Mortensen: "Courage? It is doing your duty"
17 October 2006
Today is the day when Viggo Mortensen, Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings saga, Tom Stall, hero with a dark past in A History of Violence by David Cronenberg, and the brave Spanish soldier who becomes a mercenary in Alatriste, presents the movie by Agustin Diaz Yanes in the premiere section at the Rome Film Festival.
A man with thousands of interests, Mortensen was born in 1958 in Manhattan from a Danish father and an American mother, and has spent part of his life in Venezuela, Argentina and Denmark; besides being an actor, he is also a poet, photographer, painter and musician.
In Alatriste, the big budget Spanish movie by Agustin Diaz Yanes with Ariadna Gil, Eduardo Noriega and the Italian actor Enrico Lo Verso (Malatesta), they tell the many adventures of the brave Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio.
The movie is based on the five popular novels by Arturo Perez-Revérte, it is more than two hours long and it is set in the Spain of the 17th century, among bloody wars and the Inquisition.
Alatriste is only a soldier of the Spanish Tercios, who is asked to bring up the son of a comrade who has died on the battlefield.
He is a mercenary with his own sense of honour and friendship: valiant fighter in the bloody war against the heretics from Flanders before, and, in the end, able to become even a pitiless hired killer, just to survive.
"I'm proud of this very beautiful movie," Mortensen starts talking in good Italian during the press conference, "and I'm also proud to represent the Spanish cinema. The director has really made a classic movie, which has also made money."
The actor, who has a son going to the college, doesn't know the right formula for being a good father: "the relationship with children is a sort of adventure which you can hardly foresee. You can make many mistakes, so you can only be a good example by behaving in the right way in the everyday life.''
Although he is a leading man who is able to act in violent ways in many movies, he admits: "I'm not a violent man at all."
But about the difference between the wars in the past and the ones at the present time his mind is clear: ''The soldiers like Alatriste sure didn't fight only for their king or for their country. Sometimes the reason for their pride in war was because of their friendship with their comrades.
"Today the wars like the ones in Afghanistan or in Iraq are different. The soldiers are well-informed about what's going on, they are given leave to come back home, they know what is behind each war. But I think that even to them, who are surely better informed," explains Mortensen, "the feelings of friendship which bond them to their comrades, still prevail, above the love of their country."
The actor then shows a real passion for his football team, the San Lorenzo de Almagro from Buenos Aires. He takes out from a bag the blue-red flag of his team and remembers how this team was founded by an Italian priest in 1908 (Don Lorenzo Massa).
His many artistic passions are only the result of "a curiosity towards the world", while about what is heroism to him, he says: "It's simple, it's only the courage to do your duty in ordinary life."
Finally, in the near future for Mortensen there is another movie with Cronenberg (Eastern Promises) where he'll portray a chief of the Russian mafia. And to the ones who asked him, with irony, if he had chosen it because he knows how to speak Russian (the actor already speaks very good Spanish, as well as Italian and of course English) he answered with modesty: "Yes, I know a little bit".
Last edited: 28 November 2006 15:48:21