Viggo Mortenson turns 58 today. He made his film debut in a small role in Peter Weirâs Witness. In the 1990s he kept very busy, sometimes making as many as five films in a year, generally in supporting roles which grew larger as the decade went on. He appeared in a pair of military action thrillers, Crimson Tide and G. I. Jane, and a pair of Hitchcock remakes, Gus Van Santâs Psycho and Andrew Davisâs A Perfect Murder (pretty much Dial M for Murder with a few details changed).
In 1999, Mortensen was offered the chance to replace Stuart Townsend in a major role in a fantasy film trilogy to be filmed in New Zealand. He might not have accepted the part had his son not been a Tolkien enthusiast:
After his success as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mortensen might have gone on to become a major action hero, but except for Hidalgo he hasnât done so. He has appeared in a number of critically acclaimed films over the past dozen years or so. In particular, his three films with David CronenbergâA History of Violence, Eastern Promises, and A Dangerous Methodâhave brought him a number of accolades, including an Oscar nomination and a pair of Golden Globe nominations. He has also found time over the course of his career to publish several volumes of poetry and photography.