If it’s true that showing up is half the battle, sticking around might be the other half. Viggo Mortensen expressed that sentiment during a recent Q&A following a screening of “Captain Fantastic” when asked if he had any advice for aspiring actors. His answer was simple: “stick around,” he said to laughs.
“It’s the greatest job in the world when it goes well,” added the actor, whose role in Matt Ross’ drama has once again earned him praise. “When things are clicking it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s enjoyable. You want to share it with everybody; you’re so happy you can’t even sleep afterwards.” That isn’t always the way it goes, of course: “When it doesn’t work, it’s the most humiliating line of work,” he added, also to laughs. “Everybody’s looking at you: the crew or a theater full of people. Sometimes you’re in a rut. The only thing you can do, and that’s what I’ve learned, is just stick around and that eventually you’ll figure it out even on the worst days. You will get the movie shot, because you have to; the play will come to an end even if you’ve gone blank several times. There’s a way.”
Doing so throughout his now decades-long career, Mortensen said, has allowed him to “learn a lot more than I expected about things that I didn’t have to do with acting but have everything to do with acting, because acting has to do with life.”