Viggo Mortensen has come a long way hasn’t he? While he’s now an acclaimed actor who has been in such great films as The Road, Eastern Promises, and Captain Fantastic, we’ll always first remember him as Aragorn, the destined king of Gondor, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. After original actor Stuart Townsend exited the part, due to creative differences, Mortensen took over the role mere days before shooting was to begin on what would become one of the most acclaimed and beloved fantasy trilogies of all time. And the role itself, in what really was a massive gamble on the actor’s part (As fantasy was just establishing itself with more mainstream appeal), propelled Mortensen into stardom.
While Mortensen is more concerned with small, character-driven roles these days (Currently starring in the award season contender Green Book), he has no forgotten what got him started. In a new interview in fact, while promoting Green Book, Mortensen was asked the advice he’d give to the cast of the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series that Amazon has in the works. Decidedly more academic in his response, Mortensen gave the following advice:
I would say, not only read the book, you know, very thoroughly, that giant book of Lord of the Rings, but you could read some of the Nordic sagas. You’ll get some clues there as to where Tolkien got his information. Like, Sigurd the Dragon Slayer, and the Volsunga saga. Read that.
As some might know, original LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkein was a university professor and philologist. Philology is a study of language in oral and written historical sources, serving as an intersection between textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics. In other words, Tolkien had a very academic background, thus allowing him to dig deep in histories and mythologies of old (Along with his every day surroundings) to full realize his world of Middle-Earth. Not only did he establish a rough history of his fictional world, but everything about every culture in that world. Fully realized languages, clothing, customs, and even a version of that world’s biblical genesis.
With all that in mind, Mortensen’s advice should definitely be taken seriously. The hope is that the upcoming series, which is said to take place before the events of the original LOTR trilogy, will be just as defining to the franchise as the film trilogy was (Let’s not bring up The Hobbit trilogy shall we?). There is even rumor that a young Aragorn might be part of the story. Some big shoes to fill I would say! As the show is just getting off the ground, it’ll be awhile before we see any footage so for now, let’s hope everyone involved caught this interview for reference. Stay tuned!