Little is known about Amazon’s big-budget Lord of the Rings TV series except that it will likely to focus on a younger version of the character, Aragorn. Luckily for whoever is cast as the Young Aragorn in the series, the older version, Viggo Mortensen, has some advice for him.
Collider talked to Mortensen while he was promoting his Oscar-season favorite Green Book, when the topic of playing Aragorn came up. This is the advice the actor had to give:
I would say, not only read the book, you know, very thoroughly, that giant book of Lord of the Rings, but you could read some of the Nordic sagas. You’ll get some clues there as to where Tolkien got his information. Like, Sigurd the Dragon Slayer, and the Volsunga saga. Read that.
Mortensen, helpful guy that he is, has advice for the second guy to play Young Aragorn after whoever is cast first is fired—maybe don’t do it:
Lord of the Rings was a case where I replaced an actor and they were already filming – not only filming, but they’d been rehearsing for months and learning all these skills they had to have for those movies – language skills, invented the Elvish, and swordplay, and horse riding, all this stuff. And I was kind of freaked out because I said yeah and I’m on the plane, on this 13 hour plane flight, and I’m looking at the book, which I had never read. But as I started looking at it, I was like, ‘Well, there’s something.’ There’s always something that you can draw on. I had read or been read to as a kid, stories about Vikings and Nordic sagas and stuff, and there was something there that was familiar, but it was still – you know, fortunately when I started doing that shoot it was physical stuff, not dialogue. So it was like sword fighting, so I could get my feet wet with that before I actually had to start speaking. It’s not ideal, but it seemed – my son was really into me doing it, and he was 11 at the time, and that kind of pushed me over the edge to say, ‘Yeah, okay.’ And obviously I’m glad I did it. It opened a lot of doors for me, and we had a lot of fun making those three movies. But it’s not ideal. I sometimes have said no because I’m not gonna be able to do justice to it.
For those of you who don’t know and/or remember, Stuart Townsend was originally cast as Aragorn, but was let go a day before principal shooting began because director Peter Jackson thought the then 26-years-old Townsend too young to play the role. The then 41-years-old Mortensen stepped in, and the doors his work as Aragorn opened for him has led to two Oscar nominations so far.