Viggo Mortensen will bring Captain Alatriste to life in the film directed by Agustín Díaz Yanes. He will play a curious main character from a series of five exciting books created by the writer Arturo Pérez Reverte. The New York actor, born in Manhattan 46 years ago, became famous for his role as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings saga and has become an authentic sword-lover since the filming of this trilogy. To prepare for his role, Mortensen has chosen the National Fencing Center in Madrid, where he will take lessons with the foil master Jesús Esperanza, a specialist in ancient fencing techniques.
The adventures of Captain Alatriste, an ambitious blockbuster with Spanish, French and US participation, will be shot in Spain, in Spanish, showing parts of Seville and Toledo. This won't be a problem for the famous actor since he spent his childhood in Argentina and Venezuela and speaks fluent Spanish. Apart from Mortensen, and over 10,000 extras, Unax Ugalde will play the part of Íñigo de Balboa, Alatriste's trusted friend; Elena Anaya will play the part of Angélica de Alquezar, the mean one; Eduardo Noriega will play the Duke of Guadalmina; Javier Cámara will be Count Duke of Olivares and Blanca Portillo will play the role of a man, an inquisitor with an important part in the film.
Viggo Mortensen, with a Danish father and an American mother, is a great fan of painting, writing and photography, as well as admiring the city of Madrid and the Real Madrid soccer team. For now, the actor has already visited the Prado Museum to see the Velázquez paintings as well as to experience the Golden Century of Spain. He likes to prepare his characters and do a lot of research before going in front of the camera. 'Thinking of the role of Alatriste, I want to see how the men of that era dressed and the grand master for this is Velázquez,' explained the actor. 'If I have to personify Captain Alatriste I will have to perfect my Spanish and avoid this accent I have from Buenos Aires,' he added. The actor wasn't familiar with Arturo Pérez Reverte's work until he was sent the script of Díaz Yanes' film. 'I liked the script and I started reading all the books about Captain Alatriste,' he explained.
The film will begin shooting on March 7th although it will most likely not be out before the end of the year. Nevertheless, Viggo Mortensen has already started taking lessons from Jesús Esperanza at the National Fencing Center where there is an area reserved for stage fencing. It is not in vain that the facilities located in General Aranda street have been built over an ancient movie theatre and numerous actors before Mortensen have gone there when they've had to learn how to fence.
Esperanza, who used to be an international marksman, director of the National Fencing Center and trainer of the men's national foiling team, has been doing stage fencing for many years and has even participated in some films. 'They have come to me because I am an expert in 17th century fencing,' he states. To train Mortensen, Jesús will be assisted by the legendary Bob Anderson, the man who taught Errol Flynn to hold a foil, who will contribute his experience in fencing scenes for films. Anderson, who is still in the thick of things at the age of 88, supervised the fighting scenes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy so he knows the actor of Danish origin inside out.
For Agustín Díaz Yanes, the author of the acclaimed 'Nobody Will Speak Of Us When We're Dead' and 'No News From God', Mortensen will be a great Alatriste. 'I'm thrilled that he will play the part. He has age, professionalism, looks, body, and he is one of the few action heroes left in the business.' As for Arturo Pérez Reverte, he states that it is a 'very Spanish script, cruel and dark at the same time, with a lot of action.' To achieve this, no less than 20 million euros will be invested, making it one of the most spectacular and expensive productions in Spanish film-making, with the added risk of translating into images what is one of the most famous and marvellous sagas of the years.