"I've always learned from the films I've done, even the bad ones. I've learned how to make a good film, how to manage a shoot, how a good director talks with his team and is open to suggestions."
Mortensen made special mention of Peter Jackson, who gave him his break with the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. "With his intelligence, his energy and problem-solving abilities, he taught his team how to adapt and overcome problems. You can do it if you really want to, there's always a way."
"Two things: You can never prepare too much or too early for a shoot, because more problems will come anyway. It allows you to anticipate." He paused, and added with a smile: "It's not going to be the way you expect it anyway, but you'll be ready for that, too."
Referring to his 2019 Oscar-winning film "Green Book," Mortensen said he had a lot to learn as he had never done this kind of character. The director, Peter Farrelly, simply told him to trust himself.
"For comedy it's the same as drama," said Mortensen. "It's about timing, music. Once we started doing some of the scenes, we had a very good connection with Mahershala (Ali), and I thought: 'If they edit this well, it will work.' The crew was laughing, but you never know. I've seen some shoots where you think it's going well, but it turns out bad. It's very hard to make a good movie."
What kind of film did he want to make?
"I'm very stubborn, I don't like it when a director tells me what I'm supposed to think or what I'm supposed to feel. For my first film, I wanted to make one that I would want to see," he said.
"Independent films tell stories that are more original than big studio productions: the more money is spent on a film, the more investors want to recover their money. So, they make something that has worked before, it's no surprise you keep seeing the same stuff.
"If my film works, it's because it draws you in and you take part in the storytelling. And if it works, the film is not mine, it's in your hands."
"Falling" is out now in Spain and from Nov. 4 across Europe.