With Amazon developing a massive “The Lord of the Rings” prequel television series and Viggo Mortensen currently in the Oscar race for his leading role in “Green Book,” it was only a matter of time before the actor got asked about the entertainment industry’s return to Middle Earth.
Mortensen famously played Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s original trilogy. Rumor has it Amazon is developing a series based on a younger iteration of the Aragorn character. When asked by Collider to give advice to an actor who might play young Aragorn, Mortensen had brief but essential advice.
“I would say, not only read the book, you know, very thoroughly, that giant book of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ but you could read some of the Nordic sagas,” Mortensen said. “You’ll get some clues there as to where Tolkien got his information. Like, Sigurd the Dragon Slayer, and the Volsunga saga. Read that.”
Tolkien was famously influenced by Nordic mythology when writing “The Lord of the Rings.” One of the trilogy’s most famous characters, Gandalf, is believed to be based on the Nordic god Odin, while story elements such as The Balrog and his encounter with Gandalf in Moria during “The Fellowship of the Ring” mirror stories in Norse mythology, in this case the destruction of the Asgard bridge.
Mortensen also told Collider an actor taking on the role of Aragorn should watch films by Akira Kurosawa. It’s no secret the Japanese director and his movie “Seven Samurai” influenced a generation of filmmakers, and several battle sequences in “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy were directly influenced by the kind of character-building action Kurosawa perfected.
Amazon has not announced any release details for its ambitious “Lord of the Rings” series. The budget is estimated at $500 million, and the young Aragorn storyline is only a rumor at this point. Fortunately, if the story does end up happening Mortensen has already weighed in with his advice.
The actor next film, “Green Book,” hits theaters November 16.