The Lord of the Rings actor reflected on the Academy Award-winning film while promoting his new project, which has also been criticized.

By Rosy Cordero
December 06, 2020 at 02:37 PM EST
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Credit: Universal Pictures

Viggo Mortensen is revisiting criticism of Green Book, the Academy Award-winning film about a Black concert pianist (played by Mahershala Ali) and his Italian-American driver (Mortensen) that was heavily lampooned for its white savior narrative.

“Much of the criticism that was leveled at that movie was not only unreasonable, but it was inaccurate, mendacious, and irresponsible,” Mortensen said in a new interview with the Independent. “It’s based on a load of bulls--- and an axe to grind and little else. Does it affect what I’m doing, or how people perceive me as an actor? Maybe it does. But I can’t really do anything about that.”

He added, “It’s become a cliché to say, ‘Is this movie going to be the Green Book of this year?’ Green Book has become a pejorative.” 

Mortensen is currently promoting Falling, a project he wrote, directed scored, and starred in, about a middle-aged gay man (Mortensen), who cares for his homophobic father (Lance Henriksen) as he battles dementia. The drama is forcing the filmmaker to address comments about why, as a straight man, he didn't hire someone from the LGBTQ community to play the role of John Peterson.

He told the outlet he "wouldn’t think of asking someone what their sexual orientation or identification was. Neither do I assume that actors who identify as being homosexual only want to play homosexual roles. I wasn’t intending to play John, but I ended up playing him, because I had a high enough profile, and I also didn’t have to pay the actor."

In a later interview with The Times, Mortensen suggests people shouldn't assume they know about his personal life.

"And how do you know what my life is? You’re assuming that I’m completely straight. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. And it’s frankly none of your business,” he said. “I want my movie to work, and I want the character of John to be effective. So if I didn’t think it was a good idea, I wouldn’t do it.”

Falling has already been released in the U.K. with no release date set for the U.S. of yet.

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