The ageless actor discusses his award-worthy turn as a hippie father in new film Captain Fantastic, male versus female nudity, and the 2016 presidential election.
Ive always been comfortable in the wilderness, coos Viggo Mortensen. We are, as it were, quite far from the bucolic, huddled together in a booth at a chic restaurant in downtown Manhattan, a maddening mlange of unimpeded socialites, regrettable facial hair, and Viggo who, at 57, does not look as though hes aged a single day since carving up Orcs in Middle Earth. Expending the majority of members of the year in Madrid, Spain, sipping on Argentinean malbecs will do that to you.
The occasion of our chats is his wonderful new film Captain Fantastic, about a hippie father of six, Ben, raising his brood in the woods of the Pacific Northwest on a steady diet of deer, rock climbing, and Chomsky. Viggos titular Superdad devotes every waking hour to shaping the minds and the organizations of his offspring, while shielding them from the terrors of the outside world, with its meddlesome firms, broken systems, and sugary soda.
When their estranged mother succumb to her mental disease, the clan decides to break their eight-year hiatus and reenter society to attend her funeral. Along the route, they do their best to stick it to the man as often as possible, from stealing groceries to frightening off police, but eventually come face to face with “the mens” himself: their mothers disapproving father, played with icy Frank Langella-ness by Frank Langella.
Viggo completed a two-week boot camp with his on-screen children prior to shooting in Washington state, wherein the gang engaged in rock climbing( he disliked it ), jujitsu, martial arts, sing, sleeping outside together, building a fire from scratch, and playing music. The gals attended a gutting and scalping animals class, while Viggo practiced the bagpipes and guitartwo instruments he hadnt played prior to signing onto the film. By the time shooting began, he tells, theyd formed a tight fictional family unit.
As far as Bens worldview runs, and his way of thinking and his intensity of it, and his body language, and his children, for me, it induced it one of the most complex trip-ups as a part that Ive ever had, claims Viggo.
One of the films indelible scenes exhibiting the aforementioned body language involved presenting the Full Viggo, with his Ben casually posing nude outside of the familys camper in front of several shocked passersby. Its not his most memorable bout with on-screen nudity, of coursethat would be reserved for slicing up a cabal of Russian crooks in a steam room in Eastern Promises, their blades going dangerously close to his swaying phallus.
Theres a problem with nudity in the United States, tells Viggo matter-of-factly, before expanding on the volume of female on-screen nudity versus male. Its not even. Its not even.
Theres the issue of violence versus nudity, he continues. We have no problem in video games or on TV presents or in movies of presenting children beheadings and massive shootings, yet you cant swear or cant find a male or female body. It seems odd, and doesnt seem healthy.
According to Viggo, the message of Matt Rosss Captain Fantastic concerns the importance of dialoguelistening to resisting opinions and detecting a middle ground, like his freewheeling Trotskyite and Langellas tightly-wound grandfather-businessman whos worried that Dads out-there hijinks will get his children killed.
At the beginning of the movie, you think, oh, this is going to be the merry band of prankster left-wing outsiders going up against conservativesand conservative ideasand that wouldve been fine, but a more limited narrative, offers Viggo. Its much more layered, complex, and rewarding than that because theyre flawed. For Ben, you can alternate between what a great father and this guys a maniac.
We need to broaden our perspectives and our points of view to assure what other people thinkto consider the arguments of people we instinctively dont agree withbut people just stay in their camps and do research on what they already believe in, he adds. And you have politicians tell things like, Oh, you dont have to pay attention to those others. Merely trust me, dismiss them. Just watch Fox or just watch MSNBC. I think this movie is striking a chord because it touches on something thats happening in the country: on the absence of social cohesion and the communication problems we have.