WWD: What does it mean to you to be singled out for Sunday’s Golden Globes?
Viggo Mortensen: Those of us on the team who made “Captain Fantastic,” we know that our story is a beautiful story. It’s thought provoking. Almost across the board, people have told me over and over again that it made them laugh, it made them cry, and it made them think. You can’t ask for more than that, you know? I’m not surprised that people recognize the film’s quality, but I guess I am surprised that the business being the way it is where there’s such an onslaught of publicity money spent on ads and so forth, that our movie doesn’t have the ability to do, that we’re still in the so-called conversation at this point. It’s gratifying. It’s unusual.
WWD: Your character in the film lives off the grid. Has your role in the film stayed with you in any way?
V.M.: The main way the movie stayed with me was, as the election was approaching and then in the post-election bewilderment hangover, there’s a stupor that we’re still in, like, “Is this really happening?” The movie has gained another level of interest from audiences. It speaks to our times in the polarization of society, the lack of decent communication between people, the lack of listening, being flexible. The reaction from audiences after the election, it’s a lot more intense in that regard, in terms of our society. We need to change, not necessarily live off the grid, but we need to be open to other ideas. Just as the characters in the story do, we need to evolve. No one has all the answers. No one is completely right. And the more we listen to each other, the more we’re going to be able to figure out what our common ground is. Right now, there’s not a lot of that happening.
WWD: What are you working on next?
V.M.: I don’t have an acting job, but there’s stuff I’m doing. I have a publishing house, so I’m working on some new books. I’ve written a couple screenplays. I’m trying to find the financing so I can direct a movie, which I’ve been wanting to do.
WWD: Why did you launch Perceval Press in 2002? What do you enjoy about that work?
V.M.: As an editor at a publishing house, you get to help people solve problems and deal with obstacles creatively. In a way that’s a lot easier to do than if I’m trying to edit my own work, poetry or whatever. It’s like talking to a friend. You have an objectivity that they don’t have because they’re stuck in this situation. As an editor I can help other writers and other artists solve the problems of how to present their work, how it should look, making selections of let’s say, poetry or even titles, artwork, whatever they’re worried about. In the end, the goal is for them to present something that they feel represents their vision and their particular point of view. And that’s what directors do; the best ones guide actors, they guide the story, they let the story guide them.