Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen defends controversial gay film by suggesting he might not be ‘completely straight’

Nick Duffy
·2-min read

Viggo Mortensen has suggested he may not be entirely straight before insisting his sexuality is “none of your business”.

The Lord of the Rings star’s directorial debut Falling, which he also wrote and stars in, sees him play a gay man who finds himself caring for his racist and homophobic father, played by Lance Henriksen, after he starts showing symptoms of dementia.

Ahead of its release, Mortensen has weighed in on who should tell queer stories, insisting he did not make his main character gay as a “gimmick, anchor or some trigger” but as part of a natural decision in the writing process.

In an interview with The Times on 28 November, the actor said it is “healthy” that issues around who should play queer characters are brought up, as he gave a forthright defence of the film.

“Look, these are the times we’re living in, and I think it’s healthy that those issues are brought up,” he said.

“The short answer is that I didn’t think it was a problem. And people then ask me: ‘Well what about Terry Chen, who plays my husband in the film, is he a homosexual?’

“The answer is I don’t know, and I would never have the temerity to ask someone if they were, during the casting process.”

Falling director Viggo Mortensen
Falling director Viggo Mortensen (Claude Medale/Corbis via Getty)

He continued: “How do you know what my life is? You’re assuming that I’m completely straight. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. And it’s frankly none of your business.

“I want my movie to work, and I want the character of John to be effective. If I didn’t think it was a good idea I wouldn’t do it.”

The actor lives with his female partner and has a son by his previous marriage to a woman.

Viggo Mortensen’s Falling faced questions over heavy use of racist, homophobic slurs.

Viggo Mortensen also addressed the heavy use of homophobic and racist slurs in the film, which he suggested were a hurdle to getting interest from Hollywood distributors.

He said: “Distributors would watch it and say, ‘It’s a fine movie, but it’s too much, and I’m not sure if people want to watch this.’

“And I’d say to them: ‘Have you paid attention to what’s going on in the country?’

“It’s not that far-fetched at all, unfortunately, that someone would hold these views or speak this way.

“The film is even asking what to do with someone who refuses to acknowledge certain facts and refuses to step down from a horrifying stance in terms of language and attitude.”