Viggo Mortensen [New York, 1958]. The King Aragorn, the hidalgo Alatriste, the mobster in Eastern Promises... still on The Road and now at Purgatorio´s door, the attractive actor of the thousand faces, the American with an Argentinian veneer, likes cinema, poetry and women with character. A la Medea.
And what is she like? She isn't tall or short, nor blond or dark. Not a profile, nor some lips or hips. "A brave woman," Viggo assures us. "I like determined, courageous women. With clear ideas, that look you in the eye and speak out. Honest women, above all, honest with themselves." Definitely, for Viggo, she is not a body, no. If anything, a poem.
Or was. Because that she who has no name and maybe never will, that unknown, she had to be the complement and the opposite to the actor in the play Purgatorio which should have been staged in Madrid these days.
But the illness of the actor's mother, very serious, has forced him, according to Wide Pictures, the Spanish distributor of The Road, to suspend it all. First, the promotion of this sadly hopeful film about the apocalypse, cold, dark, and closed in on itself, which garnered him so many compliments. And then he had to leave, hurrying back to New York, where he remains.
The premiere, then, of the play, directed by Josep Maria Mestres, has been postponed until who knows when. But the conversation with Viggo Mortensen about the woman with no name took place earlier, in a meeting with the North American actor overflowing with porteño charm in his sweet and melodious Spanish. He arrived with The Road yet to be premiered, and he didn't act in the least like a movie star, far from the image of that Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings which has made him so famous.
He acted instead like an Argentinian poet. It was in Argentina that he spent his childhood and there that, in addition to soccer, he took a liking to books, to poetry, until currently going so far as to have his own publishing house - Perceval Press - where from time to time he publishes his own work, in English and in Spanish.
"Poetry," he says," is a way to look at life from multiple points of view, a feeling of duplication which even gets more intense if you do it in two languages, like I do."
To Viggo, poetry is a way to leave reality behind in order to reach another, purer reality, away from those commonplace moments and the difficult situations for which there's no apparent relief. Poetry, to him, is a way to put the world into perspective. Something similar to what happens in movies, with a film as sad as The Road, in which he stars, and where, despite the destruction, the accumulated pain, the lack of meaning, a light of hope shines at the end of the way, at the end of this dead end road.
And what is she like? "Well, brave, as I already said. Like Medea, determined, and also with something of the sorceress. Although, in the end, she doesn´t kill her children like in the tragedy by Euripides," he jokes. Medea was, in a certain sense, a radical feminist before the feminist movement, whose legend was born some four hundred years before Christ. She is indeed the image of a woman to reckon with in Euripides' tragedy, who kills for the love of Jason, he of the Golden Fleece, that sort of Holy Grail of Greek mythology.
A terrible and, at the same time, sensible Medea who, between one murder and another, can say "Of all that has life and thought, we, the women, are the most unfortunate." Or, later on, "Usually, a woman is full of fear and a coward. But when she sees the rights of her bed harmed, there´s no more murderous mind." Beware of Medea! "She's a woman to admire, yes, but from a distance," Viggo Mortensen concludes.