It’s extracted from Sean Penn: His Life and Times by Richard T. Kelly (UK: Faber and Faber, US: Canongate US, 2004)
It’s an entertaining one page about how Sean Penn came to cast the pre-Lord Of The Rings Viggo Mortensen in his directing debut The Indian Runner (1991).
I love reading this kinda thing. It was interesting enough to make me wanna go rent the movie (maybe this weekend if no Resident Evil: Extinction’s are available).
How it happened sounds like some classic Hollywood out of nowhere casting stories....
Don Phillips who legendarily faught to cast Penn in Fast Times At Ridgemont High after Penn's shakey original auditions, was a producer on the Indian Runner, in the article he recalls...
“Sean calls me and says, 'I got the television on here, it's HBO, and there's
a movie on called Fresh Horses, and there's this actor in it . . . '
“It was Viggo Mortensen. We sent the script to Viggo, who was playing the
seventh or eighth lead in Young Guns 2. We flew to Tucson, Arizona, and
bam! He was our man, and we were off and running.”
Of course Mortensen went on much later, to be a last minute casting in the Lord Of The Rings though before that was great in the otherwise lame Demi Moore vehicle G.I. Jane (Scott 1997)
He was a groovy hippie dreamboo in the wonderful in A Walk On The Moon (Goldwyn 1999) (shit, what’s that word? I wanted to use that Hebrew word for non-Hebrew in my description of him, forget what it is. See the flick you’ll understand. Actually see the flick it’s terrific. Diane Lane replayed the role a year couple of years later in the not as good Unfaithful (Lynn 2002) and got an Oscar nomination. Speaking of Diane Lane she was very attractive in her um 1987 Big Town / lotta nudity years. Pause... Very attractive.... Gulp).
This past year Mortensen gave one of the most impressive male performances of 2007 (along with Cassie Affleck in that Jessie James flick) in Eastern Promises, the follow up to he and David Cronenberg’s last actor/ director collaboration (the kinda overrated) A History of Violence (2005).
While Penn this past year has directed the highly acclaimed Into The Wild (probably the best soundtrack 2007).
Read the piece.
Then, wouldn’t a Penn / Mortensen on screen face-off be cool?
Producers... find them a project together.
(Look me up. I have some French thriller remake suggestions)