You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viggo Mortensen on a Kudos Roll With ‘Captain Fantastic’

The versatile Viggo Mortensen has played a Ranger of the North, an undercover agent in the Russian mafia, and a small-town father with a secret past in the Irish mob. But it’s his role in “Captain Fantastic” that is earning him some of the best reviews of his career, along with Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for his performance. And now the actor is being honored with the Variety Creative Impact in Acting Award at the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival.

In the film, Mortensen plays Ben Cash, a father of six who chooses to live off the grid in the wilderness of Washington, learning survival skills and studying philosophy. When his wife passes away, he embarks with his offbeat family on a road trip in the family bus to her funeral.

Written and directed by Matt Ross, the film is a seamless blend of humor and drama, heartfelt and intelligent without ever feeling esoteric. It’s a part that seems tailormade for the actor, who is also a poet and musician. In fact, when Ross first sent his star books to prepare for the role, he learned that Mortensen already owned most of them. The actor even journeyed to the set weeks in advance to live on the land and plant the garden seen in the movie.

Mortensen admits he admired the script and character a great deal. “I always look at the story first, and it was a great blueprint. Along with that, it was a character I liked,” he says. “I also have to ask myself if I’m honestly the best actor for it. There have been cases where I didn’t think I was the best choice, and I’ve said so.”

Which is not to say he is always on the same page as the character. “There are aspects of Ben I don’t’ see eye to eye with. But I like looking at the world through his point of view.” But he adds that part of the appeal of the script was the questions is raises and how “it doesn’t look for an easy way out.”

Though the indie film was made on a small budget, the response from audiences and word-of-mouth have been strong. “The reactions have been amazing. The hype that gets generated is usually in a more mechanical way, where you have to try and convince people to see it. This has happened in a natural way. Which is great; we don’t have the kind of PR budget to try and brainwash people into loving it.”

More Film

  • Critics Week

    Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Its Lineup

    Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film [...]

  • China Box Office: 'Wonder Park' Fails

    China Box Office: 'Wonder Park' Fails to Impress While 'P Storm' Rages On

    Even on one of the quietest weekends of the year, new U.S. animated release “Wonder Park” failed to inspire Chinese audiences as much as Hong Kong and Indian movies already in their third weekend in theaters. Starring the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, and Ken Jeong, among many others, the film [...]

  • David Picker dead

    David Picker, Studio Chief Who Acquired James Bond Novels for UA, Dies at 87

    David Picker, who headed United Artists, Paramount and Columbia’s motion picture divisions and was known for forging relationships with groundbreaking filmmakers and material, died Saturday in New York. He was 87 and had been suffering from colon cancer. MGM tweeted, “We are saddened to hear that a member of the United Artists family has passed [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International

    'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International Box Office With $30 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” led the way at the international box office, summoning $30 million when it opened in 71 foreign markets. The supernatural thriller collected $26.5 million in North America for a global start of $56.5 million. “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, [...]

  • Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona'

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Wins Worst Easter Weekend in Over a Decade

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” ascended to the top of domestic box office charts, conjuring $26.5 million when it opened in 3,372 North American theaters. “La Llorona” is the latest horror movie to outperform expectations, further cementing the genre as one of the most reliable box office draws. Even so, [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content