Interview: Viggo Mortenson
Ain’t it Cool News’, Capone chats with Viggo Mortenson about politics, THE ROAD, APPALOOSA, and THE HOBBIT.
In late October, as part of the Chicago International Film Festival’s Closing Night festivities, Viggo Mortensen got himself a Career Achievement Award just before a screening of what will now be his next film to be released in theaters, a strange film that examines the fluid definitions of right and wrong–a movie called GOOD. Set in the early days of the National Socialist moment in Germany, GOOD centers on a professor who wrote a harmless novel years earlier that inadvertently is serving the Nazis as a justification for their theories of racial purity and the killing of the Jewish people. The book serves as such a great inspiration and blueprint that the professor is elevated up through the Nazi ranks almost without any ambition on his part to do so. Now that the adaptation of THE ROAD has been moved into 2009, GOOD is being pushed as Mortensen’s shot at an Oscar for 2008. It’s a quiet, understated performance about a complicated man, who is both far from flawless and far from guilty.
I don’t tend to talk about the circumstances that lead up to any interview I do, but this particular day was interesting. Mortensen only spoke to three journalists during his short time in Chicago–one from a local newspaper, one from a local TV station, and me. Just to add some context to the beginning of our conversation, we spoke about five days before Election Day in November. In addition to his memorable work in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, THE INDIAN RUNNER, CRIMSON TIDE, THE PROPHECY (he played the motherfucking devil!), G.I. JANE, A WALK ON THE MOON, and a pair of films with David Cronenberg (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and EASTERN PROMISES), as well as the criminally overlooked APPALOOSA earlier this year, Mortensen is a fierce activist. For those of you who hate it when actors talk politics, you may be forced to skip huge sections of the beginning of our conversation, which also covers his disappointment at THE ROAD’s release date getting pushed back and whether or not there’s a chance he’ll appear in the two-film adaptation of THE HOBBIT.
Mortensen is without a doubt one of the most engaging people I’ve ever talked to. His answers about any of his films are not prepared or cut down to sound-bite-ready snippets. If the spirit grabs him on any topic, he goes with it, as you’ll see from the beginning of our talk. Enjoy 35 minutes with Viggo Mortensen!
You will have to click on the link below to read this engaging interview: