Viggo Digs Deep To Play An Ordinary Man
7 April 2009
East Torrens Messenger
Image Larry Horricks.
© Good Films.
Viggo Mortensen, one of the world's genuine big screen idols, doesn't take his heroic roles lightly.
The 50-year-old Danish/American always digs beneath the surface of courageous characters compromised by circumstances, even his star-making turn as gallant Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and now he's playing an ordinary man who's anything but heroic.
In Good, based on C.P. Taylor's play, Mortensen plays a literary professor who meekly accepts Naziism in 1930s Germany, eroding his morals by degrees as he deserts family and friends.
"Personally and in society in general it's a good thing to pay attention," Mortensen says.
"When you don't, you turn a blind eye and you make compromises."
He says he was attracted to the role for various reasons, but it was primarily because Good examines Nazi Germany from the point of view of a common man.
"There was some sentimental or superstitious value, in that I'd seen the play in its original production 25 years before doing the movie.
"That aside, I would have wanted to do it anyway because I think it's very different than most movies, pretty much all movies, about that subject or related to the rise of Nazi Germany or the Holocaust.
"It's not really about any extraordinary individuals or extraordinary events, which makes it easier to relate to ourselves in our own times as a cautionary tale. It's much more subtle, it stays with you and nags you for days after."
The Academy Award-nominated actor, who is also a published poet and a musician, simply refuses to play clichéd, gun-toting heroes who use extreme violence to solve problems.
"In Eastern Promises violence is part of his job but in A History of Violence, he has real psychological problems with the violence. I'm glad he does.
"(Playing Aragorn) was fun, but even there I tried to find the things that were in Tolkien where he has moments of doubt and fear, he's just able to overcome that more easily than other people can."
Most importantly, he believes Good has a powerful, relevant message about the erosion of values and morals in society.
"Pay attention. That could be the catch phrase for this movie: Pay attention."
Last edited: 20 April 2009 03:32:36