It’s been fifteen years since Peter Jackson concluded his Lord of the Rings trilogy, and while some familiar faces returned for the director’s subsequent The Hobbit films, fan-favorite hero Aragorn was not one of them—to be fair, the character originated by Viggo Mortensen in Jackson’s trilogy would have been a child at the time. But if you’ve been waiting to see the sword-swinging exploits of young Aragorn, you may not have to wait much longer with Amazon’s epic Lord of the Rings series in the works.
Amazon is throwing an astronomical budget behind the series, which has a multi-season order (you can read more details and tidbits here). For those wondering, Peter Jackson will not be involved in the TV show, which has screenwriting duo JD Payne and Patrick McKay attached to write. Amazon has kept plot details for the series under wraps so far, but a report earlier this year said the plan is for the series to focus on Young Aragorn.
With that in mind, when Collider’s Perri Nemiroff spoke with Mortensen about his buzzy awards contender Green Book, she asked the actor what advice he might have for for the next person who takes on the iconic role of Tolkien’s heroic Ranger turned King. Unsurprisingly, the famously craft-centric actor is all about the source material.
Mortensen clarified that he hasn’t seen the scripts, but offered some sage advice for anyone tackling a role in the Tolkien adaptation:
“I would say, not only read the book, you know, very thoroughly, that giant book of Lord of the Rings, but you could read some of the Nordic sagas. You’ll get some clues there as to where Tolkien got his information. Like, Sigurd the Dragon Slayer, and the Volsunga saga. Read that.
One more suggestion from Mortensen? Watch some Kurasowa films. The actor also discussed his unusual preparation process for the first Lord of the Rings film, for which he only had a matter of hours to prepare after replacing another actor—quite an unusual experience for Monstensen, who famously prefers a studied approach to prep.
“Lord of the Rings was a case where I replaced an actor and they were already filming – not only filming, but they’d been rehearsing for months and learning all these skills they had to have for those movies – language skills, invented the Elvish, and swordplay, and horse riding, all this stuff. And I was kind of freaked out because I said yeah and I’m on the plane, on this 13 hour plane flight, and I’m looking at the book, which I had never read. But as I started looking at it, I was like, ‘Well, there’s something.’ There’s always something that you can draw on. I had read or been read to as a kid, stories about Vikings and Nordic sagas and stuff, and there was something there that was familiar, but it was still – you know, fortunately when I started doing that shoot it was physical stuff, not dialogue. So it was like sword fighting, so I could get my feet wet with that before I actually had to start speaking. It’s not ideal, but it seemed – my son was really into me doing it, and he was 11 at the time, and that kind of pushed me over the edge to say, ‘Yeah, okay.’ And obviously I’m glad I did it. It opened a lot of doors for me, and we had a lot of fun making those three movies. But it’s not ideal. I sometimes have said no because I’m not gonna be able to do justice to it.”
No doubt, more details for Amazon’s high-profile series adaptation will emerge as the project continues to develop. As for Mortensen, the actor is currently earning awards attention for his role in Peter Farrelly‘s Green Book, which arrives in theaters on November 16th.