Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen defends playing a gay character in new film

Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen defends playing a gay character in new film
New Line Cinema

In his directorial debut, actor Viggo Mortensen is defending his choice to play a gay character, despite identifying as straight himself.

Mortensen, more well known for his role as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings franchise, has addressed criticism he's received for playing this role in the new film Falling.

The story follows Mortensen as a man whose homophobic father comes to live with them as he battles dementia.

The actor-director also wrote the script for the movie, saying that the choice to make the character gay was not ‘as a gimmick, anchor or some trigger’.

Mortensen said to Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview:

There are certain characters I’m not going to play

I wouldn’t play Eric [the main character], the Chinese-Hawaiian American.

There’s been so much injustice toward under-represented groups, racially, sexual orientation (and in terms of) sexual identification.

In recent years many straight actors have been criticised for accepting roles written for queer characters. From Call Me by Your Name to The Imitation Game, the overwhelming presence of straight actors playing gay roles has come under scrutiny.

Two years ago, actor Scarlet Johanssen came under fire for signing on to play a trans character that she later dropped out of due, writing in a statement that she realised that it was ‘insensitive’.

Falling is part of the virtual AMPLIFY! Festival, a joint event by the regional film festivals of Bath, Brighton, Cambridge and Cornwall. It will go on general release from 4 December.

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