Viggo Mortensen is one of America’s finest and most bankable actors, and gets to cherry-pick the best of international movies, because he’s fluent in French and Spanish as well as English. Upcoming films include fest favorite “Jauja,” in which he speaks Spanish with a Danish accent, and French TIFF entry “Far from Men.”
While the “Lord of the Rings” star is always eager to work with David Cronenberg on any film, whether as a husband with a secret (“A History of Violence”), a tattooed Russian gangster (“Eastern Promises”) or Sigmund Freud (“A Dangerous Method”), he’s also willing to take chances on a new screenwriter-turned-director such as Hossein Amini, who adapted Patricia Highsmith for the delightfully Hitchcockian “The Two Faces of January.”
Mortensen and I talked on Skype (video below) about how he chooses projects and worked with Amini and his costars Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac on this delightfully twisted “chess game” of a triangle relationship, as the characters doubt and mistrust each other, change alliances, lose control of situations and perform a “nice dance” throughout the film. They prove to all be equally capable of despicable behavior when called upon to survive.