Viggo Mortensen Explains How His Family History Influenced Directorial Debut ‘Falling’ (Video)

Viggo Mortensen Explains How His Family History Influenced Directorial Debut ‘Falling’ (Video)
While the events depicted in “Falling,” Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut, are entirely fictional, as the actor told TheWrap’s editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman, he drew from his own personal history for many elements of the story.

“Falling” tells the story of a conservative, aging old man (Lance Henriksen) who is diagnosed with dementia and must move from his rural farm in the country to live with his gay son’s family in Los Angeles. Mortensen wrote the film after his mother’s funeral, when he began recalling incidents from his own childhood, and the first card in the end credits reads “For Charles and Walter Mortensen,” his brothers.

Speaking along with Henriksen and co-stars Laura Linney and Sverrir Gudnason as part of a virtual panel for the 2020 Toronto Film Festival, Mortensen explained that for many of the plot elements drew from “certain events, somewhat difficult I guess, and somewhat humorous as well.” And so, to show respect to his brothers and their “shared past,” he dedicated the film to them.

Also Read: ‘Falling’ Film Review: Viggo Mortensen’s Directorial Debut Is a Dark Family Drama

“Although it’s a fiction, the story and the family, by and large, there are certain memories that the three of us brothers share, certainly the dynamic between the parents, the characters that Sverrir and [co-star] Hannah Gross play,” Mortensen said. “Their dynamic, and certain events, somewhat difficult I guess, and somewhat humorous as well, that are taken from real events in our family story. So out of respect for my brothers since we have that shared past, I guess I just wanted to dedicate it to them.”

However, despite the relative distance between real life and the movie’s story, Mortensen made it clear it still had a very “personal” impact on him. “It’s funny in a way that by inventing most of it … I felt more free in exploring what I wanted to explore, which was my feelings for my parents, and what I feel I’ve learned from them — for better and for worse,” He said.

In addition, Henriksen discussed the challenges of playing such an unlikable character, Linney talked about her experience during the film’s Los Angeles shoot, and Gudnason explained how he approached playing the younger version of Henriksen’s character. Watch the whole interview above.

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TIFF 2020: “Pieces of a Woman,” “The Water Man,” “I Care A Lot” and more are getting attention from buyers

What the Cannes virtual marketplace proved earlier this year is that even without the in-person meetings, the red carpet galas and all the press hype, there’s still room for a lucrative sales market surrounding these virtual events. While that’s true of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the hybrid physical and virtual fest is operating on a slimmed-down lineup of movies. And with Oscar eligibility requirements pushed back to 2021, there isn’t the same need for all of these movies to make a splash. That said, we are looking forward to quite a bit at this year’s TIFF, and so are buyers.

Also Read: How the Pandemic Will Shake Up Toronto Film Festival’s (Virtual) Sales Market

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