One of León called Viggo
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
29 April 2005
Diario de León
The leading actor of Alatriste makes his character's roots clear once again, wearing under the swordsman's costume a t-shirt with the name of León in big letters.
You never choose your birthplace, but you can choose where you want to be and who to share the most important moments of your life with. In Viggo Mortensen's case, he has said and showed it on numerous occasions, León is one of those places which he has identified with and where he has felt most comfortable: 'It doesn't matter if your roots are in other places,' he said, 'the important thing is that when you arrive in some unknown place, that place captures you and you begin to feel part of its idiosyncrasy.' That's why, after the impertinent question from a journalist at a press conference in Seville, about why an American has been given the role of such an authentic (Spanish) character as Diego Alatriste, he just had to get offended, as indeed happened. Only someone who doesn't know how the actor gets into the characters he chooses can ask him such a trick question. Because, at this stage, nobody can reproach Viggo for not being one of us Spaniards.
The actor makes his own the places he visits and finds interesting, and like Machado's traveller, he doesn't know what haste is, 'when he arrives some place/never asks where he arrives in/where there is wine, he drinks wine/where there's not wine (he drinks) cold water,' and Viggo not only drinks Curueño wine, Valdeteja water, and reads poetry by Mestre and Trapiello, but also, under his Alatriste costume, he wears the t-shirt that identifies him with his character's land, or smiling he flies the flag of León on the bow of the Flemish ship Niklaasbergen. Yesterday someone pointed out that he well deserves the title of 'León Citizen of the Year' and 'Honorary Citizen' (Adopted Son), because never before have so many people in different countries and on websites read so much about the Ancient Realm as since Viggo went to León.
The American's unusual personality has encouraged an incredible number of fans all around the world, to such a point that there are already some people from Romania and Russia interested in going to León in order to tour the places that the actor has been, in the city and the province. Others like Svetla Iossifova, who has wished to meet him for decades, have the hope of being able to do so some day.
In a lot of the snapshots that people have taken of the famous actor, he appears with some unusual t-shirts. As a good photographer and painter, and used to communicating through images, these t-shirts become his most direct message, carried to where it can be recognised and interpreted.
Last edited: 23 November 2005 06:03:44
© Diario de Leon. Used by permission.