Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Viggo Peter Mortensen Jr. (October 20, 1958-) is a Danish-American actor (and poet, painter, musician, and photographer) in New York City. He has been acting in movies since 1985, but is probably best known for his role as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's film version of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a role in which he was cast at the last minute and accepted without having read the books, at the insistence of his son.Mortensen grew up in Argentina as well as in New York and lived in his father's native Denmark for several years; he speaks Spanish and Danish fluently.
Badass: Broke his toe, lost a tooth, and nearly drowned while filming Lord of the Rings, did many of his own stunts, was described by legendary swordmaster Bob Anderson as "the best swordsman I've ever trained" (which is saying something in a 50-year career), and kept his sword with him at all times for the duration of the filming. Oh, and slept in the stables in order to bond with his horse. Stabbed himself in the leg while shooting Alatriste, and kept filming, and in Fellowship of the Ring he deflected a thrown knife with his sword in a Throw It In moment. Lurtz was supposed to miss, but the actor's makeup obscured his vision and he wound up throwing it straight at Viggo, which could've seriously injured him.
Big "NO!" / Death Wail / Throw It In: While filming a scene in The Lord of the Rings, he broke his toe when kicking a helmet. The kick was meant to be followed by a wail out of sorrow/despair, but the one used in the movie is actually Mortensen howling in pain. It was kept because it was the best of the takes.
Bilingual Bonus: Speaks Danish and Spanish fluently, he has frequently given interviews in both, as well as done shout-outs during events and in English-language interviews.
Of all the actors who had lines in the Elven languages (the two used in the film being very complete constructed languages with detailed grammatical rules and thousands of known words) when filming The Lord of the Rings, Mortensen made the strongest effort to ensure his dialog and pronunciation was correct. If you're trying to learn Quenya or Sindarin and have any doubts how something should sound, queue up the film and check to see if Mortensen says it.
Cloud Cuckoolander: According to a lot of his co-stars. Elijah Wood said that while filming The Lord of the Rings, Mortensen called him and left him a five minute rambling voice-mail in a fake German accent. Wood went on to say, "Everyone talks about how much integrity he has and how brilliant he is. And itís true. Heís also completely insane."
His ex-wife (who he's still friends with) has said that what first endeared him to her was the fact that he keeps most of his poetry in his refrigerator.
He's also the guy who started the "tradition" of LotR stuntmen greeting each other with headbutts.
During the credits for Fellowship of the Ring's extended edition, in the actor commentaries, the hobbit actors read the names and then give a succinct one-line description.
The Other Marty: Mortensen was cast as Aragorn when Lord of the Rings had already started filming; Stuart Townsend was originally cast in the role but was deemed too young, while Jackson wanted to keep from having to work with Daniel Day-Lewis at all, if possible.