THR Actor Roundtable

VIGGO MORTENSEN Chaos is always there. We try to [impose] order: We dress, we brush our teeth, we stop at stop signs. But really our world is completely crazy all the time.

MORTENSEN You can’t have beautiful moments or have something great happen unless you are willing to make big mistakes, either. You have to be willing to make an ass of yourself.

MORTENSEN You know, even as a kid I didn’t like being told no. It stimulates me. When I was a little kid and I realized that animals die and therefore we do, I asked my mom, “Am I going to die?” And she’s like, “Yeah.” And I didn’t get scared; I got really annoyed. I was like, “Well, I’d better get cracking.” You know? That’s my motive when someone says, “No, you cannot.” Sometimes I speak before I think. And if you make the mistake of speaking out of turn it’s important to recognize it, and I think [the answer to] your question about Othello is: Yes, I could try, but why should I? No matter how well I played Othello, the overriding concern and interest and criticism would be, “Why is he playing Othello?” So why waste my energy? Aren’t there other characters I could play? So that’s maturing. That’s growing up. As a little kid I would be, “I am playing Othello!” all day long. Kids can do anything. And you have to preserve that as an actor. You have to keep the “I can do anything” on a given day. But sometimes you have to be an adult, too.

This article has been edited for The complete story appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Dec.2018.

December 4, 2018 | Interview, quotes , , | this post contains affiliate links