Viggo Mortensen: "What we lack now is a real father"
4 October 2011
"In the family and in society, there are no longer guiding figures with the capacity to reassure. A little like the Freud I play in the film."
This morning Viggo Mortensen got up early and went for a walk. Then he went back to his room and washed his underwear from the previous day. "It's a habit I've had since I was a child," he says. "I was 11 years old when my parents divorced. My mother taught me to wash an undershirt, underpants, socks. And I did the same with my son Henry."
Is Viggo Mortensen a man to marry? Certainly. And thanks to mom, Grace. We are in Venice. The actor has presented David Cronenberg´s film A Dangerous Method in the Venice Film Festival, (in cinemas commencing September 30) in which he plays Sigmund Freud. He has taken his walk between the canals. He´s considered to be engaged to Spanish actress Ariadna Gil, whom he met on the set of Alatriste. Since she got a divorce, they have been caught by a paparazzi kissing in the streets. Only photos, because Mortensen never speaks about his private life, he´s never done so. But he tells you that Madrid is his second home; the first is still a lonely house at the edge of the woods near the Canadian border with the United States.
You said that walking is your way to discover the world. You have also prepared for Freud by walking through the streets of Vienna ...
"I walked again exactly the same streets, saw the same mansions. I sat in the parks along the Rhine where he used to rest. I went into his study. I walked smoking his own brand of cigars. I created 'my' Freud that way."
What´s new, or different about him?
"We're used to the image of the cold and detached professor, with a white beard. Mine, like me, is only a little older than fifty. And I'm not interested in the discourse on sex."
Although it´s central in the film ...
"Sure, but I was always interested in the 'technical' aspects of listening. Twenty years ago, I underwent analysis. It helped me to make peace between my desires and the need for control. I´m a very good listener, but I do not have the scientific detachment of which Freud spoke. I have fallen in love with some women just listening to them talk."
What else is necessary to make you fall in love?
"To respect my space, physical and temporal. I am a loner. In love, listening is the first step. It means opening yourself up to the other. It´s not easy for us males . Repression often derives from the fear of letting others into your life .... However, the one I was interested in was the father Freud."
In what sense?
"He plays father to his disciples, Jung and Sabina Spielrein. It is what is missing today. We live in a world without reference figures, not only on a personal and family level, but also social. The kids of the May 15 Movement who occupy the streets of Madrid are asking for someone they can trust, who can be a guide to them, give them hope for a job, of being able to buy a house and create a family. And then on the set, at 53, it often happens that I have to be a father to my colleagues."
Does it make you feel old?
"On the contrary. I look for children, write it down. As a boy, I sold flowers and now I act, take photographs, write poems, paint; I have seen the world. I don´t want all this passion for life to end with me."
Last edited: 5 October 2011 14:42:58