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VIGGO MORTENSEN

November 25, 2011 by staff 

VIGGO MORTENSEN, Mortensen goes against type to portray Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg’s new film. Chris Lee talked to the alpha-male action hero about what made him put down his dukes for the role.

Never mind his A-list status, let’s talk onomatopoeia. For most film fans, just saying the words “Viggo Mortensen” inevitably conjures certain images associated with alpha-male action herodom: Viggo wielding a broadsword, valiantly shepherding Hobbits across a treacherous sweep of Middle Earth in the blockbuster Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Viggo covered in prison tats, issuing a vicious, butt-n*ked beat-down in the Russian mobster drama Eastern Promises. Maybe even Viggo caked with grime, pushing a rickety shopping cart and battling cannibal zombie-types in the postapocalyptic tear-jerker The Road.

But Viggo as Sigmund Freud?

Portraying the founding father of the talking cure in the psychosexual drama A Dangerous Method (which reaches theaters in limited release today), the Danish-American actor doesn’t so much as swat a fly. Instead, he engages in beetle-browed academic debates and puffs on cigars in book-lined studies, limping through Switzerland on the way to establishing modern psychoanalysis. It raises the question: what kind of role is that for one of filmdom’s most virile and square-of-jaw ass-kickers?

“I thought it was an odd idea too,” Mortensen acknowledged, sipping yerba mate from his personal gourd at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. “Because I had the same notion that everybody has of what Freud looked like: this frail, old, gaunt, white-haired man. Very rigid, formal. With these piercing brown eyes.”

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