Actor Viggo Mortensen once talked about a supposed incident where he was instructed to do a sex scene by a well-respected director. But the filmmaker then proceeded to use unconventional methods to assist Mortensen and his co-star for the scene.
Mortesen asserted, however, that the rehearsal did more harm than good.
Viggo Mortensen has had a long friendship with director David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg is a well-respected filmmaker and actor who’s been contributing to cinema since the late 60s and early 70s. He might be most known for films like 1986’s The Fly, A History of Violenceand cosmopolis.
But when it comes to actors, Cronenberg has collaborated several times with Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen. The pair have done four films together so far, and have formed a long-lasting friendship in the process. However, Cronenberg doesn’t let their friendship get in the way of their professionalism or vice-versa when considering a project.
“We are professionals, unbelievable as it seems, so it means that we can say no to each other. If I offered Viggo a role, and he really feels he’s not right for or doesn’t connect with it, he has to be able to say no, and I am not going to be shattered and think he’s not my friend anymore. And the reverse is true,” Cronenberg once said in an interview with Toronto Star. “If Viggo had a project or a script that he wanted me to direct, I would have to say no if I really didn’t want to do it. So there’s that respect and that professionalism despite the tomfoolery that we enjoy.”
Viggo Mortensen said he freaked out when David Cronenberg stripped in front of him to rehearse his love scene
Mortensen once told a story about how Cronenberg tried showing him how to do a love scene.
In 2005’s A History of Violence, Cronenberg directed the scene between Mortensen and his co-star Maria Bello. But Cronenberg decided to interject at one point to show Mortensen how to really perform the scene in question.
“David, trying to be helpful, as usual, thought it might be a good idea to call up his wife and have her come down to the set,” Mortensen once said according to Contact Music.
Cronenberg would undress and act out the racy scene with his wife in public. At the same time, he’d give the Lord of the Rings actor instruction.
“The crew and Maria and I just sat and watched while he and his wife got into something comfortable – nothing – and they started to say, ‘We want you to [do this[.’ Maria and I were both going, ‘Ok, we get it,’” Mortensen recalled. “This is a testament to their relationship, they kept going and they kept going and then we broke for lunch and some time in the evening Maria and I got to have a crack at it.”
Despite the success of Cronenberg’s performance, the rehearsal didn’t make the scene any easier for Mortensen and Bello.
“Instead of putting us at ease, we actually were kind of freaked out…Maybe some things ought to stay private,” he said.
David Cronenberg denied Viggo Mortensen’s story
Years later, Cronenberg was asked about Mortensen’s revelation about what happened on set. But the esteemed horror director asserted that Mortensen’s account wasn’t to be taken seriously. Cronenberg shared the actor’s story was just meant to entertain audiences.
“When you are on the road doing publicity, you get very bored because people ask you the same questions, so Viggo and I spontaneously started to say outrageous things,” Cronenberg once told The Hollywood Reporter (via Contact Music). “Viggo said, ‘I really didn’t know how to do this sex scene on the stairs, so David said, I’ll show you with my wife, because we do this all the time.’ It was totally not true. But I said, ‘Yeah, you have to give your actor whatever help you can give him.’”
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