Mortensen, Viggo: Profile (2008)

This is Viggo Mortensen's biggest year, in which he stars in three major, vastly different films: the Western “Appaloosa,” the period drama “Good,” and the apoclyptic Western drama “The Road,” based on the Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, who also wrote “No Country for Old Men.”

Mortensen plays Everett Hitch, a co-starring role in “Appaloosa,” Ed Harris's new Western, in which the director also produced and appears in as an actor.

Mortensen has consistently earned acclaim for his work in a wide range of films, most recently including Eastern Promises, A History of Violence and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This past year, he was honored with Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and BAFTA Award nominations for Best Actor for his performance in Eastern Promises, directed by David Cronenberg. In addition, Mortensen won a British Independent Film Award and several critics groups awards for his work in the film. He had previously collaborated with Cronenberg in the 2005 drama A History of Violence, in which he starred with Ed Harris.

Mortensen earlier shared in a SAG Award, a Critics Choice Award and a National Board of Review Award as a member of the ensemble cast of the Oscar-winning Best Picture The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. He also starred in the previous two installments of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.

Following Appaloosa, Mortensen has two more films due out this fall. One of these is Good, based on the play by C.P. Taylor, which explores the rise of National Socialism in Germany. The film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. In November, Mortensen stars in The Road, John Hillcoats film adaptation of Cormac McCarthys best-selling novel about a father and son traveling down a post-apocalyptic road in search of safety.

Mortensen was born in New York City to an American mother and a Danish father. His family traveled extensively, however, and he spent most of his first 11 years living in South America. He later spent a few years living and working in Denmark. He began acting in New York, studying with Warren Robertson, and appeared in several plays and movies before moving to Los Angeles.

Mortensen made his feature film debut as a young Amish farmer in director Peter Weirs Witness and has since delivered a steady string of memorable performances in more than 40 feature films. He has received praise from critics for his work in such films as Alatriste, G.I. Jane, A Walk on the Moon, La Pistola de Mi Hermano, The Portrait of a Lady, Crimson Tide, Carlitos Way, The Indian Runner and The Reflecting Skin, to name only a few.

Apart from his acting, Mortensen is also an accomplished poet, photographer, and painter. In 2002, he founded Perceval Press, an independent publishing house specializing in art, poetry, and critical writing. Percevals mission is to publish texts, images, and recordings that might not otherwise be presented.

Most recently, Mortensen exhibited the photographic series Skovbo in Iceland, at the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, and The Nature of Landscape and Independent Perception, with George Gudni, at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Past shows include Miyelo at both the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and the Addison Ripley Gallery in Washington, D.C. Mortensen has also shown his work at the Robert Mann Gallery in New York City, as well as in New Zealand, Denmark, and Cuba. On October 18, his photographic exhibition Sdanset will open in Roskilde, Denmark, at the Palfljen exhibition space. His books of photography and writing are available from Perceval Press.

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