- Christophe Lambert, Greystoke, The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1983. It was not until a British Film Institute interview in 2012, that someone confirmed that Mortensen had been (almost) on the vine for the ape-man. That someone was… Mortensen, himself.
- Michael Schoeffing, Sixteen Candles, 1983. One young hunk for another as Jake Ryan. Years later, the film’s star, Molly Ringwald, confessed she’d really wanted Mortensen in the rôle after their audition. “He made me weak in the knees. He really did. Schoeffinbg, ex-model and US champion wrestler, quit after ten more movies to make furniture for his Pennsylvanian company.
- Kevin Costner, Dances With Wolves, 1989. An early idea for the titular Lieutenant John J Dunbar before Costner took over everything - the lead rôle and direction. Result: seven Oscars – including Best Director and Best Film - on March 25, 1991. Mortensen was due again to be Dunbar in writer Michael Blakel’s 11-years-after sequel, The Holy Road, in 2011, which had nothing to do with Costner. Nor with being made, either. A TV mini-series was bubbling in 2016.
- Gary Oldman, Dracula, 1992. After great work as The Indian Runner bad boy, he auditioned for Francis Coppola at his Nappa Valley estate. Losing his favourites - Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day-Lewis - Francey looked at everyone else … Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, Nick Cassavetes, Nicolas Cage, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Andy Garcia, Hugh Grant, Ray Liotta, Kyle MacLachlan, Costas Mandylor, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Nouri (a long way from Flashdance), Adrian Pasdar, Jason Patric, Aiden Quinn, Keanu Reeves, Alan Rickman, Christian Slater and Sting
- Stellan Skarsgård, Breaking The Waves, Denmark-France-Iceland-Netherlands-Norway-Spain-Sweden, 1995. Danish auteur Lars Von Trierchases Viggo - Chapter One. (He was committed elsewhere).
- Hugh Jackman, X-Men trilogy 1999-2005.
- Stella Skarsgard, City of Ghosts, 2002. Matt Dillon's directing debut. Location: Cambodia.
- Sean Patrick Flannery, Veritas, Prince of Truth, 2005. A comicbook hero needs help... So did the movie.
- Liam Neeson, Batman Begins, 2004.
- David Morrissey, Basic Instinct 2, 2005. “I let myself down,” said Morrissey. “When it came out… I didn’t want to leave the house.It was a very bruising experience.” Among some 14 others running to Sharon Stone - or from her and the idea of playing her London shrink: Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt, Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, Bernicio Del Torro, Robert Downey Jr, Aaron Eckhart, Rupert Everett (!), Bruce Greenwood, Jude Law, Ewan McGrgeor,Vincent Perez, Kurt Russell. An obvious flop before one scene was shot in anger... As in: What can she do for an encore?
- Thomas Jane, Kill Shot, 2008. First choice for Wayne Colso had been Viggo before lesfreres Weinstein passed their old Quentin Tarantino projectto UK director John Madden.
- Willem Dafoe, Antichrist, Denmark-France-Germany-Italy-Poland-Sweden, 2008. Danish tartar Lars Von Trier chases Viggo - Chapter Two. He avoided the film but Charlotte Gainsbourg really nailed it.Dafoe’s penis, that is,to the floor.
- Chris Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman, 2011. He had protracted wranglings until splitting for his Spanish Todos tenemos un plan. Hugh Jackman followed suit. Joel Edgerton, Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardywere then seem for the hunter-turn-mentor for the first of two re-puss-in-booted Ms Whites that year... until blown away by Thor’s $65m opening.
- Daniel Craig, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2010.
- Michael Shannon, Man of Steel, 2011
- Willem Dafoe, Out of the Furnace, 2012. Virginian actor-turned auteur Scott Cooper had some thoughts about Viggo for the role of John Petty.
- John Cusack, Maps to the Stars, 2013. Mortensen and Rachel Weisz became John Cusack and Julianne Moore in David Cronenberg’s first of some 40 films to involve shooting inside the US - five days in the dreaded LA, in fact. (Well, those maps are of movie stars’ homes).