On Monday 5th March The Coolidge Theatre in Boston honoured Viggo Mortensen with their Coolidge Award. (More information about the award, and the prestigious list of former winners, can be found here.)
The first event of the day was a press Q&A, which TheOneRing.net attended. There were about twenty reporters in the room, from publications ranging from student magazines to Boston newspapers, and the sound of cameras clicking was constant throughout the session. Mortensen was charming, easy-going and friendly; he began the session by commenting on the stage set up – ‘Nice flowers!’ – and ended, as reported here last week, with a teasing joke to the organisers.
When the floor was opened to questions, there was the usual hesitation whilst everyone wonders who will be brave and go first. A dragon is never afraid, so TORn’s own greendragon – ’tis I! – raised her hand. Of course I wanted to ask Mortensen something to do with Middle-earth! As you will recall, when the two Hobbit movies were first being discussed, there was talk of the second movie being a ‘bridge’ movie, telling the tale of events between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In a 2006 interview with Ain’t it cool News, Peter Jackson said that he hoped to include ‘Aragorn protecting The Shire. [I’d]… love to work with Viggo again.’ I asked Mortensen about this, and if he would like to have gone back to Middle-earth; he responded with some surprise, (‘Did he say that?!’) and said, ‘It sounds like a lot of fun but I never heard from Peter!’ He added that he loves to go back to the ‘beautiful country’ New Zealand when he can, and that he also is looking forward to seeing how The Hobbit will be adapted for the big screen.
(More plus video after the break!)
This led him to reflect on the fans, and he commented on the reaction he had received the night before, when he showed up at the movie screening (as reported in part 1). It had been evident, in his singing, that he was nervous – and he even commented that night that he had been more nervous singing then, than he was in the film studio. In his thoughts on the devotion of the fans, he shed some light on why it had been a little overwhelming. He began by commenting that a decade has passed, and still the passion of the fans is evident. You can hear what he went on to say in this video:
(Apologies about the less than stellar sound – Mortensen is a softly spoken man! The YouTube description includes a full transcript of his words.)
It’s wonderful to know that stars such as Mortensen truly do appreciate their fans – even if they sometimes marvel at the extreme dedication of some!
During the rest of the Q&A, Mortensen talked about topics such as his admiration for the late swordmaster Bob Anderson, the detailed research he puts into any role (even his one scene part in Carlito’s Way!), his great respect for director David Cronenberg, and his belief that, as time passes and technology improves, the visual effects in the Lord of the Rings movies ‘won’t hold up… it’s just the way it is. There’s a lot of things that people… maybe even in The Hobbit… [will] do better as technology improves.’ Instead, what endures is the profundity of the book: it’s about ‘compassion; it’s very profound as a story.’
Thanks to TORn’s good friend Ethan Gilsdorf, you can watch the entire press Q&A with Mortensen here. (This includes the footage in the link above – from a different angle!) Tomorrow we’ll bring you our Part 3 of our report, plus more from Gilsdorf. Stay tuned!