The Elusive Mr. Mortensen
Translated by Nimthiriel for

Mortensen in Mexico's 'Premier Magazine'

“Now we have the American Empire falling, and making war, and us be ashamed of it”

The air of mystery that surrounds Diego Alatriste seems to move also around the person who brings him life and voice in the movie, Viggo Mortensen. For reasons only known to him, the interview kept being changed, confusing reporters and publicists, and started to become an obsession for me. Finally the day came, and Viggo’s answers, given in a very formal Spanish, gave me even more questions. The images of Alatriste and Mortensen seem to want to stay: mysterious, in shadow and with frank lucidity. Maybe it’s better this way.

What similarities do you find between Imperial Spain’s Golden Age and today?

The Spanish Empire was the biggest world power of the time, but it was falling. Soldiers barely could live under a system that offered very little possibilities of improving one’s life, and none to individual expression or free speech. Now we have the American empire, also falling, making war, and making us be ashamed of it.

How do you think the movie will do in the US, taking into account it comes from a less developed film industry than Hollywood?

I’m worried about the people promoting the film outside Spain, because they haven’t done a good job so far. If we are allowed to visit the countries where the movie is being screened, and to the places where I and others from the production are known, I think we could get an unprecedented success.

Do you consider that a movie has to be faithful to the novel which is based on, or it can be a reinterpretation?

It has to be faithful to the original, and as meticulous as possible of the language used and to the storyline.

Did you consider the novel’s fans when creating your character?

Not much. I respect the fact that everyone has their own ideas and images about the book, but I think an actor has to be faithful to his own investigation and personal knowledge in order to create and play a character.

In four or five words, how would you describe your experience in Alatriste?

Could not have been better.

Interview by Paulette Jonguitud Acosta
Primetime Magazine April 2007 issue nº 151.