Viggo on Aragorn

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Viggo on Aragorn

'An orphan raised by elves. A little like Moses. He knows the best and bravest of his forefathers screwed up. They were not immune to the corrupting temptations of the ring. So why should he, a distant and diluted descendant of a noble line, fare any better? He becomes a master of disguise and assumes different names, living a nomadic, hit-and-run existence. Like the Lone Ranger, he helps people and disappears. The Shire is protected by people like him, who patrol the borders and keep the bad guys at bay.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Washington Times
Dec 15, 2001




"I don't think Aragorn is naturally prone to fighting in the same sense that maybe Boromir was in the first story or Eomer is in this. He isn't, by nature, warlike.

The Elvish name his mother gives him at birth is Estel, which means hope. I think he basically has a sunny disposition, but it has been dampened over the years by what he has seen in the world. He is a skilled fighter who has taken on the fighting styles of the different places he has lived and fought in, but it's by virtue of necessity that he does it."

Viggo Mortensen
Aragorn Explains the Whole Good-Evil Thing
By A. J.
E! Features
15 December 2002




"Except as a child, he's never really ever been truly able to be himself publicly, or even privately - how would he even get used to that? When you get into that or any other habit, there's a resistance to or fear of changing; it's not a comfortable notion. To suddenly come out of the closet and say, "This is who I am" - to no longer operate in hiding and keep leaving the scene like the Lone Ranger, to stand in one place undisguised and let others have access to you - is in some ways more frightening than fighting any army. That inner conflict is an interesting thing to portray. It's not always something that's written, or can be fully written."

Viggo Mortensen on Aragorn
The Man Who Would be King
By Scott Thill
Salon.com, 2003




"...he has this burden because he understands what happened in the past, how his forefathers, even the nobles and the bravest of them, screwed up and succumbed to the temptation of the ring and you know, he feels, almost I think, why should he do any better than them."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo's Big Time: Viggo Mortensen on Home, Hollywood and Hobbits.
By Robin Lynch
Air New Zealand magazine
December 2002




"Despite his vast knowledge of the world, Aragorn always considers himself fallible. It is his internal conflicts that make him evolve."

Viggo Mortensen
A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
By Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine
December 2003




BE: Would you say that that the character's doubt is the most important thing that you've brought to this role, that someone else would not necessarily have brought?

VM: I don't know. I would think that anybody who read the book, thought about the character, would realize that and I think certainly Peter was probably aware of that. You have to find a character's strengths and weaknesses if you want to make him or her well-rounded.

Veni, Vidi, Viggo
by Bilge Ebiri
Yahoo Internet Life magazine, 2001




"To suddenly come out of the closet and say, "This is who I am" - to no longer operate in hiding and keep leaving the scene like the Lone Ranger, to stand in one place undisguised and let others have access to you - is in some ways more frightening than fighting any army. That inner conflict is an interesting thing to portray. It's not always something that's written, or can be fully written."

Viggo Mortensen on Aragorn
The Man Who Would be King
By Scott Thill
Salon.com, 2003




"All the heroic characters in this story have faults, or if not faults, moments of doubt.

I think it should almost be a requirement that leaders in our world have self-doubt, that they display a certain hesitation in certain situations."

Viggo Mortensen
A Sense of Finality
By Markus Tschiedert
Green Cine
17 December 2003




"What people like Boromir and others initially saw as defects and weakness in Aragorn," says Mortensen, "prove to be his greatest strength. In other words his hesitation, his self-doubt, those really are his strengths because they have to do with compassion, they have to do with him considering whether he has a right to act."

Viggo Mortensen
A Man Apart
By Ingrid Randoja
Famous
December 2003




'In many ways I realized no matter how much I researched and drew from that, in the end my best resource and closest thing to what we were going through as characters was what we were going through as people."

Viggo Mortensen
Good Fellow
by Jamie Painter Young
Backstage West
5 January 2004




"I hope you feel to some degree Aragorn's sense of hesitation. On a practical level as an actor, that was already with me when I arrived in New Zealand. I had read enough on the plane to see that the character had misgivings about the burden of the undertaking. He feels the weight of other people's expectations; it's one thing for someone to tell you that you're capable but it's quite another for you to know it yourself. I felt that in Aragorn, and I felt it too as an actor: 'You've hired me 'cos you think I can do it but privately I'm not sure'."

Viggo Mortensen: A Method Actor in Middle-Earth
By Ryan Gilbey
The Independent
14 December 2001




On one level, Aragorn is the heroic, archetype that you find in the [Nordic] sagas, but with the striking difference that he is a man who seems almost to have lost his tongue! In the sagas, the hero will brag about what he's going to do, do it and then brag about what he's done. Aragorn, in contrast, is a modern character with qualities more like those of the Samurai hero who must often learn difficult lessons and endure much hardship on his journey, and whose eventual triumph is usually as much in the service of society as it is for himself.

Viggo Mortensen
"Aspects of Aragorn"
The Making of the Movie Trilogy




'So much of what I did in all three movies was non-verbal. How you get to know Aragorn is really through his gestures and reactions, much more than say, Gandalf or Frodo, who are both much more verbal.'

Viggo Mortensen
Hail To The King
by Lawrence French
Starburst #305, 2003




Aragorn is deeply aware of the burden of his heritage, and he carries the knowledge that all too soon he will have to reveal his true self in order to play his part in the fight against Sauron. That burden, that knowledge, is what shapes and colors his perceptions.

Viggo Mortensen
Official Movie Guide




"He was the greatest traveller and huntsman of his age," Mortensen says about his quiet, stoic role. "There is no character in this story, in these books, that has travelled more extensively and had more contact with other cultures, races, languages, and an appreciation and understanding of the differences of all the free peoples of Middle-earth. . . . He has an understanding that the most precious thing that any intelligent being possesses is free choice."

Viggo Mortensen
Playing the Hero Suits Mortensen Fine
Philadelphia Enquirer, 2002




"He's well suited to be a leader, in part because of his interest in different cultures, his extensive travels throughout Middle Earth. He's always looking for what he has in common with other people. He is inclined to be compassionate, show mercy; that's the way he was raised, what he's been taught. And he's conscious of these having been the most positive qualities of the greatest of his ancestors. At the same time, he also knows that even they eventually showed weakness and were distracted by their own concerns or greed."

Viggo Mortensen on Aragorn
The Man Who Would be King
By Scott Thill
Salon.com, 2003




You sense that what Mortensen prizes in Aragorn, he prizes in himself. When he tells me that Aragorn understands the value of "stretching yourself, being passionate about other cultures and languages", I discern only the thinnest of veils separating observation from autobiography.

Viggo Mortensen: A Method Actor in Middle-Earth
by Ryan Gilbey
The Independent.uk, 2001




Besides a case of insecurity, how does Aragorn view becoming king?

At the beginning of The Lord of the Rings, Elrond tells Aragorn it is his destiny to do this and Aragorn, not even looking at him while he's at his mother's grave, says "I do not want that power. I've never wanted it." There's no question about his head about being in the right place concerning his companions and Middle-earth. For 70 years, he's been helping others, so it's not a question of bravery. He just feels insecure and resentful about this imposition of his birthright. It's an interesting aspect of the book that deals with destiny, fate and free will being so important. It's an interesting contrast.

Viggo Mortensen
The One King
By Bryan Cairns
Film Review Yearbook, 2004




Considering two thirds of this epic adventure is over, how are the stakes raised for Aragorn in The Return of the King?

It's a continuation of what has always been his greatest challenge: to be himself. Starting with Helm's Deep and throughout The Return of the King, Aragorn will no longer have the luxury of acting for others and walking away. He is now Aragorn for all to know and judge. He's under pressure to be a public leader and not the lone ranger type. You see when he makes strategy decisions, and asks others to follow him, it is on his head. It's not just him and his horse going to the Black Gates, basically to commit suicide in order to buy Frodo more time. He's convinced armies and friends to fight together. He doesn't order anyone to do anything.

Viggo Mortensen
The One King
By Bryan Cairns
Film Review Yearbook, 2004




...there's a sense that pieces of Aragorn always will cling to the actor. As he says, "Aragorn is a work in progress, as we all are in an endless tale." The same could be said of Mortensen. And his story is destined to continue.

Viggo Mortensen
It's Good to be "King"
By Susan Wloszczyna
16 December 2003
USA Today

Last edited: 22 February 2010 11:36:28