Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Finding Viggo Mortensen

By Susan Thea Posnock

Viggo Mortensen is missing. Yes, that actor on the screen looks like him—and he certainly possesses the same quiet assurance when he speaks and physicality when he fights. But more like a magician than actor, he has disappeared into the world of Eastern Promises.

As much as I’ve admired his work before—in movies like my beloved The Lord of the Rings trilogy, A Walk on the Moon and A History of Violence—I wasn’t quite prepared for the total character immersion displayed in the film, as he morphs into Nikolai, the enigmatic driver/undertaker/protector of Kirill, (Vincent Cassel), the “prince” of a London-based Russian crime family.

The story follows Anna, (Naomi Watts) a midwife of Russian heritage, as she investigates the diary of a young girl who dies during childbirth. It reveals a London underworld of drugs and prostitution as a form of modern slavery. Mortensen’s morally ambiguous character both warns Anna off and pulls her into this world.

Mortensen and I chatted on the phone for a little over 20 minutes Friday night. I found him polite and soft-spoken, yet at the same time very talkative, with his answers going far longer than I thought they would. Anyone who recalls my obsessive Rings column, “Diary of a Hobbit Fiend,” will be surprised to know that I managed to keep my fangirl impulses in check, squelching the near constant urge to coo: “Viggo, I love you!”

Read the full post here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nikki Blonsky Graduates

Less than two years ago, Nikki Blonsky was singing for tips at an ice cream shop and performing in high school musicals. Today, she’s one of the stars of the ultimate high school musical for the current generation, Hairspray, matching upbeat song verses and dance steps with John Travolta, the star of the ultimate high school musical from my generation, Grease.

Plus, she’s busy winning the onscreen heart of Zac Efron, star of the actual High School Musical, while overcoming the nastiness of Michelle Pfeiffer—herself a veteran of the ultimate bad high school musical, Grease 2.

Like Tracy Turnblad, the character Blonsky plays, there were twists and turns on the road to achieving her dream.

Read the full post here.