Viggo Mortensen tells all about ''Rings: Two.'' Get ready -- Aragorn's role is growing as the adventure through Middle-earth continues

By Liane Bonin
Updated December 06, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Viggo Mortensen: Todd Plitt

When ”Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” opens Dec. 18, women everywhere will swoon simultaneously as hunky Aragorn (otherwise known as Viggo Mortensen) swashbuckles his way through fields of Orcs and other Middle-earth baddies. talked to Mortensen, 44, about getting too committed to the role, supporting your local Hobbit, and why he’s not the hottie we think he is.

How is ”The Two Towers” different from ”The Fellowship of the Ring”?
It’s a harder story. The landscapes are still beautiful, but the odds are much higher. The enemy is closer. And Aragorn’s role is changing as well.

He ends up taking on more responsibility. There’s more pressure on him to lead by example and think on his feet, and he has to draw on his knowledge of different cultures to survive. More than any other character in the movie he’s a bridge, culturally speaking. He’s worked with all these different peoples, so that’s made him uniquely qualified to lead at this stage.

Would you say this is Aragorn’s movie, as ”Fellowship” was Frodo Baggins’?
The truth is, there isn’t any one hero in the whole story, and that’s what I like about it. It’s a group of people of different races who are flawed, or have their moments of doubt, and they have to overcome those problems individually in order to give themselves to the group. The idea is, Do what you can to be of service to society first and foremost, and that’s what’s great about it.

It’s been reported that you went a little overboard getting into character, sleeping in the woods with your sword and never changing out of wardrobe. Very method of you.
The way it was written, it sounded like I was doing that all the time, which I wasn’t. I wanted to take advantage of being in New Zealand, so sometimes I’d go hiking or fishing and would stay overnight in some places. And people thought I was always in my wardrobe just because I was filming all the time. Because I didn’t have the rehearsal time everyone else did, I was immersed from the beginning, and I just kind of stayed that way.

Did you really buy the horse you rode in the movie? Most people just steal wardrobe.
Yeah, the one I rode and another one. I haven’t brought them over here yet because they keep using them for reshoots. It ended up being a good thing I bought them, because they sold some of the other horses and then they weren’t available when the filmmakers needed them. So it turned out to be a practical purchase, but I just really liked them. We went through a lot together.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 179 minutes
  • Peter Jackson