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Viggo Mortensen


  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993.    There were  30 stars queuing for Die Hard On A Bus. From A Listers Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, even Mr Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis… to the B group: Kevin Bacon,three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William), Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans  Bruce  Campbell and Chuck Norris.  All crushed by a whippersnapper!
  6. 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).
  7. Hugh Jackman, X-Men trilogy1999-2005.   "Hey, bub, I'm not finished with you yet…"  Jackie Earle Haley, Gary Sinise and Kiefer Sutherland were in the Wolverine/Logan frame, circa 1989.  Next, of all people,producer James Cameron and his then wife, director Kathryn Bigelow, chose chubby Bob Hoskins in the early 90s. The fans voted for Jack Nicholson… well, he’d been a decent Wolf in 1994… Fox could not think beyond Keanu Reeves. Russell Crowe felt Logan was too similar to his 1999 Gladiator…and just a toon, anyway.  Director Bryan Singer searched on through… Aaron Eckhart, Mel Gibson,  Viggo Mortsensen  (a great idea but he was not yet finished with Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings), Edward Norton (also considered for Cyclops/Scott Summers) and - oh no! - Jean-Claude Van Damme. Finally, Singer chose Dougray Soitt - but he was stuck on  Mission: Impossible II in Australia which is where Jackman came from (on Crowe’s recommendation) to save the day. And the franchise. At last count Jackman has been Wolverine in ten movies (Deadpool 2 included) across 19 years.
  8. Stella Skarsgard, City of Ghosts,  2002.        Matt Dillon's directing debut. Location:  Cambodia.
  9. Sean Patrick Flannery, Veritas, Prince of Truth, 2005.       A comicbook hero needs help... So did the movie.
  10. Liam Neeson, Batman Begins, 2004.

  11. 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?
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Daniel Craig, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2010.
  16. Michael Shannon, Man of Steel, 2011
  17. Willem Dafoe, Out of the Furnace, 2012.    Virginian actor-turned auteur Scott Cooper had some  thoughts about Viggo  for the role of John Petty.
  18. 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). 
  19. Kurt Russell,Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 2016.    Aged between Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow’s 87 and Matthew McConaughey’s 47,  fifteen actors were Marveled over for Ego, father of Chris Pratt’s hero, Peter Quill aka Star Lord.  The others in the  loop were Mortensen, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Robert De Niro, Mel Gibson, Stephen Lang, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christoph Waltz and Bruce Willis.  
  20. Idris Elba, The Dark Tower, 2016   Had to be an A-Lister for director Ron Howard’s trilogy version  - finally cut to the worst ever single movie of a Stephen King work. Or, in this case, the seven book series about Roland Deschain, last of a knightly order of - The Good, The Bad and The Uglymeets Lord of the Rings.  But which Deschain... Mortensen, Javier Bardem, Christian Bale,  Pedro Pascal… or Daniel Craig and his first Bond villain: Mads Mikkelsen?
  21. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased, 2017.  Change of car salesman turned Bible thumper, ready to disown his teenage son unless he attends the church’s gay conversion programme. Another Aussie, Joel Edgerton,  wrote and directed the painful true story - and played the conversion “expert,” with as much training as the father had for preaching, ie none. The real kid is called Garrard Conley and works for LGBTQ equality… in Bulgaria.







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