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Viggo Mortensen claims he’s playing a gay character in his new film because it was cheaper than hiring a gay actor

Nick Duffy December 7, 2020
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Danish-US actor Viggo Mortensen poses as he arrives the premiere of his new movie Falling in Copenhagen on October 26

Danish-US actor Viggo Mortensen poses as he arrives the premiere of his new movie Falling in Copenhagen on October 26 (Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Viggo Mortensen has said he is playing a gay character in his directorial debut because it was cheaper than hiring someone else to play the part.

The Lord of the Rings star wrote, directed and stars in his upcoming film Falling, which sees him play a gay man who finds himself caring for his racist and homophobic father, played by Lance Henriksen, after he starts showing symptoms of dementia.

Ahead of its release, Mortensen has repeatedly spoken about the “healthy” debate on who should play gay characters, defending his decision to take on the role himself.

Viggo Mortensen says it was too expensive to cast another actor

In a fresh interview with The Independent, Mortensen said he had cast himself in the lead role because it was cheaper than hiring an actor for a role in the film, which he previously said cost around $6 million to make.

He said: “[I] 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.”

Viggo Mortensen has said he is playing a gay character in his directorial debut because it was cheaper than hiring someone else
Viggo Mortensen has said he is playing a gay character in his directorial debut because it was cheaper than hiring someone else (LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty)

He added: “In terms of writing the role, it wasn’t some kind of stunt to be politically relevant. I just felt, ‘In the next scene, we’re going to meet the wife.  Maybe it is not a wife, maybe it’s a husband, what would that be like?’

“And I tried writing the scene and I liked it, and I liked the additional layers that it gave to the relationship between John and his father. That’s how it happened – organically.

“But, yes, there’s no need to ask people how they see themselves. What’s important to me is the person that will do a good job in this role.”

Actor has said he might not be ‘completely straight’

Viggo Mortensen, who lives with his female partner and has a son by his previous marriage to a woman, previously suggested he may not be entirely straight while defending the role.

He said: “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.

“I want my movie to work, and I want the character of John to be effective. If I didn’t think it was a good idea I wouldn’t do it.”

Related topics: Falling, Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortensen

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