Viggo Mortensen in Conversation at the Rome Film Festival

Viggo Mortensen at the Rome Film Festival 2008

If this year's Rome Film Festival has seen a paucity of international A-list stars on the red carpet Viggo Mortensen has single-handedly done much to redress the balance appearing in no less than three events here this year! After two walks up the red carpet for the presentations of the films Appaloosa and Good earlier this week, yesterday he spoke to fans and film goers in Sala Petrassi in an encounter organised by Mario Sesti and Marco Giovannini. These conversations are always designed to encourage an intimate atmosphere and actors or directors are left to speak as freely as they wish, however, yesterday's afternoon with Viggo Mortensen seemed particularly special with a relaxed Mortensen talking at length in both English and Italian (and even, in response to a question from a member of the audience, in Norwegian) ostensibly about his film career, although the general impression afterwards, was that one had been left with an insight into his philosophy for living.

During the encounter clips from some of his key movies were shown and Mortensen was quick to praise his onscreen partnerships as being fundamental to the success of each performance, citing in particular the work done by Patricia Arquette in The Indian Runner, Sean Bean in The Lord of the Rings, as well as the intelligence and intuition of TJ, the horse which played the title role in Hidalgo and which he purchased after the film. There were also clips from Carlito's Way, A History of Violence – the highly intense sex scene on a staircase with Maria Bello, after which Mortensen quipped “Don't try that at home!” - and Alatriste, in which he speaks Spanish. Incredibly warm, genuinely interested in people and conversations, this charismatic actor then spent a good half hour after the event signing autographs and individually greeting his admirers.