Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films.
The film The Road, faithfully based on the post-apocalyptic novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer prize winner, extends an invitation "to appreciate life," according to its main character, Viggo Mortensen. The film, which opens in the U.S. tomorrow, follows the journey of a father and his son over several months through a world destroyed by a cataclysm that has put an end to almost all civilization and almost all forms of life on the face of the earth.
"When I saw the film for the first time, it touched me," confessed the American actor in a brief meeting in Los Angeles with Spanish media, among them EFE. "It made me sad, but ultimately, it leaves you with a trace of strange joy or happiness. It makes you appreciate what you have and see life in a different way," he added.
Mortensen mentioned that he had doubts at the time he took on the role, and was afraid the film would show too much "suffering" and not please the audience. "I was afraid about how to express those emotions in an honest way, but I didn't know if it would turn into in a boring or flat movie. People go to the movies to have a good time and enjoy themselves, but I made the decision because a lot of things happen here and I believe it makes the viewer think," he declared.
The star of the The Lord of the Rings saga has waited more than a year for the premiere of this movie, which was initially supposed to arrive in theaters in November of 2008, but he believes that the wait was worth it and that it could be among the candidates for the Oscar as 'best picture.'
"It's an interactive film," he maintained. "You're involved and you're affected. You may like it more or less, but it affects you in some way, unless you are someone terribly cold or closed. It touches your heart. It's believable. For me it was a powerful journey," he explained.
About the possibility of his name appearing among the nominees for the Hollywood Academy's golden statuette, he stated, "I don't know if I will be, but I believe that The Road can be among the candidates for best picture. It's a unique film; it needs to be taken care of. The promotion and the money invested produce that result. A possible nomination would make it reach more people. But I believe it will be remembered and that in 10, 20, 30 years it will continue to be rented and studied."
Directed by John Hillcoat, the movie relies on the cinematography of the Spaniard Javier Aguirresarobe, making his professional debut in Hollywood, whose work Mortensen praised constantly. "Javier deserves the Oscar," the actor noted. "His work was phenomenal. I am a photographer and I enjoyed watching him. His way of doing things is old school; it doesn't call attention to itself. He may not be rewarded for that, but he is able to achieve credibility with the light of a candle or a lighter," he added.
The actor, relaxed, speaking in Spanish and barefoot, recalled the difficult conditions that the film crew endured due to the weather in states like Pennsylvania or Louisiana. "We had shit weather every day," the actor said, laughing. "Everything was filmed in destroyed landscapes, with gray skies and natural light. It was cold, everything was soaking wet, snowing, raining...it was terrible, but we were happy because that way we could keep filming," he continued.
He also mentioned the luck that the film crew had in finding the young co-star, the Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee. "We got a genius. I admire him immensely," says Mortensen, who remembered the great relationship that he developed with the young actor. "We taught him things in Spanish and he spoke like any other Argentinean. He was like a parrot. On one very long walk, he started to say that he'd like a 'choripan'," - a sausage sandwich - recalled the actor with a big grin.
Mortensen also referred to the recent tribute to his professional career, received as part of the Film Festival of the American Film Institute. "It was strange, a little uncomfortable," he confessed. "I asked them if I had to retire now, because I hadn't planned to immediately. I think I haven't done all that much work. I try to improve with each role and I continue to advance and evolve," said the actor, who is not in the habit of seeing his own movies.
"In general I don't usually watch television; I do other things. Soccer, yes, but also on the computer. Sometimes if I run across one of my very old movies I do watch it to remember what happened. But I see some things that embarrass me," he admitted.
But he will not be embarrassed to take the stage in Madrid in February in Purgatorio, a play for two actors by the Chilean author Ariel Dorfman, which Viggo will perform with Emma Suárez. "I like to be scared shitless live on stage," Mortensen says, who concluded his chat by mentioning his grand passion: "See? I didn't say anything about San Lorenzo," referring to the Argentine soccer team.