Q&A: Viggo Mortensen

Source: The Guardian

Viggo Mortensen, 51, was born in New York to an American mother and a Danish father. He made his feature film debut in Peter Weir's Witness and went on to appear in Carlito's Way, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, A History Of Violence and Eastern Promises, for which he was Oscar-nominated in 2008. His latest film, The Road, an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy book, opens on Friday. He is divorced with one son, and lives in Idaho.

© 2929/Dimension Films.
When were you happiest?

Right now. The past has gone.

What is your greatest fear?

The next thing I ought to do. With few exceptions, one ought always do what one is afraid of.

What is your earliest memory?

Lying in my mother's lap and looking up at her face. I think we were in a car. I was one and a half, two, maybe. My next memory is also in a car, and I was standing behind my dad. I remember getting sick and throwing up down the back of my dad's shirt. He remembers it well.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?

My son, Henry, because he is kind, which I think is the highest wisdom.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Occasionally being mistrustful of others.

What is your most unappealing habit?

It's hard to pick one!

What is your favourite smell?

To truthfully answer at this time, I'd have to reveal something that is too intimate to reveal.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?


What is the worst job you've done?

In a factory in Denmark when I was 20. All day long I had to punch a single hole in the centre of a square piece of metal.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?

My body - we all do things we shouldn't.

What is the love of your life?

This world.

Which living person do you most despise?

I don't think it solves anything to despise.

Which phrases do you most overuse?

"Let me think about it."

What has been your biggest disappointment?

That Barack Obama seems to be more concerned with becoming re-elected than with doing his very best to fulfil the promise of his candidacy.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

To the first Viking ship to land in North America.

When did you last cry, and why?

Last night, because of a beautiful thing someone told me on the phone.

How do you relax?

I go for a walk, play the piano or take a long bath.

What is the closest you've come to death?

Quite a few times in cars, in water, on horseback and on motorcycles.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

Not dying.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Understanding that my parents are not gods, and that I'm not one, either.

What keeps you awake at night?

Yesterday and tomorrow, but I eventually fall asleep because neither exists.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

It doesn't really matter.

How would you like to be remembered?

That doesn't really matter, either.
Last edited: 4 January 2010 14:50:33
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