The Return of Viggo, Knight Forever (More or Less)
Mortensen, who played Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, now plays the mercenary Alatriste. But he says: "My next movie will be a very unique thriller: David Cronenberg directs it."
With Lord of the Rings he drove teenagers crazy, even though he was over 40. With History of Violence he conquered nearly everybody. Viggo Mortensen doesn't stop though: he went to Spain to shoot The Destiny of a Warrior - Alatriste, the history of a mercenary soldier who lives an epic adventure across the Europe.
We met him and we can agree with the above mentioned teenagers.
After the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you are playing an action character again. Aren't you afraid of repeating yourself?
I don't think so. They are very different characters.
Diego Alatriste is not a king's son, as Aragorn was, so his destiny is not a pure knight's destiny. For him the war is a job, the only job he could learn when he was a boy.
He isn't brutal, though. He goes through moments of fear, doubt, melancholy. He becomes friends with the great artists of the time, and with the soldiers and illiterates as well. His journey is not an ordinary human journey.
Is it similar to your journeys?
If we're speaking about geography, yes. I travelled a lot during my childhood, and I don't know if that is the reason which drove me to do this job, or it's only a kind of experience which makes it more endurable to move so frequently.
My son Henry lives in Los Angeles (with his mother, the singer Exene Cervenka, whom Mortensen divorced in '98, editor's note) and in the last 15 years, his school years, Los Angeles was the town I spent most time in.
Today though, I hardly keep myself still in a single place, but to me travelling means to come back to where I have already been, to retrace familiar paths, to see the changes. I feel a strong "nostalgia" for the places and the feelings of the past.
Which country, for instance?
I spent my life in Argentina until I was 11. Twenty years had passed before I went back to Buenos Aires.
I walked across the town, but I realized that my memories were all on a kid size: the park where I played soccer looked huge to me, but then I could see it was very small, ...how sad.
Walking through our old quarter, I thought I had recognized my home. There was something off-key, though. I approached a man and asked him: "Is this building new?" and he replied: "No, it has been here for twenty years..."
Is losing yourself a nice feeling?
Very nice. A privilege. Having time to play around.... Oh my God, what am I saying? Please, let me shut up.
What can you say about your latest movie?
After History of Violence, I've worked with David Cronenberg again: we shot Eastern Promises. You are going to see it in the fall.
It is set in London and talks about the trafficking of women from the eastern countries. I play a Russian, an ambiguous man, but I don't want to spoil it for you: it is a thriller, but it's a Cronenberg thriller, which means it is not conventional.
I had to read up, to go to Moscow, to meet some emigrants. Some colleagues are satisfied playing always the same character, with few alterations. For me it doesn't work that way though.
Do you need to change?
Everything, if it's possible.
Last edited: 11 July 2007 06:35:39