" I could have been a *same*"
Date: 16 Dec '03


... Viggo Mortensen ended up as a king

*same* = Lapp = nomadic people in northern Norway

"I could have been a same. Or: Maybe, anyway. Because I was only 22. And I chosed to go back to my old Copenhagen. That way my life didn't change completely."

Viggo Mortensen (45) is smiling. The world's probably hottest movie-star at the moment is in Oslo now, with "Lord of the Rings - Return of the King". It is VIggo who is Aragorn, the king....

"To take the movie and my colleagues to Norway is like, in a way, bringing the movie "home"."

Norwegian roots

"It has been fantastic. Simple as that", say Mortensen, who was in Copenhagen on sunday. He has a Danish father and an American mother, and they met in Oslo. His father was a student and business-man. And a sportsman, Danish champion on skates, and a friend of Hjalmar "Hjallis" Andersen and Stein and Marius Eriksen.

His stepmother Lisbeth (born Hatting) is from Trondheim. And an aunt is living in Skøyen, Oslo.

"I told my good friend Bernard Hill (King Theoden in the movie) when we flied over Norway: "Here it is, my king, here is your Rohan."

Viggo Mortensen was born in New York, and grew up in Argentina and Venezuela, he has lived in Denmark and is now living in Los Angeles. He speaks Danish, American and Spanish fluently. And he has a rare friendly soul, he is calm and present in the moment, he refuses to stress and he stands steady, preferably barefoot, on the ground.

But he couldn't walk around barefoot in Sameland; it was in the end of October.

Met the reindeers

"I was a student in Copenhagen early in the 80-s, but travelled around a lot. One time I took a train to Narvik and a bus up north, as far as I could get. There I starting wander in the direction of Kautikeino. It went good for a while. But one day there was a dramatic snow-storm. Luckily I found a small shelter. The day after the road was covered in snow. But it melted during the day. So I found the way to Kautokeino. It was a fantastic trip, where reindeers were the only living creatures I saw."

R: " But you didn't stay?"

VM: "I got an offer to stay for the winter. As payment I would get meat and a Lapp-dress. It was a good time, I met many good people. In many ways I wish I had stayed. But I was young and insecure. So I went back. But the following Tsjernobyl-disaster shortly after made a deep impression; I heard that this affected these people in many negative ways. "

Nordic inspiration

R: " So you missed one thing, but got other things instead?"

VM:"Yes, but that's how life is! But samene, the Lapps, joiked for me (Joik = the songs of the Lapps): their own storytelling. I have often thought that their thousand year old, poetic way to tell stories, is universal. Tolkien was very inspired by Norden. And so was Peter Jackson when he made the movies. So by bringing "Return of the King" to Norway, the ring is ended."

R: "When we met in Cannes three years ago, when the "LOTR" movies was represented, you said that the fame and the worship of the stars on this place, seemed strange. Now you are being worshipped yourself?"

VM: "Yes, it something you get used to. But it isn't me. It is of course the movies - and by that everyone included. That is a sign of that the movie has succeeded. Earlier I told Peter Jackson that Norden would be a heart for the LOTR-interest. And that's what happened."

R: "And life other than that?"

VM: "What life?", Mortensen smiles. "I've been busy with LOTR for more than three years. Now we are going through the last PR round. But I have had time to make another movie, Hidalgo with premiere in March. It is a "true story" about an American rider and his horse, who went for an adventure in Arabia over hundred years ago."

R: "I guess you are too expencive for Nordic movies?"

VM: "I have often said no to money for an interesting project. If the right offer comes from Denmark or Norway, I will seriosuly concider it. It would have been fun" ", says Viggo Mortensen.

Publication: Norwegian newspaper VG







































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