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Viggo Mortensen walks into the room at New York's Waldorf-Astoria barefoot, like a hobbit, or like Peter Jackson, the director who cast Mortensen as the mysterious Aragorn, son of Arathorn, also known as Strider, in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and its subsequent installments.

"No, I'm not doing a hobbit thing or a Peter Jackson thing," Mortensen says amicably, referring to his unshod extremities. "I'm doing a Viggo Mortensen thing."

Playing the hero suits Mortensen fine
Philadelphia Enquirer, Jan '02
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I am convinced that your Aragorn exists independently of you. There are people, who claim to be Viggo-Fans, but in reality they are Aragorn fans. They fall in love with this character and identify themselves with him, because the fantasy behind is important for them. Maybe these people, who you thought were your fans can’t stand you in our movie.

Two-Men-Show in VOGUE DEUTSCH (Nov., 2005) as translated by always smiling
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(DC discussing VM)

How could I know how you looked for real? It could be that Aragorn form LOTR had Fans, but no one could have the slightest idea that it was you. You were practically an unknown before I took you out of the gutter.

Two-Men-Show in VOGUE DEUTSCH (Nov., 2005) as translated by always smiling
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But post-"Rings," Mortensen is still the same talent that he always was. With about 36 movies under his belt, the respected actor knows what he likes. The difference is that he now gets to talk on national television to Charlie Rose and David Letterman. But he still chooses such offbeat projects as the horse adventure "Hidalgo" or "Violence," which was brainy and arty enough to win a competition slot at the Festival de Cannes. While he could have capitalized on his new fame and solidified his fan base by choosing more commercial pictures, Mortensen isn't inclined to sell his soul for box office gold. Next up is the starring role in the $28 million Spanish-language swashbuckler "Alatriste."

'Rings' springboard pays off big for some

By Anne Thompson
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As Peter Jackson's record-breaking adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings began to take over the world two years ago, Mortensen retreated. Not for him the quick cash-in roles, the wham-bam-thank-you-mam blaze of multiplex fodder that would have no doubt made him a very wealthy man. Instead, he waited. And waited.

"I just couldn't bring myself to sign up to the kind of clichéd nonsense that I was being sent," he says. "Especially after an experience like The Lord Of The Rings. I'm not in this to be famous, or to make lots and lots of money; I want every film I make to be a learning experience, something that makes me wiser and mentally healthier afterwards. If I'd signed up for the scripts I was being sent, I'd merely be wealthier, but I certainly wouldn't be healthier."

Long Live the King, by Paul Byrne, Wow.ie, 2004

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