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Feature: The Return of the King
Last to be cast, yet a role which has proven to be Viggo Mortensenís crowning glory. We follow his journey to The Return of the King.
Starburst: Elijah Wood told us that it was your son, Henry, who helped convince you to take the part in The Lord of the Rings when it was first offered to you on very short notice.
Also, as an actor I was a little nervous, because I hadnít read the book, and I wasnít sure if I would have the time to give them good value for their money, not knowing the material at all. From what they told me the other actors had already been there for months, preparing and learning all the various skills, dialects and rehearsing. So it was good to have my sonís blessing, but at the same time, you have to decide for yourself whether it feels right or not to do it.
It felt like a challenge, that I ought to accept, that I might regret not accepting, and I might learn something, which I certainly did. Much more than I bargained for, so Iím glad that I went, and made all those friends, and saw all those beautiful landscapes, and re-explored a lot of what I was already familiar with in terms of the source material Ė particularly Nordic mythology and mediaeval literature.
Like any movie, you try to get us much out of it as you can. You draw us many parallels and find as many connections as possible. You can treat working in it like comparative mythology, or you can treat it like a job, where youíre supposed to memorize your lines, show up on time and do your thing, and walk away and not think any more about it. Either way, you can do a good job. The director takes what youíve done and uses as his raw material, along with everything else and makes his movie. But for me, I like to explore and see where it will take you, and it took all of us lots of places that we didnít expect. Mentally, emotionally and physically, too.
Of course, you are mining a very rich vein with Tolkien. Itís not a typical blockbuster movie, but more on a par with Shakespeare.
by Lawrence French
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