Collaborators is a celebration of some of the best entertainment couples. From directors and actors who have worked together to create classics, to game studios who have found success with a specific publisher, these collaborations are enjoyed because both parties bring out the best in each other.
After portraying Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Viggo Mortensen has reinvented himself by teaming up with visionary Canadian director David Cronenberg. The couple met at a promotional party at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2005 that they joined forces on a film set for the first time. So far, the two-decade collaboration between the 79-year-old director and the 63-year-old actor has grown across four films, including the recently released Future Crimes. The results are remarkable for both parties, who never hide their mutual respect for each other’s skills.
Let’s take a closer look at the movies where Cronenberg and Mortensen worked together.
A History of Violence (2005)
Mortensen starred in Cronenberg’s adaptation of the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke. Tom Stall looks like a quiet guy until a mobster (Ed Harris) starts stalking his family because he thinks Stall is affiliated with the Irish Mafia. The cast also includes Maria Bello, William Hurt and Ashton Holmes. The film grossed over $61 million, the biggest box office success of Cronenberg’s career. The Academy enjoyed Cronenberg’s modern epic story, nominating John Olson’s screenplay for Best Adapted Screenplay and Hurt for Best Supporting Actor.
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Eastern Promises (2007)
The second collaboration between the two artists resulted in Mortensen being nominated for Best Actor at the 80th Academy Awards, the first for the American actor. The story follows Nikolai Luzhin, a Russian gangster operating in London. Mortensen didn’t shy away from anything to get the job done, even if it meant fight naked, put out a cigarette with your tongue or adopt a strong Russian accent. Although it didn’t win, the film also garnered three Golden Globe nominations that year for Best Picture, Best Original Score, and Best Actor. Cronenberg also involved Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl in the project.
A Dangerous Method (2011)
Cronenberg thought Mortensen would be the perfect man to play pioneering psychiatrist Sigmund Freud in his landmark film, and rightly so. The actor’s outstanding work earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The film follows the relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), Freud and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) on the eve of World War I. Mortensen’s performance was highly praised by critics, who appreciated the intensity of her interactions with her colleagues.
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Future Crimes (2022)
Recently, Cronenberg returned to the science fiction genre for the first time since 1999 exist. In a dark and undefined future marked by very advanced biotechnologies, Saul Tenser (Mortensen) is an artist who harvests his organs to entertain the public. For the occasion, Mortensen portrayed a less aggressive character than usual, opening up (literally) to the audience. The cast also included Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Don McKellar. The film was received with mixed feelings by critics and fans, but Mortensen’s performance was generally praised.