Viggo Mortensen interview

Viggo Mortensen, star of Eastern Promises, talks to

Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen, 49, sheds his heroic image to play a ruthless Russian Mafia bodyguard who crosses paths with Naomi Watts’ midwife in new thriller Eastern Promises.

Everyone is talking about Eastern Promises’ centrepiece fight, where you are naked in a bathhouse. How awkward was it to film?

I knew I would be a little vulnerable and embarrassed. But in the end I wasn’t any more than I should be for that sequence, because David [Cronenberg, the director] was respectful and has a limited amount of people on the set. So there wasn’t a lot of sitting around. I had a towel on between takes and then when they would roll, I would take the towel off and go.

Like this character, you often play very physical men. But is there anything you can’t do?

I’m not a very good dancer. Very sloppy!

How much has Lord of the Rings changed your life?

It’s a lasting thing. It had a cultural impact everywhere. If I walk out on the street, there are kids that come up to me and I know they have that look in their eye and I know they’re thinking about Aragorn. And that’s nice. I don’t mind that.

Have you been to any fan conventions?

I haven’t been to any of those. The idea scares me of all those people dressed as elves. I saw a lot of that for a few years. I appreciate them, though, but it’s a little bit crazy.

You’re single right now. How difficult is it to fit relationships around your work?

Difficult. There is no guidebook. I definitely need to take some time off, just to attend to personal matters and family. I’m doing a lot of things on the fly now and it takes its toll.

Eastern Promises opens on 26 October

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