EXCLUSIVE: "I did not sleep much last night," admits Viggo Mortensen. "In the building I'm in, the pipes burst on the top floor and it was like a stream of water coming down the stairs. It was crazy, so we all had to leave the building and spent part of the night outside.
In cold, snowy Toronto, Mortensen managed to recover for a few hours before returning to work. Currently in pre-production on Falling – his directorial debut, which will be released before the cameras until the first week of March – Morten's morning has been brightened by news of his latest Oscar nomination for the Green Book. and the overall success of the film.
Directed by Peter Farrelly from a script written with Nick Vallelonga and Brian Hayes Currie, Universal's publication tells the poignant and factual true story of the most unlikely friendships. When Vallelonga's father, the Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip, was commissioned, the African-American pianist dr. Driving Don Shirley through the American South of the 60s, there was a real dynamic that led to an unusual couple, and a lifelong bond developed.
When Green Book debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September, it won the coveted People's Choice Award and the film was on its way towards Oscar's fame with enthusiastic Criticisms for Mortensen launched and Ali's respective twists are Lip and Shirley. Mortensen's National Board of Review nomination this season also attracts Golden Globes, BAFTA, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Screen Actors Guild. Therefore, it is no wonder that Mortensen received his third nomination for Best Actor
For Mortensen, however, more important than his own performance is that of the film. At the WGA Awards, the DGA Awards, the Critics' Choice Awards, the ACE Eddies, the BAFTA Awards and the Golden Globes, she won nominations and won three awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy – Green Book recorded five nominations on Oscar morning, including Best Picture, Supporting Actor, Editing and Original Screenplay.
"I'm very glad about the Green Book obviously; It's very good for our team, "said the actor. "I wish Pete Farrelly had come as a director because I think he did something incredible. What he did with the Green Book puts him in the same league in my opinion, at least for this film like Billy Wilder, Frank Capra and Preston Sturges. He is at this level [with] what he has achieved and I do not believe anyone was ready for him.
"You can not have everything, but you can not complain," he continued. "We have some really nice ones, and I think we will continue to grow in the US over the next few weeks, so let's help each other out. It really helps people to want to see it, and that's the most important thing. That's why I've been working on both films since last summer, without interruption, even as I was preparing this film that I'm going to conduct. Everything that makes people go to the theaters and keep up our numbers. 
As Green Book grows at the box office, Mortensen believes the movie is "kicking ass" on an upward trajectory, and she believes it will be that year gave a lot of positives in the movies. "I find it really great to see a variety of men and women, really low-budget films like The Rider super big productions like Black Panther but very well done." He comments on "veterans like Spike Lee, so many African-American filmmakers and actors who have noticed and done a great job."
Mortensen did not know that Green Book would begin, or how exactly it would register. "You have to do it for the reasons you've signed, ideally because it's a great story," he says. "In this case, it's not just really well constructed and entertaining things, it's profound problems."
As much as Mortensen has found people and projects to celebrate this season, his reaction has been through what he has , tempered and strengthened elsewhere, across the industry. While the Oscar nominee finds meaningful films everywhere, the voices he often hears "year after year" hear, "Oh, what a crappy year for movies."
When he took on the role of Tony Lip and Green Book as a whole, Mortensen felt compelled to make sure that he had understood the character and his story correctly – to make sure this was so good it went movie would be good. His concern was not so much with a real person against whom a performance could be judged. "I played Sigmund Freud. I played a variation of William Burroughs and so on. I did different characters that were real characters, historical characters. "
His fears had more to do with portraying an Italian-American character – given his Danish heritage – and questions of representation. "I am sensitive to the fact that not only are there many great Italian-American actors able to play this role [but also] – a story of memorable Italian-American figures, on television and in films. So I did not want to offend anyone. I did not want to go wrong – with any part, not just this part, "says Mortensen. "I never want to make a caricature. I do not want to copy anything or anyone. I want to do things right. "
In his roles, Mortensen says, all he does is," he tries as best I can to understand and learn as much as possible about the point of view. "From someone else is as me, "a statement he holds for the Green Book in total. Mortensen knew that the dynamics between his character and Ali's would be strong. "It can really get boring when there is no connection, when there is no good rhythm or good dynamics. But we have found our rhythm. We found the music of our scenes and, above all, we both heard each other really well, "says the actor. "And indeed it's the reaction we've both had along the way, making the movie funny, in a sense dramatic and ultimately rewarding."
The observation of the clarity of Mortensen's purpose raises controversy on this season in a new light. In November, the actor participated in a question and answer session moderated by Elvis Mitchell and made the mistake of pronouncing the N-word. In a conversation, not as a slur, but as part of a conversation about evolving racial relationships in America, the commentary was taken out of context, Mortensen placed in the epicenter of contemporary anger, and the frequent onslaught on judgment.
Apologizing Mortensen stands in various passages and ways for his comments behind the Green Book (19459006) and his vital, simple message, suggesting that a setback to himself and the movie does not just come from Internet trolls but also from the political machinery results from Hollywood itself. "It's a great year for the movies, but it's a bad year for …" "The public discourse?" I ask. "Well, yes, that's also in the country, and I do not know if that's connected. But only the campaign tactics, that is the attempt to separate the competition. Of course, business-level nominations and awards help get people to watch a movie, "he says. "What I like is the team of Universal, participant [Media] our team – we did not participate in anything. Just like L: "Hey, here's our movie. We are an open book. Here it is. "I can not say," Do not see this movie. Ours is better. "I'm not at all that."
While Mortensen is a "semi-open" type, he sees all this year's portraits of serious social issues as "All the best." others do not seem to think so. "I think there's always a bit out there, so it's unfortunate," he adds. "But hopefully, people will judge each one's work according to their merit. You can not please everyone, and you can not have everything.
Mortensen is finally proud of the way in which Green Book deals with race and class issues. He admits that " Green Book is obviously not the only film dealing with issues of race and the history of discrimination in the United States." There are many other films, [and] is, is that it is viewed from so many different angles. "For the actor, what was so valuable in the portrayal of the American race relations in the film was" hopeful perspective, which it lays down without ever facing the truth of
"It's a film that does not exclude anyone, it's made for everyone, and it's not a film that preaches to the convert or that speaks or already speaks to a particular section of the population of a particular ideology "It's a movie that does a lot, it's very difficult to do something that's so entertaining, it's for the whole public And that deals with very difficult issues in an intelligent way. "
Mortensen treats problems with various aspects of film criticism related to film, almost like weapons. One of them had to do with the film's point of view – its focus on Vallelonga's development at the expense of Shirley's bow and the complexity of his character. "But if you believe enough in your story, tell it anyway, and I'm firmly convinced that everyone has the right to tell a story of everything he wants. No matter who they are, we should look at history by their own merit, not by the color of the directors or the authors, "he says. "There are obviously certain things that would not be suitable as an actor, but storytelling is storytelling. Humans are humans, and the Green Book of 1945 is an attempt to unite people. Not, as people have said, in a kind of bargain hunting. "
" I've seen the same people accuse the movie of being both a "white savior movie" and a "magical Negro movie" mind. What is that? He says. "It's not, it's just ridiculous, but it's going to be in your direction."
In his work, Mortensen strives to follow his interests, his values, and his beliefs, whatever comes Nowadays, social media turmoil often accompanies such an action, regardless of its purpose, and becomes a prize for the arts. "If you believe in history, you have to make history – which is hard enough to do anything And then you have to do a good job and you have to go out there and promote it, and you have to take the slings and arrows, "says Mortensen." They are part of the way social discourse has unfolded in our country in recent years It's what it's all about. "
Regardless of today's Oscar nominations – whether the Green Book [19459006 was valued or polluted – Mortensen s agt, he feels the same way about the film and the work he's staged. In hectic moments, he returns to the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who was remembered this week with the National Day: "People do not understand each other because they fear each other. They are afraid of each other because they do not know each other. They do not know each other because they did not communicate with each other. "That's what Green Book is about, and ideally, it's about going to the movies," he muses. "It's about communication. Ignorance, this story says, can be eliminated or minimized through direct experience.
In Mortensen's eyes, it's impossible to make a perfect movie. If the #MeToo era has led to many unsettling insights, the notion is that every story has many pages. Life is complex and storytelling too. "You have your story; I have my story. I have my way of seeing your story; other people have other ways of seeing your story, and I try to see other people's stories without having a personal agenda against anyone involved, "muses Mortensen. "I just look at the stories, whether they work or not. I go and pay my money and sit in the dark with strangers. I always want it to work. I want to see a good movie, and if it's not great, what's good about it? I try to find something valuable, and that's all for me. I wish it could be that easy.
In a conversation with those who knew Tony Lip well and those who Dr. Shirley knew, found confirmation and consolation for Mortensen – and when he goes into production with his first production he will also have the opportunity to present his own perspective from a new point of view. Mortensen, who has been trying to set up a handful of films as a director since the mid-1990s and learned from all the great writers and directors he worked with, finally succeeded in convincing Mortensen Falling , A contemporary portrait of a father in the '80s, in the early stages of dementia and his son in the' 50s, the film will explore with flashbacks to "not really eye-to-eye" in the conflictual relationship of the characters examine with Mortensen, who plays the son.
"It's a story about letting go on both sides and finding a connection, despite all the scars and damage done.I think many people can relate to that, with their own family or with society, as it sometimes is, "says the actor who became a director, for Mortensen the director's idea is" an unknown, great challenge – probably even more than playing Tony Vallelonga. "
I point it out That the film could in a way be a continuation of the conversation. He talked all season – a conversation about how we can connect and accept that he acknowledges the damage done and tries to turn the page. "Me think so, yes, in a way it is, "the actor says with appreciation." Try to find a way to get along, at least to ver Even if you fail first or are never quite successful, the fact that you make an effort makes a difference.
"Even if they are not accepted or rejected or unjustifiably" He adds, "You still have to do the right thing."
When he turns the page for himself, Mortensen is not quite finished yet with Green Book . When news of his nomination arrived this morning, his Toronto production workers brought him a "big, giant box of fried chicken" for lunch to congratulate him. "A nice joke," he laughs – one who appreciates the people who saw the movie. "I will go in now."