Viggo's Freudian Slip
5 February 2012
One of the strangest interviews I've ever conducted happened last week when I met Viggo Mortensen in Sigmund Freud's study in London. Viggo, of course, plays Freud in David Cronenberg's crisp new film A Dangerous Method, and the actor immersed himself in Freud for three months before filming. He'd visited the Freud museum in Hampstead before, but for the purposes of our interview we were allowed behind the velvet ropes and into Freud's study, right next to the famous couch. Viggo was clearly unsettled by such close contact with Freud's personal artefacts, and affected some shivers of recognition as he pored over Freud's notebook which sits on his desk, a pair of fold-up pince-nez placed neatly beside it.
"Ah, I did pretty well then," nodded Viggo, who'd trained himself to copy the great man's actual handwriting. As I tried to interview him, Viggo kept jumping up and scanning Freud's books. "Ah, Shakespeare," he'd say. "Freud loved Lady Macbeth. Of course, Stefan Zweig. They met regularly."
The big moment came, however, when Viggo gingerly felt his way towards the couch. As he gently touched it, a PR rushed in: "You can't lie on that, sorry." Viggo was crestfallen. The PR lady continued: "Not even David Cronenberg was allowed on there." That seemed to satisfy Viggo for a moment and he reverted to examining the ancient carved artefacts and sex objects that lie around the study. The room is clearly immaculately recreated in Cronenberg's film, where Viggo's Freud conducts long conversations with Michael Fassbender's Carl Jung.
"Do any of these objects seem familiar from the film?" I asked. "Oh yeah," said Viggo, grinning. "The penises, we had a lot of those on set."
Last edited: 27 February 2012 05:22:52