“If I’d gotten this role some years back, I probably couldn’t have done it,” says Viggo Mortensen. Perhaps if he’d been less mature, the 46-year-old New York native would have overplayed the quiet part of small-town diner manager Tom Stall in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. Instead, Mortensen played two parts at once—a simple family man with a set of barely tamped-down killer instincts and urges. In maintaining that balance, Mortensen says he tried “to give a very detailed performance.” You see it most in his placid poise behind the diner’s counter, during the still seconds before he lashes out. “A lot of people don’t trust those details to come through, but I’ve always believed that the camera and the audience can see a lot more than a lot of directors—and even actors—give them credit for.”
New Yorkers of the Year
Amid the best, they stood out.