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Viggo Mortensen Says He Turned Down 'The Hobbit,' Gearing Up Directorial Debut With 'The Horsecatcher'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
May 29, 2013 11:18 AM
5 Comments
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Viggo Mortensen The Horsecatcher

There are few actors around as discerning, interesting and talented as Viggo Mortensen. As he's gained success in career, he's become choosier about this roles, usually going for something that stirs his heart or brain (or both), rather than the obvious star vehicle or blockbuster franchise. The role of Aragon in Peter Jackson's "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy brought the actor to the peak of fame and worldwide recognition, but count him out of any more trips to Middle Earth. Like it or not, Jackson found a way to turn the novella "The Hobbit" into three movies, in a new saga that overlaps with 'LOTR,' with a handful of characters carrying over. But for Mortensen, he wasn't interested in reprising a role that deviated from the text.

"Before they started shooting, back in 2008, one of the producers did ask if I would be interested," the actor told The Guardian. "I said, 'You do know, don't you, that Aragorn isn't in The Hobbit? That there is a 60-year gap between the books?' " Ooh, burn.

That said, he is far from dismissive of the enterprise, and is eager to catch up with what Jackson has created. "I'm interested in seeing that world again, and seeing what Peter Jackson's done, how he's made use of the improvements in special effects and cameras and the different way of shooting, which will probably enhance the visual aspect of the experience, the sound also," he explained. "And I'm interested in seeing how he's managed to make three movies out of a relatively slim volume…Jackson is a clever person – I'm sure he'll have done something really interesting with it." 

So, what's next on Mortensen's plate? Well, you might have missed him at the arthouse playing twins in "Everybody Has A Plan," but he recently wrapped the thriller "The Two Faces Of January" starring Oscar Isaac and Kirsten Dunst. And perhaps more intriguingly, Mortensen has plans to direct. He's recently adapted the 1957 book "The Horsecatcher" by Mari Sandoz for the big screen, and he hopes to helm it too. "It's a universal story – it speaks about peer pressure to be violent. You could transpose it to an inner city and have instead the pressure to take drugs," he explained of the story about a young Cheyenne Indian boy who must kill the enemy as a rite of passage.

We'd love to see Mortensen take his skills behind the camera and hopefully we won't have to wait too long for that to happen.

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5 Comments

  • Tom | November 21, 2013 10:25 AMReply

    Viggo seems like a really boring method actor.

  • Christy Cross | May 30, 2013 1:28 PMReply

    Sorry, but Viggo did not turn down a role in The Hobbit; he was never offered one by the filmmakers. On the contrary, Viggo has always expressed enthusiasm and interest in reprising his role as Aragorn - to be included in a once rumored, but never realized "bridge" film that was to have included events happening during the 60 year gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Instead of making a bridge film to compliment one Hobbit movie, Peter Jackson decided to make a trio of films to cover the events contained in the Hobbit book - a time during which Aragorn was only 10 years old.

  • Logic | November 20, 2013 5:03 AM

    Uh, no, Aragorn was about 88 at his crowning and would have been about 24-28 during the time of the Hobbit, derp.

  • suzygirl | May 30, 2013 10:25 AMReply

    Please get your "facts" straight. Mortensen BEGGED to be in The Hobbitt. Just look up the youtube video of the BAFTA awards where he makes a drunken fool out of himself on stage with Sean Bean. Sean Bean had to escort him off the stage. He kept talking about how much he would love to be in The Hobbitt. Peter Jackson said no.

  • Dunz | May 30, 2013 10:57 AM

    Your stupid interpretation of some video does count as "facts," chicka.

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