he's ready to talk about something else these days.
"Although I value what I learned from it," he says, "and it allowed me to explore further things that already interested me, like mythology and history ... I value that, but to have to literally be Aragorn, or play Aragorn, or talk about Aragorn - as I have done, a lot - it's nice to be able to move on in some sense."
And so, moving on: the actor arrived in Toronto yesterday to promote his next film, Hidalgo, "an old-fashioned kind of story" set to open next month.
In Hidalgo, Mortensen plays Frank T Hopkins, a dispatch rider who in 1890 was the first American to compete in a gruelling 4,828km horse race across the Arabian desert.
The movie is named for Hopkins' horse, which, as a Mustang, had the honour of being the first mixed-blood animal to participate in the race, and - to hear Mortensen tell it - is at least as important to the picture as the human star.
"The way that the horse is a character," Mortensen says, "that's done subtly, but done really well. There was another movie - I don't mean to be negative about it at all - Seabiscuit, which is also the name of the horse, the main character. And yet, as much as I liked that movie ... I would have liked to have gotten to know the horse a little more as a character. I didn't find I did, really, I mean, I sort of read into it a lot. But in this, you can read in, but you also are helped by the horse itself, and by the way the horse is filmed, and the attention we gave him."
Mortensen's admiration for his equine co-star is as genuine as you can get, by the way; he brought the horse home with him after the movie wrapped.
"Yeah, I mean, we made good friends."
And so, moving on.