The journey for Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut “Falling” has been a long one. In the movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, he also stars as a gay married liberal taking care of his ailing, homophobic father (played by Lance Henriksen). After Park City, it went on to become part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Official Selection, by imprimatur only though as the festival didn’t happen. The film has played internationally, but is finally coming to the United States courtesy of Quiver Distribution. Check out a first trailer for the film below.
Mortensen also wrote the movie, which follows John (Mortensen) who lives with his partner, Eric (Terry Chen), and their daughter, Mónica (Gabby Velis), in California, far from the traditional rural life he left behind years ago, while his conservative father, Willis (Lance Henriksen), lives alone on the isolated farm where John grew up. In the early stages of dementia, Willis is brought to John’s California home to help him relocate. Unfortunately, their best intentions ultimately run up against Willis’s adamant refusal to change his way of life in the slightest.
The cast also includes Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, and a cameo from David Cronenberg, with whom Mortensen has collaborated on films like “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises.”
As for casting himself in a gay role, Mortensen told The Independent that “he wouldn’t think of asking someone what their sexual orientation or identification was. Neither do I assume that actors who identify as being homosexual only want to play homosexual roles. I wasn’t intending to play [the gay son] John, but I ended up playing him, because I had a high enough profile, and I also didn’t have to pay the actor.”
Mortensen added, “There’s no need to ask people how they see themselves. What’s important to me is the person that will do a good job in this role.”
In his review out of Sundance, David Ehrlich wrote, “It’s a testament to Viggo Mortensen’s restless and singularly creative spirit that nobody could possibly predict the subject of his directorial debut, and perhaps an even greater testament that ‘Falling’ immediately makes sense as the kind of movie that the modern poet, abstract painter, experimental musician, prolific anthropologist, septilingual traveler, Oscar-winning ‘Green Book’ accomplice, and rightful King of Gondor would feel compelled to make.”
“Falling” will open in the U.S. on February 5. Watch the trailer below.