Viggo Mortensen isn’t one to shy away from tough roles, and his upcoming turn in The Road, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title by Cormac McCarthy, is no exception. In the film, the New York-born actor plays a father struggling to protect his young son as they journey to safety after the apocalypse. A dad himself to 21-year-old son Henry, Viggo tells Parade magazine that it was a role he could relate to in many ways.
On the challenge of fatherhood: “You worry about your child’s future. You’re like, ‘What if I’m away from my infant son or daughter for a few hours, do I trust someone else to take care of them?’ Then, later in life, you’re more concerned about whether you’ll be around anymore to help your children when they’re out of the nest. This movie just takes all those concerns to an extreme.”
On being a very proud papa: “My son Henry is multi-talented. He writes poetry and music, he’s a musician and has done some acting. He’s also into archaeology. I think you could say he’s well-rounded.”
On The Road being a lesson for parents: “The son becomes the teacher, which is something I think a lot of parents can relate to. At a certain point your kid starts saying, ‘You tell me I should do this and do that. Why don’t you follow some of your own advice?’”
On the film’s surprisingly positive message: “No matter how bad things get – you know, no matter how tough life is, it’s always preferable to be a good guy, to be kind. You are going to feel better afterwards, no matter how tempted you are to be violent or brutal. This movie really earns that conclusion. It’s uplifting to realize that there are people who, no matter how difficult the physical or emotional tests they’re going through in life, somehow do the right thing anyway, not because there’s a reward for it, not because anybody else is watching, just because it’s the right thing to do.”