Happy Birthday Viggo Mortensen! You’ll always be Aragorn to me.

The über talented Viggo Mortensen turns 53 today. Wow, he certainly doesn’t look like he’s hit the big 5-0!

The Danish-American actor had quite a worldly upbringing as his family traveled quite a bit and he spent several years living in Venezuela, Argentina and Denmark, hence his multilingual ability. According to his Wiki page, he speaks fluent English, Danish and Spanish; he is also conversational in French and Italian, and understands Norwegian and Swedish. OH MY! As if that weren’t impressive enough, he’s also an accomplished painter, poet, photographer, as well as a jazz musician, he apparently has released several albums. Seriously, I don’t know where he even found time for acting as he also runs a publishing company, Perceval Press, which publish the works of little-known artists and authors.

Some people really do have it all. Viggo is obviously VERY easy on the eyes with that high cheekbones cut like glass and those soulful eyes… but he’s also meticulous about his craft, and that includes acting. He’s been nominated for Oscar, Golden Globe and Bafta for his role in Eastern Promises, as well as other kudos for his performance in The Road and of course The Lord of the Rings.

I have to admit that post LOTR, his movies have been too dark/violent/depressing though I still might give History of Violence and The Road a watch at some point. I was really curious to see Eastern Promises but after reading some reviews and seeing a couple of clips, I don’t think I could handle it. I’m curious about A Dangerous Method however, where Viggo is almost unrecognizable as Sigmund Freud!

He’s played a variety of roles in his film career, but I feel like he hasn’t played a villain before. Yes he’s played some flawed antiheroes but I thought it’d be interesting to see him as a full-on bad guy. Hence I cast him in my third Untitled Sci-Fi Pitch as not only a quintessential villain but a non-human one! Yep, I cast him as an alien being called Damien, who’s the Commander in Chief of a planet called Bhumi. I just think his charisma and quiet grace would lend to an intriguing and complex villain who’s ruthless ambition could be very, very dangerous. If you haven’t read it already, click on the link and let me know what you think 🙂

Now, as the title of my post suggest, Viggo will always be Aragorn to me. Every time I saw LOTR, I truly can’t imagine the-originally-cast Stuart Townsend in the role of a gritty but compassionate leader like Aragorn. Even amongst the fantastic cast that Peter Jackson has assembled, Viggo’s performance still stands out and fully deserving its ‘icon’ status (he received the EMPIRE magazine Icon Award as Aragorn, presented by Boromir himself, er I meant Sean Bean).

So in honor of his birthday today, I thought I’d post some of my favorite Aragorn scenes… a mix of his tough warrior side as well as the tender, romantic side as Arwen’s devoted lover.

“Become who you are born to be.”

Aragorn’s Battle Speech – Extended Scene

Aragorn with Arwen

I thought I’d include this behind-the-scene clip of how Viggo got cast in LOTR as they’ve started filming. I’ve heard it several time over but I’m still flabbergasted by the story that he almost turned it down!! I’m forever thankful to his son Henry for compelling his dad to take the role.

Behind the Scene – Casting Aragorn

Well folks, why don’t you join me in my birthday tribute to Viggo by telling me your favorite Viggo Mortensen role… and of course you can share your thoughts about Aragorn as well.

53 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Viggo Mortensen! You’ll always be Aragorn to me.

  1. Hee Hee you said ‘multilingual’. (Yes, I am that childish). Love this guy. He’s a true Renaissance man! I just did a double feature of A History of Violence and Eastern Promises this past wknd. Can not wait for A Dangerous Method! He and David Cronenberg have a real DeNiro/Scorsese relationship (or DiCaprio/Scorsese, either one.)

    1. Did I say it wrong?? Multilingual means someone who can speak multiple languages right… unless I’m missing something? 🙂

      Oh yeah, Renaissance man… that’s the word I was looking for to describe him. He really does fit that definition. Oooh I’ll read that double feature post, no spoiler hopefully as I haven’t seen either one.

  2. He’s a young looking 50-something, that’s for sure. I’m more of a fan for his lead roles with David Cronenberg, though (Aragorn in LOTR trilogy is fine, too): ‘A History of Violence’ and ‘Eastern Promises’ (which still has the most cringing fight ever in a steam-room). For supporting roles, his Master Chief in ‘G.I. Jane’, his memorable short stint as Roy Nord from ‘Daylight’, and of course for this season, Lucifer in ‘The Prophecy’ was a showy bit of presence on his part. Thanks, Ruth.

    1. I forgot he’s in G.I. Jane! I’m curious about The Prophecy so I guess he has played a real evil guy before, so he’s even more perfect as the main villain in my sci-fi pitch. Have you read that Michael? I’d love to hear what you think.

      1. That’s a pretty impressive cast for a substantial sci-fi story you’ve got there, Ruth. I’d want to see it. If only studios would put effort into something like this, instead more ‘Transformers’ flicks, we’d all be better off. Thanks.

        p.s., his role as Lucifer is a small one in ‘Prophecy’ (Christopher Walken playing the vengeful Angel Gabriel is the lead), but Viggo makes it notable.

        1. Thank you Michael, that meant a lot to me. I wish I could make a proper pitch and write a screenplay of this one day. I’d love to see something like this on the big screen, an epic sci-fi that has some emotional drama instead of just fight scenes after fight scenes between humans vs. aliens.

          I gotta check out The Prophecy, I mean w/ Chris Walken as Gabriel? Gotta be interesting!

  3. Ted S.

    Wow he’s 53 now, can’t believe it. He’s definitely a good actor and should have been cast in more films as leading man. I first noticed him in Crimson Tide where he played Denzel’s friend and he has a minor role in the underrated gangsta film, Carlito’s Way.

    By the way, I think Eastern Promises is a little bit more tame than A History of Violence. So if you want to start watching any of those two films, I’d recommend you start with Eastern Promises. The Road was decent but since the novel it was based on was so good, the film version just couldn’t match it. I think it’s one of those books where the filmmakers should’ve change a few things to make it work for the screen. They tried to stay as closed to the book as possible and it just didn’t work for me.

    1. Yeah, he is very youthful looking. I think guys with high cheekbones like that seem to look younger than their age. I’ve seen Crimson Tide but can’t seem to remember much of it, I need to rewatch that again.

      Eastern Promises tame?? I heard the fight scene where he’s stark naked covered in tattoos are really, really violent. Ah well, I’d have to research a bit more then. I heard you talk about The Road. I still might rent it if I’m up for it.

      1. Ted S.

        Yeah that fight in Eastern Promises was brutal but that’s about it as far as violence in that film. A History of Violence on the other hand, has a few brutal violence sequences that I know you won’t like.

        1. Coincidently those are my two favorite roles… Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. Naomi Watts and Mario Bello were great respectively. (After watching Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect it’s kind of hard to see any one replace her… even Maria Bello) Also it’s some of Cronenberg’s best work in years.


          1. Yeah I heard Maria Bello talking about taking on the role from the great Dame Mirren on NPR. I don’t think she comes close to Mirren’s in any role, but I think she’s a decent actress.

            1. I like Bello in the Prime Suspect series. Luckily, she’s not trying to be Helen Mirren-like in this adaptation, and she’s giving it her own take. YMMV. Check it out. Thanks.

  4. great post Ruth! Viggo will always be Aragorn to me too. great clips there. I’m looking forward to seeing him & Fassbender in A Dangerous Method as well.

    I read recently in Entertainment Weekly that Viggo auditioned for the Jake Ryan role in Sixteen Candles (which eventually went to Michael Schoeffling). The scene called for him to make out with Molly Ringwald and they got a little too into it for John Hughes’ taste (I think it said Ringwald was only 15 at the time). So Viggo was out & Schoeffling got it instead.

    It’s brilliant as it is of course, but i find Viggo more attractive than Schoeffling.

    1. Thanks m’dear!

      Wow, I had no idea about that story. Well, look at him now, Viggo’s career is light years away from Schoeffling’s, ahah. And yes, Viggo is far more manly.

  5. I first came to Viggo by way of The Reflecting Skin by director Philip Ridley. (He had a small part in Witness but I didn’t remember him from that). Hard to find although it’s in 10 parts on You Tube. The film tells the dark tale of a little boy amidst the 1950s Idaho wheatfields who believes the English widow living nearby is a vampire, with tragic consequences. It’s about the loss of ones innocence and youth. It’s a film that’s been referred to as David Lynch by way of Days of Heaven. Philip is a painter and it shows. The cinematography for the film is gorgeous. Don’t let the faded VHS trailer fool you.

    This short teaser trailer better shows off the cinematography.


  6. Swooon. Happy Birthday Viggo! Several years ago one of my brother’s mentioned that his wife was floored when she saw his performance in Carlito’s Way … She said his Spanish was pitch perfect – when she found out he was Danish-American she was surprised.

    It is funny that you post this today Ruth because later this week I have a post which features him 🙂

    Add to his incredible talents that he is a NY Mets fan. What’s not to love? 😉

    1. He’s in Carlito’s Way as a Spaniard? Man his talent knows no bounds. Yeah, he seems to be a sports fan on top of being an arts/music fan. Again, it’s mind-boggling that he could be so into so many things yet still have time for an acting career!

      1. I think he is Latino (Cuban) in the film if i remember. But his accent is what made my sis in law do a double take (her being Latina and all).

        Also the art from A Perfect Murder was his own too. I could go on and on but I’ll stop.

  7. You need to put up the bathhouse fight in “Eastern Promises” and kill two birds with one stone. It satisfies the action lovers, and it shows Viggo’s naked booty for the ladies…….or anyone else that may enjoy seeing Viggo’s naked booty.

    1. Ahah, well my blog is rated PG-13 I’ll have you know. Besides, as much as I like seeing a fit guy’s physique in the buff, I prefer seeing it in a more um, romantic setting 😀

  8. Viggo is always fun to watch from GI Jane to Crimson Tide, LOTR to The Road. Wow he is 53? A bit older than I thought I guess 😀 My favorite might just be his role in GI Jane as the vicious Navy Seal intructor.

  9. So hard to believe he is 53!!! Wow what a surprise! I like him the most in LOTR too! But I also like Crimson Tide! Great tribute Ruth! I will share it on the FB page for my site!

    1. I should rewatch Crimston Tide again, though I’m really not a big fan of submarine movies. But hey it’ll prepare me for GB’s submarine thiller, ahah.

  10. I saw this post reposted on FB by our friend Scarlet_Spider and I’m glad I did.

    A lot of people will remember the most for Lord of the Rings, but I really love him in the Cronenberg movies, ‘A History of Violence’ and ‘Eastern Promises’. He shows a lot of range in those roles, ‘History of Violence’ is one of his finest.

    It’s a shame that he is slowing down with what movies he is a part of, but I’ll be glad to see him in whatever screen time he has for ‘A Dangerous Method’.

    1. He’s a real pal that Scarlet, how kind of him!

      I reckon those would be memorable roles, but I think Arargorn would still be my favorite. I guess I just like the LOTR story.

      Yeah, I’d love to see him headline a film again. Perhaps he’s getting to busy with his non-acting hobbies.

  11. Happy Birthday Viggo,

    I loved you in Eastern Promises and a History of Violence. LOTR obviously is a great choice. But I have preferred you in other films.

    Have (or hope you had) a great day Sir.

    Kind Regards Scott

  12. Crikey! I knew he was older than I thought but didn’t realise he was 53.

    I still can’t believe that Stuart Townsend was originally cast as Aragorn. Viggo was perfect as Aragorn and after seeing his performance I really can’t picture Townsend doing the same, if you know what I mean.

    Eastern Promises and A History of Violence are on my rental list. The Road was an impulse buy because it was on sale but I haven’t seen it yet…

    1. I didn’t realize it either until I started researching him for this post, Claire.

      Stuart is not only too young in age but he just doesn’t have the emotional maturity or screen gravitas to carry the role, IMO. So I’m glad they recast him.

      You bought The Road without seeing it first? I’m curious to hear what you think.

  13. Happy birthday Viggo \(^^)/
    Wow…over 50…ck ck ck. You still look charming.

    I can’t say much about him being ARagorn…Everyone in LOTR are perfect!! As I have mentioned it in my previous top5 of book characters into movie (although I choose Pippin in the list). I didn’t know he almost turned it down….Thank you Henry 🙂

    I think Viggo is one of the underated actors…he is not as famous as those who can’t act 😦

    1. Yeah, all LOTR fans definitely have to thank Henry. Can’t imagine Aragorn being played by somebody else!

      He is underrated indeed, Nov, there are a far less talented actors who’ve gotten more kudos than him.

  14. Whenever “great actor” conversations start up, I’ve got a list of people I always go to- Don Cheadle, Tom Wilkinson, Laura Linney- but I always forget Viggo Mortensen. He really is excellent at his craft.

  15. I can’t imagine anyone else ever leading the fellowship. As much as I love Stuart Townsend, LOTR needed Viggo’s weight to give the right kind of intensity to the role, while beign able to balance it with the odd comedic moment. He was a perfect cast.

    1. Me neither, Katie. I’ve only seen Stuart in the ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ and I really don’t think he can make a compelling Aragorn.

  16. I recently read where he loved the horse so much from LOTR that he purchased it after filiming concluded and purchased a horse for the stunt double for Arwan as she could not afford it.

    1. Yeah I heard about that. I think he purchased one from Hidalgo also. Apparently he’s an avid horseman also, on top of all the talents he’s already got.

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