“I realize that if you look at my résumé, you might think, 'Oh, he's out there in left field. But I don't think in those terms.” Said out loud with a laugh by Viggo Mortensen, his self-proclaimed perception of his curriculum vitae might appear to us just as he described it if we already didn’t know him and how talented he is.

Mortensen’s Multi-Lingual Roles

His hold on languages and being able to star in a multiplicity of foreign films speaks to that talent. While most American moviegoers remember him as Aragorn the elf from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, his acting capabilities and linguistic skills (beyond, of course, speaking Elvish) were never displayed in full to that audience. Consider the fact that in the past five years, he has made both a Spanish-language film called “Everybody Has a Plan,” as well as“Jauja,” where he speaks both Danish and Spanish. Mortensen has even done dialogue in both Arabic and French for the film “Far from Men.”

For those of us who want more of his English-speaking roles, we get to see him star in “Captain Fantastic.” The movie is both humorous and dramatic and depicts a father living outside of civilization while raising his children. For instance, the father’s interesting quirks of teaching dictate the lives of his children—from hunting and martial arts to studying Nabokov. Even better, the main character prefers celebrating Noam Chomsky’s birthday over Christmas.

Mortensen on “Captain Fantastic.”

Mortensen says of his role: "He's training the kids to be strong mentally and intellectually and physically, and he's so certain that everything he's doing is right. But that makes him inflexible, a benevolent dictator in a way, and when it all comes crashing down the audience and his kids realize it before he does."

The Story Behind “Captain Fantastic.”

When initially discussing the project, Mortensen met up with creator Mike Ross to talk about the project before he agreed to take the role. The meeting went so well, it lasted for four hours, mostly because of Mortensen’s excitement for the character and the role. Mortensen admits he realized the story had a lot of depth to it and one could interpret it many different ways. To him, the script was undeniably fantastic as well as powerful which meant it could be an excellent film. The challenge, Mortensen thought, would be finding six kids to play the main character’s children and directing them well so they felt comfortable and could play up to the talent demonstrated by the script.

Ross took Mortensen’s advice and made sure Mortensen had time to get to know the actors playing his children.Together, they did some fun activities, practiced martial arts and wilderness survival, and even did improv together. Mortensen himself stated he enjoys working with children, and especially likes helping them improve their acting skills. This approach created great chemistry between the cast in the film.

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