Screen Tests

Episode 75

Emma Watson

Episode 63

Jared Leto

Episode 56

Will Ferrell

Episode 55

Lea Seydoux

Episode 52

Emma Watson

Episode 49

Richard Gere

Episode 47

Joan Smalls

Episode 41

Karlie Kloss

Episode 40

Tom Cruise

Episode 39

Clive Owen

Episode 37

Jessica Biel

Episode 35

Uggie

Episode 34

James Franco

Episode 32

Viola Davis

Episode 31

Jonah Hill

Episode 24

Melissa Leo

Episode 18

Mila Kunis

Episode 16

Mark Ruffalo

Episode 14

Emma Stone

Episode 4

Viggo Mortensen Doesn’t Usually Allow Himself to Be Pampered, But He Made an Exception on His Birthday

Viggo Mortensen is a serious man. He prefers his birthdays pass unremarked — except one year, when he welcomed breakfast in bed and a bit of pampering. Here, the 'Captain Fantastic' actor discusses this, his most memorable birthday, and how he fell into acting after consulting the Yellow Pages.

Released on 1/25/2017

Credit

Transcript

00:03
I call the tree, Viggo, that I planted.
00:05
It's big, it's an oak.
00:07
Theatre workshop was the first thing I auditioned for.
00:11
It had no experience in theater or movies or anything.
00:14
When I was 22, 23, pretty late for an actor,
00:16
and I wondered what the trick was.
00:18
How is it that they can make you feel things?
00:21
Visceral, how is it that you walk out of the movie theater
00:24
and you're shocked that you're walking
00:25
down the street in Manhattan
00:27
and you're not in the Sahara desert or something.
00:28
I just wondered how it was done, so I thought,
00:30
well I'm going to try it out for being an actor.
00:33
So, I looked in the yellow pages in a Manhattan phone book,
00:36
and I saw something that said Actor's Repertory Theater.
00:39
I called up, and I said, "what are you guys doing?
00:41
What's the play?"
00:42
And they said, "there is no play,
00:44
but you can come back and you can go to class."
00:46
That's how I started.
00:48
I like storytelling and the movies,
00:49
that's my main attraction to work in the movies.
00:53
I'm looking for stories that
00:55
I want to see in the movie theater.
00:57
Even if I don't end up being in them.
00:59
If I've read Captain Fantastic and for whatever reason
01:01
not been available or not really wanted to play the role,
01:05
I still would have been anxious to see the movie.
01:09
There's a few that I particularly admired at that point
01:13
where I made that transition from just being a member
01:16
of the audience to being a member of the audience who
01:19
wondered what the trick was and how it was done.
01:21
I guess female roles, mostly.
01:23
Meryl Streep's work in the Deer Hunter
01:26
and then Sophie's Choice.
01:27
Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann,
01:30
as mother and daughter,
01:32
just their acting there was something so raw.
01:35
There's a lot of bad actresses out there,
01:38
just like there's a lot of bad actors,
01:39
but I think women tend to be able to act.
01:42
I think life teaches them to be better at it.
01:45
I think women and life, historically, have had to act
01:50
out of self protection in a world of men.
01:53
They have to be very resourceful
01:55
and they have to play roles.
01:56
Not in a submissive way,
01:58
but play vulnerable or needing help.
02:01
I'm talking about historically,
02:03
just to function and get ahead and get what they want.
02:07
Traditionally, that's changed a lot.
02:09
I'll get hammered for saying that.
02:11
I'm not saying all women and men
02:14
who maybe have a feminine side or more sensitive side.
02:17
I'm thinking even great actors like Marlon Brando.
02:20
For as masculine as he was, definitely had a feminine side
02:24
that came out in most of his roles, I think.
02:28
Even in a role like Last Tango In Paris,
02:30
in which he's this man who's seducing this young woman
02:37
and says these macho things and does these sort of bullish,
02:42
sexuallyaggressive behavior,
02:45
but there's something about, well obviously,
02:47
emotionally that character has a very strong feminine side.
02:51
He just had that quality.
02:53
Another actor, Ian Montgomery Clift.
02:55
I think the best actor's have that.
02:57
Christopher Walken, extraterrestrial.
03:00
[laughter]
03:01
Feminine side, I don't know.
03:03
As an actor you are going to do better if you don't go
03:06
through life with a hand tied behind your back on any level.
03:10
My own birthday?
03:11
My birthdays are often, I'm often working
03:13
and I'm very pleased if no one remembers.
03:16
Some people are the opposite,
03:18
they're crushed if nobody remembers.
03:20
It's not that I dislike them,
03:21
but I like it to be my own sort of day of reflection,
03:24
and I'm happy to go through the day and no one remembers.
03:26
That's okay.
03:27
My last birthday I was pampered in a way
03:30
that I'm not accustomed to.
03:32
I got to sleep in very late.
03:34
I was given breakfast in bed.
03:37
I actually allowed myself to be pampered,
03:40
which is not something I am that comfortable with,
03:41
usually I like to just take care of my own things myself.