Viggo Mortensen Feels Film Financiers Are ‘Very Conservative’: ‘I Won’t Make a Movie Unless I Have Final Cut’

Recently, actor Viggo Mortensen has taken to stepping behind the camera as well as in front of it, having made his directorial debut with father/son drama “Falling” in 2020 and this year, releasing the romantic Western “The Dead Don’t Hurt” co-starring himself and “Phantom Thread” actress Vicky Krieps. Despite a strong continued track record, Mortensen shared in a recent interview with Variety that he still struggles to get things made and that his next project is facing challenges with financing.

“It’s only indigenous languages, it has no white characters, and there will be no movie stars – just lots and lots of horses,” Mortensen said of what he hopes will be his next film. “But I am convinced it will have wide appeal, because it’s a universal coming-of-age story about an adolescent boy.”

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In the interview, Mortensen shares that he’s had this idea for a while and has made his last two films to prove, one, that he can direct, and two that he has the ability to work with “landscapes and horse.” Even still, it seems this isn’t enough to show he’s worth the monetary risk.

“The people who put up money are very conservative,” said Mortensen to Variety. “It gets harder to retain creative control and I won’t make a movie unless I have final cut. This one’s complicated, but I know it will work. It’s just a question of convincing someone to invest in it.”

In this sense, Mortensen can understand why someone like Kevin Costner would do what he did with “Horizon” and even wrote to him to wish him luck, but he doesn’t feel this is what the business should be doing to filmmakers of such high regard. Using his experience with the Ron Howard film “Thirteen Lives” as an example, he said, “It was supposed to come out in thousands of theaters around the world, but then Amazon bought MGM and they decided to stream it, which was sad. It’s one of his best movies.”

Even with “The Dead Don’t Hurt,” he said he’d never put so much effort into promoting a film, but isn’t sure it will be remembered. He especially hopes Krieps’ performance, which centers the film, earns some awards recognition.

“Unless you are a part of some big enterprise that has a lot of money to push it into voters’ faces, it’s difficult,” said Mortensen.

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