Interviews 2004

Viggo Mortensen

Source: Total Film magazine

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The man inside Aragorn's armour talks battles, bloodshed and finishing the biggest trilogy in film history. All hail to The King...

Has it sunk in that The Lord Of The Rings is now, finally, over?

In some ways, I suppose. Just like it is for the characters and the story. But in other ways it's not over. I have made friendships for life with these people, with Peter Jackson and everyone else.

Did you have trouble saying goodbye to the character of Aragorn, then?

Some people say, 'Oh, I didn't have any problem shedding this character,' as if it were the thing to do - to get rid of it. Life is short and we're all gonna end up senile. Why make an effort to forget something that has been important in your life? Yes, I won't be dressing up as Aragorn and running into battle any more but, in my mind, I will keep going into battle about the things I've learned. The story reminds you that it's important to examine yourself, that it's healthy to have a little bit of doubt, to know that what you do and what you say has an effect on others. That group ethos will stay with me.

Is it difficult making a fantasy film seem real?

The intention that Peter had was not to be ashamed of having real emotions. It was a long haul and you can see that in people's faces. There are many heroes, but all of them are imperfect. All of them have flaws and doubts. It makes it more accessible to people that you have dragons and elves and trolls and ridiculous things, really. You buy into it because it means something to you. You are moved when an army of elves comes to the rocky recesses of Helm's Deep.

Tell us about The Paths Of The Dead sequence...

I'm looking forward to seeing the shot put together. It reminded me of certain places in the Sahara Desert that are forbidding. It's a psychological challenge for Aragorn because he's going to a place where nobody has ever come out alive and supposedly only the rightful heir to the kingdom of Gondor has a possibility of entering and surviving.

How exactly does Aragorn change in The Return Of The King?

Starting with Helm's Deep and increasingly in the third part of the story he's expected to take more of a public leadership role. The tricky thing about being a leader is that people are not gonna necessarily follow you into battle unless they believe in you. You can't fake that. At the Black Gates, I'm not only asking the whole army of Rohan and Gondor to put aside their differences and fight together for one thing, but also to die for the cause.

What makes the battle sequences in The Return Of The King stand out from the ones in The Two Towers?

Apart from the fact that you have super trolls that don't turn into stone during the daytime like the other ones, apart from the fact that you have super orcs... Apart from all this, there's just that much more at stake. Helm's Deep was for a part of Middle-earth. This final battle is it for Middle-earth. It's all or nothing.

Were those battle sequences harder to shoot?

Yes, because I had to wear armour and chain skirts and the horse made it harder, too. The sword is heavy when you're riding a horse holding it. But it shouldn't be like Errol Flynn, it should be hard and look hard.

Every actor was given something as a souvenir - what did you get?

They gave me my steel sword. It's really worn, and has lots of dents and nicks from striking walls and trees and other weapons...
Last edited: 19 February 2005 14:44:59
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