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Mortensen rings up the Coolidge Award

Hail Fellowship Well Met
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 7, 2012

PÉDO MELLON A MINNO, BITCHES That's right, Viggo Mortensen speaks Elvish. That's just how awesome he is.
That Viggo Mortensen sure knows how to have a good time. Mortensen was in town this past week to receive the Ninth Annual Coolidge Award, and on Sunday, the actor dropped in at the marathon screening of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and regaled the gathered faithful with a song in Elvish. At the press conference on Monday, he expressed his amazement at the crowd's enthusiasm and compared it to those that attended the opening night of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in Oslo in 2003.

"People had been lining up for a month, all in costume, with their weapons and props," he said. "This was winter in Oslo. People on the sidewalk in sleeping bags, people bringing them soup and coffee, Internet connections, first aid, and psychiatric counseling. Because, in fact, some people ended up getting divorced as a result."

Mortensen speculated that the appeal of the series lay in the source, J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic. "The quality of the special effects, technically, won't hold up. Maybe even The Hobbit [Peter Jackson's upcoming adaptation of Tolkien's first Middle Earth novel] will do better. But I think the essential thing that got to people was the book. The fans of Harry Potter are every bit as devoted as the Lord of the Rings fans. But as good as those movies are, they aren't as profound. Those movies that Peter Jackson made, because of their foundation, are going to last. Not to put down the fans of Harry Potter, but the Lord of the Ring fans have more going for them than 'I love Legolas.' Although in some cases maybe it's only that. [The movie trilogy] could have used some editing, but so could the Bible."

Just before he left to conduct a Q&A for a screening of David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises (2007), someone asked which of his many talents — acting, painting, songwriting, poetry — he valued most.

"I think they are all related," he said. "They are branches of the same tree. I just like telling stories. The stories we tell about ourselves are who we are. And the stories we tell about others are who we are. That's how we deal with the puzzling fact that we're here. We'll never know why we're here, no matter what's written down. But it's fun to try to find out. That's what I think I'm doing. Or maybe that's just a story I'm telling."

READ: "Oscar post mortem; Interviews with the snubbed: Viggo Mortensen -- Coolidge Award Winner," by Peter Keough

Related: Review: Beautiful Darling, Heart of gold, Review: Neil Young Trunk Show, More more >
  Topics: Features , film, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Lord of the Rings,  More more >
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