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. (He majored in Spanish at St. Lawrence University in New York because he wanted to be an actor, and figured as a Spanish major he could get good grades without having to study much, which would allow him to be in lots of plays.)
- 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.
- Badass Longcoat: Wore one for most of his role as Aragorn.
- 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.
- 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."
- Dashing Hispanic: His role as Captain Alatriste.
- Mr. Fanservice: Even his co-star Miranda Otto admitted it was going to be easy to portray falling in love with his character for her role.
- Fake Nationality: Fake German (with a British accent) in Good, Russian in Eastern Promises (with a Russian accent) and fake Spaniard (speaking Spanish) in Alatriste.
- Fatal Method Acting: Fortunately averted in The Lord of the Rings, in which he was at one point pulled under while filming the river scene in The Two Towers.
- 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.
- Renaissance Man: Aside from acting, he's a poet, painter, songwriter and photographer. Oh, and he owns a printing press, Perceval Press.
- So My Kids Can Watch: One of the reasons why he agreed to play Aragorn is because his son is a Tolkien fan.
- Star-Making Role: Aragorn is who he is best remembered for.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: As Aragorn. In real life, he used to have a more medium blond sort of hair color, although it's mostly gray these days.