Creating the Character

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© StudioCanal.
All these characters have their secret desires and resentments, and their own sense of morality. - Viggo Mortensen

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Creating the Character

After Viggo Mortensen committed to playing Chester MacFarland, Amini slightly tweaked his conception of the character. "Viggo looks heroic and there's an element of Gatsby in the character, which doesn't exist in the book so much," says the British-Iranian Amini. "I love that element of striking, handsome, charismatic men who are destined to be defeated somehow; Chester struck me as that sort of character, whereas in the book he is a little more wasted from the very beginning."

"The Two Faces of January" - Production Notes
StudioCanal
February 2014




How did you research to play Chester?


I was mainly interested in what kind of generation he was from. I spoke with my father's friends, men who came of age during the Great Depression and served in WWII, like Chester. And that informed how he'd wear his clothes, how he'd speak, his gestures and his attitude towards women. The one thing about these men that I found most interesting was that, even at their most downcast, their appearance was paramount. Every day, they ironed their shirts and smoothed their hair, no matter what.

Actor Viggo Mortensen
Vanessa Keys
Sunday Style Magazine
13 June 2014




"It was kind of fun to speak with an atrocious accent. He's speaking in a muddle of Greek and Italian; that was sort of a funny little touch."

Viggo Mortensen
The many faces of Viggo Mortensen
By Karl Quinn
Sydney Morning Herald
5 June 1014




"Everybody's got their secrets; even the nicest, calmest nun has got the possibility to think strange things or have resentments. All these characters have their secret desires and resentments, and their own sense of morality. Chester's just an opportunist. No one's purely good or purely bad in this story."

Viggo Mortensen
"The Two Faces of January" - Production Notes
StudioCanal
February 2014




"[As an actor], you lie as well as you can, that's what you're paid to do. And in this case I'm lying about a guy who's lying about being this person who's lying about being another person. It's kind of like a hall of mirrors. Instead of looking in one mirror and trying to be that person as an actor, it's a whole series of mirrors. It's fun."

Viggo Mortensen
The many faces of Viggo Mortensen
By Karl Quinn
Sydney Morning Herald
5 June 1014




You play Chester MacFarland, a suave American who runs into trouble while holidaying in Greece with his wife, Colette. You're often cast as the hero who fights the forces of evil – was it refreshing to play a bad guy?

It was, but Chester isn't as simplistic as that. Yes, he's a villain in the sense that he's wronged people, but there's good in him. You're actually more embarrassed for him and the way he behaves. And his genuine affection for his wife – played by Kirsten [Dunst] – is his weakness. He wants to protect her above everything else.

Actor Viggo Mortensen
Vanessa Keys
Sunday Style Magazine
13 June 2014

Last edited: 28 June 2014 10:32:48