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The Russian underworld types he found to school him in their ways finally relaxed "once they realized I wasn't going to make fun of them," he says. "We kind of worried he'd never come back and we'd never find out what happened to him, until we'd probably find him running the country eventually," says Cronenberg, who insists Mortensen "takes the best out of Method and leaves the bullshit behind." As Aragorn, a caped crusader in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, he supposedly slept for weeks in his medieval getup.
Cronenberg suggests this had less to do with any Methodmania (as was conjectured) than it was an attempt to render the costume less obviously a costume.
At first, Mortensen is so fiercely contained that you can't help but wonder if he's one of those Method fanatics who prefers to live in character.
He's been reading “The Life of John Wesley Hardin.” An outlaw and a gunslinger, Hardin once shot a man for snoring — but always claimed he never killed anyone who didn't need killing. Prepping for his next major release, “Good,” which wrapped several months ago, Mortensen tried to visit all the concentration camps in Poland to better play the film's lead, a university professor who finds himself tangled up in the issue of euthanasia in Nazi Germany.
In the business, he's that worldly poetic soul who can do credible justice to gangland Russian, Sioux, or Elvish dialects. That guy who never kills anyone who doesn't need killing.In David Cronenberg's “A History of Violence,” he is Tom Stall, an upstanding family man who has somehow, somewhere learned to break a man as easily as he pours him a cup of coffee at his diner.Called back from the reserves to star in Cronenberg's “Eastern Promises,” Mortensen is Nikolai the chauffeur, whose tattoos advertise a moderately successful, mid-level career in the Russian mafia while the wraparound shades mask surprising humanitarian impulses."I have a 1948 pickup truck, and that's a very simple engine.But today, I think you need to be some kind of specialist." Before the stage scooped him up, he sold flowers on the street, moved furniture, was a longshoreman.