Belfast Telegraph

Viggo Mortensen: Rings films were sloppy

Viggo Mortensen doesn't think anyone could have predicted what a hit The Lord of the Rings would be.

The 55-year-old played Aragorn in the hugely successful franchise, directed by Peter Jackson, who's now gone on to create The Hobbit series. Despite its immense popularity, Viggo claims things didn't always look good for the fantasy films.

“Anybody who says they knew it was going to be the success it was, I don’t think it’s really true," he admitted to British newspaper The Telegraph. “They didn’t have an inkling until they showed 20 minutes in Cannes, in May of 2001. They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 – he’d shot all three films in the trilogy – but really the second and third ones were a mess.

"It was very sloppy – it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video.”

Following the role, Viggo was offered countless well-paid parts in movies he deemed to be mediocre. Rather than snapping up the chances given to him, he stuck to his guns and went for films he found truly interesting.

“It’s true, I was getting an awful lot of offers, mainly bad scripts. All of a sudden I had options. But now, more than ever, I was thinking I should do what I’d always done, which was to find a good story, something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to see in the cinema," he explained.

Viggo eventually decided on A History of Violence, a crime thriller directed by David Cronenberg. It wasn't an immediate sign-on though.

When the star first read it, he admits it seemed "senseless" to him, however he did sit down with David to discuss what he didn't like about the story. They ended up agreeing on most points, and David cut the script down dramatically from 120 pages.

"Everything I brought up, he had the same objections, and had already thought it through. And he said, 'Just trust me; I’m going to work on this.’ He should have actually taken a screenplay credit, because that 120-something pages ended up being about 72 pages, and that was him," Viggo recalled.

Viggo's latest movie venture is drama The Two Faces of January, which also stars Oscar Isaac and Kirsten Dunst and tells the story of a couple on the run after getting caught up crime.

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