The Road


Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.

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Richard Gere expressed interest in the lead role, but Hillcoat always had Mortensen in mind. The laconic actor seems a natural for the part; he's naturally thin (and even more gaunt in the film itself), and, as "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises" proved, carries the fearless determination necessary to escape most predicaments.

Director John Hillcoat and colleagues, in adapting the Pulitzer-winning work, have toiled to weigh hopelessness against faith.
By John Horn, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 17, 2008

The man is played by Viggo Mortensen, and he's in virtually every frame. "The interesting thing about picking an actor for a movie is, you want to try to surpass the audience's knowledge or expectations of what that actor's about," Hillcoat says. "We took a shot with Viggo as opposed to bigger box-office stars. In large part, he's the right choice because, as good as he is, he's still untapped."

The Road Is the Most Important Movie of the Year
By Tom Chiarella
Esquire Magazine
12 May 2009

"I was trying to think of an everyman, yet someone you could really buy as credible in making that journey," Hillcoat said. "Actors come with baggage, as well. Sometimes that baggage can help, like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. His baggage was part of the performance. With Viggo, there's something slightly elusive about him, and he has quite a wide range, and yet, also, there's this real physicality about him. And there's this tenderness.

"And his face also reminded me of Grapes of Wrath, the Dorothea Lange photos of the Great Depression, Midwest people struggling with the collapse of the environment and the economy."

On The Road with Viggo and Kodi:
By Jay Stone
18 November 2009

Before accepting the role, he was coming out of two solid years of non-stop intense work and had sworn to take a rest. He had arranged a series of exhibitions of his photography, but as soon as Hillcoat got him to read the script of The Road, he understood that he could not refuse the role.

Première Magazine
By Gérard Delorme
June 2008
Translated by Chrissiejane

Mortensen felt drained after reading both the book and script in the same day. "Yeah, I was worthless that day," admitted Mortensen. "I was at my mother's house, actually, visiting her and she said, 'So, what do you want to do for dinner?' 'Dinner?' I said, 'How can I eat now?'"

Viggo Mortensen Talks About 'The Road'
Rebecca Murray
23 November 2009

"A lot of times I take on roles because they scare me." That, he explained, was what brought him to The Road. Viggo had read the book and was afraid. Afraid of a role he thought might be the most physically and emotionally demanding performance of his career. Think Christian Bale's Machinist thrown onto the set of Children of Men.
AFI Fest: Viggo and The Road

The Bloggomist: The Local Boy
Evil Monito Magazine
17 November 2009

I got the role and was in the middle of shooting "Appaloosa" and at the same time, somehow promoting on evenings and weekends "Eastern Promises" and then surprisingly being nominated for awards and also having to travel to places. The day before we started shooting, I was at the Oscars, you know? Which is why I had that beard. It was kind of stressful. But that stress put me at a fragile place to begin with which probably helped me, just take that leap that I was going to have to take one way or another.

It's really about the here and now
By Gina Piccalo
Access Atlanta
26 November 2009

Is it true that you almost turned down The Road?

Yes, I was very tired, and I did not want to accept the role unless I felt I was capable of giving it my best. But then I changed my mind because the story was really good and the topic is one everybody can relate to. Besides, my being exhausted fit the role perfectly. It is about a man who, in some sense, is dying of exhaustion, so the result was very interesting.

Viggo Mortensen Under The Spotlight
Selecciones Magazine
March 2009
Translated for V-W by Graciela

Luckily for Smit-McPhee, one of our greatest actors shares every scene with him. Viggo Mortensen is perfectly cast. Was anyone even surprised when he was announced as The Man? It's a challenging role for any actor, but one can't help but see it as something as a culmination of the excellent work he's been doing since appearing in that little fantasy film a few years ago.

Brian Kinsley
September 2nd, 2008

Last edited: 17 February 2010 14:07:06