Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Viggo Mortensen

Of course Viggo Mortensen (51 today) is best known for playing Aragon in the LOTR films, but my favorites are his roles in David Cronenberg films, both A History of Violence and Eastern Promises.  He finally earned an Oscar nomination for Eastern Promises, where he plays a Russian Mobster in London.  He did a lot of preparation for the role, going to Moscow to talk to underworld figures there, and learn about the significance of the prison tattoos they wear.
Mortensen became acutely aware of the effect his tattoos had while on location, noting he "had scared the shit unwittingly" out of some Russian immigrants in London restaurants. "I had to remove the visible ones when I went out anywhere, they really did scare some people."
 Eastern Promises is probably my favorite, and no it's not just the nude fight scene.  "I am just a driver," Viggo's character says.  "I go left, I go right, I go straight ahead."  Viggo just so nailed this Russian mobster in all his scariness and complexity.  Here's a little taste in the Youtube clip below.  If you've never seen Eastern Promises, you have to go rent it as it's some of his best work ever.  Viggo's latest film, The Road, has been pushed to a Thanksgiving release date.

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