Film and Play Reviews 2011

Where I said Viggo (Mortensen), I say Diego (Alatriste)


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© Teatro Español.
How great is Viggo Mortensen?! A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to see him in the theatre, at El Matadero in Madrid, where he carried it off face to face with Carmen Elías. I had a feeling that Mortensen would have a tough time, because I'd seen Elías many times on stage and she is a real beast. I thought she was going to eat his lunch!

The fact is that Mortensen on film is very good; it's his thing. But let's not kid ourselves...the theatre is another world. It's very difficult. I think that I went because I'd already seen almost all the other shows on right now. But the man holds his own quite well. His propensity for raising his hand as if he were going to thrust a sword at someone, Aragorn style, makes me a little nervous, but otherwise, he does an excellent job.

These two monsters are the leading characters in Purgatorio, the terrifying play by Ariel Dorfman - he of the no less disturbing Death and the Maiden - which deals with the same theme, the difficulty of forgiving one's attacker. It looks like Mortensen has developed a taste for psychoanalysis, since he's played Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method, which opens today, and in this 'Freudian' staging, he plays (at least apparently, at first) a doctor who is treating a woman who's been committed to what seems to be a mental institution after having committed an atrocity. Until December 18...

But what really interests me is Mortensen's human dimension. What a great guy! I could tell you more than one fantastic anecdote, but I'll limit myself to recalling what was recently told to me. A really nice box-office clerk (I'm not naming names) at a downtown Madrid theater discovers that Viggo Mortensen, whose girlfriend, a famous Spanish film star, was acting in a version (very poor, to be sure) of a famous play which was playing right there, has come to buy a ticket.

Quite possibly, Mortensen could have asked his partner for an invitation and that would have been that. Instead, he insisted on paying like any regular guy. The box-office clerk recognised him, and smiling, gave him a guest ticket. "How much do I owe you?" said Mortensen in his cheerful Argentinian accent. "No, no, nothing, you are invited," answered the box-office clerk. The Hollywood star thanks her cordially, goes, and ten minutes later returns with an ice cream for the box-office clerk! He insisted that she should take it, although she said she was on a diet, so he sweetened her afternoon. Anyway, when I grow up, I want to be Viggo Mortensen.

I´m sorry I divulged this publicly. But the one who told me is to blame. Be careful of what you say to someone who blogs!
Last edited: 1 December 2011 11:05:53
© Juan Luis Sánchez/