Viggo Mortensen Feels Comfortable As Alatriste
26 April 2005
Captain Alatriste from the film that is being made was given the difficult task yesterday of being in the heat of the press. After eight weeks of being in the skin of the soldier created by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, actor Viggo Mortensen emphasised the good conditions in which he is making 'this story', as he defines films, and confessed to feeling very comfortable in the role. 'I am going to be very sad when it is finished,' he assured us.
The cast directed by Agustín Díaz Yanes have been in Seville these past few days, where they have filmed part of the scenes where Francisco Quevido confesses to the captain his plans to influence the policy of imperial Spain in the XVII century, as well as the encounters of Alatriste with the general inquisitor played by Blanca Portillo. Next to them, the adventures of these horsemen and skilled swordsmen will count on other well-known faces such as Eduardo Noriega, Pilar López de Ayala, Unax Ugalde, the Italian Enrico Lo Verso and Elena Anaya, that indicates the advantages of this film 'because I am a lover of Ugalde and Noriega and it is very good to be working alongside them.' All of them confessed to having read the five novels about Captain Alatriste, especially El Sol de Breda, that according to the director and scriptwriter has inspired a lot of the scenes in this film.
'There have been some very long days and it has sometimes been difficult, but the filming is going fast and we are pleased with the way it is turning out,' explained Mortensen, but he lamented the lack of time he had spent in some of the Andalusian cities they had passed through during the filming. The American actor explained that it has not felt strange to be filming in Spain, and when questioned by a journalist on the adjustments made to the profile of a Spaniard in the Century of Gold, he said: 'I feel strange that as Alatriste, a native of northern Spain, according to the original text, I can be found in Andalusia.' 'He is nothing unusual, there were many Spaniards with light hair and eyes in the north of Spain at that time,' remarked the director.
In order to prepare himself and to understand the film better, the actor read, apart from the series of Alatriste books, numerous history books on the Century of Gold. In addition, he visited on several occasions the Prado Museum to observe with thoroughness the pictures of Velázquez and to find inspiration: 'you see them with a different kind of attention than if you are only going to enjoy them as paintings.'
The only difficulty he has had has been the one to control his Castilian, learned in Argentina, and it has been an 'every day' task for which he has relied on the aid of all the other actors, 'it was very complicated in the beginning but now it is going better,' said Mortensen, and he has been able to extend his vocabulary - including, he confessed - to the extent that he is very critical of his performances, 'although not as much as I am at home.' 'I do not begin to understand actors who say they detest seeing themselves on screen, because it doesn't bother me, because I want to do it well and it is a way for me to correct myself and to learn.'
After being in several films in the American cinema, among them The Lord of the Rings, Mortensen thinks that there is not a great difference between the work that comes from the U.S.A. and Spain. 'Each film comes at its own pace and your means change but the money does not influence me much,' he assured us. 'The important thing is that there is a good atmosphere when filming, and Tano makes it very easy for us. He gives us encouragement to do our best.'
Last edited: 22 August 2005 03:12:07