Viggo Mortensen talks The Hobbit

"It'll probably be as bewildering as the other three."

Lord Of The Rings star Viggo Mortensen has spoken to totalfilm.com about The Hobbit, addressing speculation as to whether he’ll reprise his role as Aragorn.

“I’d rather finish the job myself than have another actor do it,” says Mortensen. “I’m interested in principle, but I’d want to see it done in the right spirit of Tolkien.”

Viggo gave a nod of approval to new director Guillermo del Toro, saying, “He’s strongminded, intelligent and probably just as stubborn [as Jackson].

"I don’t know if it’ll be as big a circus [as the Trilogy] in terms of several people writing changes at the last minute.

“Maybe it’ll be more streamlined and efficient, but to some degree it’ll probably be as bewildering a set-up as the other three.”

Mortensen also claims the original trilogy became more led by effects as the series progressed.

“The Fellowship Of The Ring for me was the one most faithful to Tolkien. The one that had the most to do with any kind of subtlety in terms of performance and storytelling.

“Starting with the second one it became more of a blockbuster special effects thing. That’s not to say as that type of movie they weren’t the best.

"You can’t argue with the films’ success, but had it been me, I would have focused less on the effects and more on the characterisations.

“I’d have allowed the secondary characters to speak more and not be so focused on the heroes. There was more balance in the way that all the races of Middle-earth were presented in the first one. It was more about the relationships… That’s just my personal taste.”

See the new issue of Total Film Magazine for a full version of our Viggo Mortensen interview.

Comments

    • Mirabella

      Feb 5th 2009, 3:59

      I would like to see more of the relationships in the movie also. Tolkien had such deep faith. There is a small reference in the beginning of The Hobbit about a night fire, in the distance. Rangers were guarding the Shire, maybe even at that time, and I like to see that as a Ranger's campfire as he is watching over the hobbits. Also looking forward to seeing the characters develop as they encounter the other races in the story and their prejudices are challenged, along the lines of the Gimli/Legolas friendship in LOR. Best wishes to Viggo and hope to see him finish his role as Aragorn.

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    • AntoniusBlock

      Feb 13th 2009, 10:03

      I agree with Viggo, that is why the extended versions are so much better, and probably each should have been, yes, a little bit longer. Two Towers simply strayed too far from the book and the Rohan characters didn't quite connect with the others as they should have. Anyway, I hope Viggo returns, he is a great actor, and was great as Strider.His role should be prominent in the second film, along with Gandalf. Ah, Viggo and McKellan reprising their roles as these great characters, second film can't miss, can it? Hope GDT doesn't shy away from 'Gandalf the Grey uncloaked', as PJ did somewhat.

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    • pujdak

      Feb 16th 2009, 20:15

      Dear Mirabella I remember reading the same - wasnt their some Elves watching over the shire as well? Curious why were the Rangers watching over the Shire - did they know that Bilbo had the ring? PS I have a web site www.pujdak.com Im an artist I have a painting of the fellowship in their that I did ..check it out..blessings Nicholas

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    • Mirabella

      Feb 28th 2009, 4:35

      Yes it could be Elves, maybe just passing through, maybe going to the Grey Havens. I suppose it was the elves who would have given Gandalf news of the Shire before any of The Hobbit took place, I think Sauron was around at that time (as the Necromancer) and Gandalf kept tabs on him and all peoples in Middle Earth. I just like the image of that fire being a Rangers , I guess. It all points to the detail and depth that Tolkien gives the story and so then the importance of highlighting the relationships in the movie storyline, so it isn't just characters showing up out of nowhere,having a big action sequence and then on to the next. So I was so glad to hear VM express a wish to remain true to the spirit of Tolkien and I hope they do, because this to me is what made the LOR movies great and will set the Hobbit right alongside them.

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    • Jedman87

      Mar 4th 2009, 21:00

      If i remember correctly, the rangers were not invented until well after the hobbit was published. It was only while creating the LotR that tolkien decided to retroactively make the "magic ring" The Ring of Sauron, and again, the Necromancer was retroactively changed to be Sauron in disguise. Gondor had not been created yet, nor the legends of Numenor, and all that stuff until way into the LotR, and even when he was finished, he still needed to tidy up all that back-stuff into the Silmarllion. While it would be nice to have a 'nod' at the rangers and elves in the hobbit, the truth is the concept did not fully evolve until much later.

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    • Siaan

      Mar 9th 2009, 7:54

      Firstly, in reply to Jedman, I don't think its a case that 'rangers' or 'Gondor' or anything else wasn't created at the time of the publication of The Hobbit. The Silmarillion was never intended as a completed worx by Tolkien, but rather was a collection of all his background notes and formulations of the world he'd created. The Hobbit was intended as more of a childrens' story rather than an epic like the LotR trilogy, and thus would not be expected to contain all the detail found in the latter. There is very little time between The Hobbit and LotR, in which case Aragorn certainly was alive during the time of The Hobbit. These things did not need to be mentioned 'in' The Hobbit to prove they did already exist; the creation of Middle-Earth was still only young in Tolkien's develoment at this time, but his intention to develop an epic for the modern generation of adults was (almost) a continuation on from the Hobbit, which several 'leads' in The Hobbit being developed later in the LotR (Mirkwood, Balin's tomb, etc). Regardless, I would have to say that I really agree with Mortensen about the development of the Trilogy. For me too, the second and third films focused too much on special effects, lacking the beauty and subtlety of the FotR. It's nice to know that someone so intrinsic to the films shares those views, and is committed enough to finally express those views now that the hype around the LotR Trilogy has passed.

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    • pujdak

      Mar 16th 2009, 7:06

      Question then to all : Im a real admire of Tolkien's work but not as well versed as the rest of you are.. So why was Viggo watching over the shire at all - like I previously asked did he know the ring was there? So Elves did not visit the Shire at all but knew of its exsistance? I thought it was a shame that more of the Rangers were not in the Return of the King and or Elronds sons - but I guess only so much time to get so much in a film.. thanks for your help - Nicholas

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    • Boomshakah

      Jan 8th 2011, 18:28

      @pujdak: Aragorn and Gandalf both explain in the LOTR books that the world has been becoming darker and darker for a long time, not just since Frodo found the Ring. Sauron was building up his power in order to search for the ring, and he had become the infamous "Necromancer" in the south of Mirkwood at the time of The Hobbit. With all of that evil influence in the world, Aragorn and the Rangers had been on heightened alert, guarding many areas of the world that were otherwise unaware of what was going on, and which were certainly unaware of the Rangers themselves. They were definitely guarding the Shire, a number of years before the events in The Hobbit took place. Aragorn (who as you may know from the extended edition of the film, was over 80 years old at the time of LOTR because of his elven heritage) led Rangers all over Middle Earth, even on the outskirts of Mordor, trying to find out the plans of the Enemy and thwart them. There's plenty of "background justification" for Aragorn being around at the time of the movie, but I don't know how they could do it from a movie-making perspective. They can't give him TOO major of a role without betraying the integrity of the book - unless he's featured in the flashback scenes as is Frodo, or in the Dol Guldur sequence which, it's now confirmed, is being added to the movie. (From a "wow" standpoint, that's the sequence in the film I'm most looking forward to).

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    • Boomshakah

      Jan 8th 2011, 18:28

      @pujdak: Aragorn and Gandalf both explain in the LOTR books that the world has been becoming darker and darker for a long time, not just since Frodo found the Ring. Sauron was building up his power in order to search for the ring, and he had become the infamous "Necromancer" in the south of Mirkwood at the time of The Hobbit. With all of that evil influence in the world, Aragorn and the Rangers had been on heightened alert, guarding many areas of the world that were otherwise unaware of what was going on, and which were certainly unaware of the Rangers themselves. They were definitely guarding the Shire, a number of years before the events in The Hobbit took place. Aragorn (who as you may know from the extended edition of the film, was over 80 years old at the time of LOTR because of his elven heritage) led Rangers all over Middle Earth, even on the outskirts of Mordor, trying to find out the plans of the Enemy and thwart them. There's plenty of "background justification" for Aragorn being around at the time of the movie, but I don't know how they could do it from a movie-making perspective. They can't give him TOO major of a role without betraying the integrity of the book - unless he's featured in the flashback scenes as is Frodo, or in the Dol Guldur sequence which, it's now confirmed, is being added to the movie. (From a "wow" standpoint, that's the sequence in the film I'm most looking forward to).

      Alert a moderator