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Viggo Mortensen is a man of many talents. He is an actor, producer, musician, author, director, photographer, poet, and painter. Despite having numerous other titles to his name, however, Mortensen is best known as an actor for his role in the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Mortensen is of Danish-American heritage, and was born in New York on October 20, 1958. The 60-year-old had his on-screen debut in the 1985 film Witness, and has since gone on to appear in numerous other films. This includes Captain Fantastic, Hidalgo, Psycho, G.I. Jane, Carlito’s Way, and, most recently, Green Book.

What character did Viggo Mortensen play in ‘Lord of The Rings’?

Viggo Mortensen plays the role of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn is also known as ‘Strider,’ which is how the character is initially introduced. Throughout the movie, the hobbits continue calling him by these first name, even after the revelation of who he really is.

Who is Aragorn?

Aragorn, son of Arathorn, is one of the primary protagonists in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is first known as someone who was a Ranger of the North, but the story hints he is someone much more significant. He is, after all, a confidant of Gandalf the Gray. Eventually, ‘Strider’ is revealed to be an heir of Isildor, which makes him the rightful heir to the thrones of both Arnor and Gondor.

It is important to note that throughout the story, Aragorn remains consistently on the side of the hobbits journey to destroy the one ring. Several other members are swayed either by the ring itself or by outside forces, but Aragorn is not one of those. Also, he is in love with Arwen, a powerful half-Elven seer.

He almost didn’t get the role

Fans loved Viggo Mortensen in the role of Aragorn because he was so believable. The character appeared as multi-dimensional and realistic as he did in J.R.R. Tolkien’s written depiction.

But Mortensen almost didn’t get the role at all. Instead, he replaced Stuart Townsend (best known for Queen of the Damned). There is no word on why Townsend pulled out at last second, but it’s almost impossible now to picture Aragorn being anyone but Mortensen.

His son gave him the final push

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen attends the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner

Viggo Mortensen almost said no when he was offered a last-minute chance to play the role of Aragorn. It was his son (who was 11 at the time) who gave him that final push.

In an interview, Mortensen revealed: “My son was really into me doing it… and that kind of pushed me over the edge to say, ‘Yeah, okay,’ And obviously I’m glad I did it. It opened a lot of doors for me, and we had a lot of fun making those three movies. But it’s not ideal. I sometimes have said no because I’m not gonna be able to do justice to it.”

Mortensen’s dedication to the role is inspiring

Director Peter Jackson states that Viggo Mortensen was so absorbed into his role that he didn’t realize when the director called him Aragorn for a full half hour. While this is both funny and interesting, another show of dedication was not so funny for Jackson.

Part of the movie was filmed in an area which had been used by the New Zealand army, and as a result, it was littered with unexploded bombs. A safe area was designated for the filming (which included hundreds of extras), but Mortensen did not obey those orders. As he was caught up in the moment, he rode out of the safe area on his horse… and ended up giving Peter Jackson a near-death experience in the process.