1. In his first two movies, Goldie Hawn comedy Swing Shift and Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo, Mortensen's scenes ended up on the cutting-room floor. he finally made it to the big screen inatct as an Amish farmer in Peter Weir's Witness, but later fell victim to Terrence Malick's editing scissors in The Thin Red Line
2. Before appearing in this month's Hidalgo as a Pony Express courier, equine enthusiast Mortensen begged Peter Jackson to give Aragorn more horse-based scenes in The Lord of the Rings trilogy: "I just feel clam when I'm around them," he says. "Other people have that relationship with their cats and dogs."
3. He has a scar on his upper lip, not from any orc action, but from his wild youth. "It was a combination of a fist and a barbed-wire fence on a particularly bad Hallowe'en night. I was 17. When I got out of surgery, my friends ordered pizza to the hospital and I heloed them eat the pizza."
4. Mortensen's artwork has been exhibited in credible galleries, and he was responsible for the murals in the studio of his A Perfect Murder painter character: "I learned by watching other people do it, and by trial and error - just like acting."
5. His fledgling talents went unrecognised. Mortensen's mother recently unearthed a schoolbook he filled, aged seven, with sketches of "swords, guns, planes crashing and pee-pees," says Mummy Mortensen. There was also "a real abstract painting... Written over the drawing in red pen was 'VERY POOR!' It was underlined."
6. As well as exhibiting art and publishing poetry, Mortensen has recorded a number of experimental jazz/spoken-word albums with his ex-wife, pink singer Exene Cervenka, and Guns N' Roses (multi-instru)mentalist Buckethead. They have titles like One Man's Meat, One Less Thing To Worry About and The Other Parade
7. Mortensen studied government and Spanish at St Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and recently returned to his alma mater to - yep - read poetry and open an exhibition.
8. When not acting, painting, jazzing, writing or horse-riding, Mortensen squeezes in a spot of photography. He recently published an anthology, SignLanguage (described as "a visual journey into the soul of Mortensen's creative forces"), snapped during the filming of Rings
9. It's stipulated in all Mortensen's contracts that he has to be home in California for Hallowe'en so he can go trick-or-treating with son Henry. Can't see that one keeping up now the kid's a teenager...
10. Mortensen's son Henry played the son (also called Henry) of his Crimson Tide character, Lt Ince. It was Henry who convinced his dad to accept the role of Aragorn...
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