The Reluctant Star
Image Juilian Broad.
© Vanity Fair 2006.
Viggo Mortensen made a nice first impression when he appeared in Peter Weir's Witness (1985). Five years later he was toiling in the forgettable sequels Young Guns II and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. He worked as a bartender and truck driver to pay the bills. Then came his attention-grabbing work in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991) and Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way (1993). After seven more bumpy years, it was off to New Zealand to play the reluctant monarch Aragorn, a role he took on the advice of his son (by his ex-wife Exene Cervenka, of the L.A. punk band X), Henry. In all three Lord of the Rings movies, Mortensen made an excellent mythic hero, but what about a character more down to earth, someone with less hair and no sword? The answer came with David Cronenberg's riveting A History of Violence (2005), in which he was just right as a mild-mannered midwesterner who's boiling on the inside. When not filming, Mortensen paints, writes, takes pictures, plays music, and runs his own publishing house. He's a Hollywood oddity - artist first, star second.
Last edited: 30 March 2006 12:43:50