Viggo Mortensen and Fame: The Lord of the Rings Effect
Of all the stars who emerged from Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Viggo Mortensen seems to be the least ambitious, the most humble, the least likely to try to capitalize on the phenomenon.
David Cronenberg, the Toronto filmmaker who directed Mortensen in A History Of Violence, calls his Danish-American leading man "a really down-to-earth guy" for whom he harbours great affection. The fruits of their friendship opens Friday in Toronto, plus eight other North American cities, before expanding wide next week.
"He really is not very concerned with money," Cronenberg tells the Sun, "and he really is not very concerned with career goals. It's genuine with him."
Cronenberg flew from Toronto to Los Angeles to meet Mortensen during the casting of A History Of Violence "because I had to seduce him to do the movie and it had to be in person. You can't do that over the phone. Once we had the discussion, he was talking about it like he was doing the movie, even before the deal was made. And he never wavered from that. He's fantastic. We had the best time. He is a complete collaborator."
Call it a mutal admiration society. When Mortensen sits down with the Sun during the Toronto film festival -- where A History Of Violence was a featured Gala -- he is shy and even awkward about the legacy of playing the heroic warrior Aragorn in The Lord Of The Rings.
"That trilogy had its own life," Mortensen says, "and obviously it's something that affected people." Among the autograph seekers and fans at the filmfest Gala, he says, "there were a lot of people with images from A History Of Violence, a few from the Spanish movie (El Capitan Alatriste) I just did, and some from other things. But there were a lot of Lord Of The Rings pictures there -- and you see them everywhere."