Mortensen’s Directorial Debut Film Focuses On A Gay Man Coping With His Homophobic Father’s Dementia
Viggo Mortensen has been racking up roles in film since the ‘80s and has slowly became a bonafide superstar. Despite always being an Academy Award bridesmaid and never a bride, his work is widely recognized for films like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Crimson Tide, and most recently, Green Book. Next month, he’s releasing his directorial debut film, Falling, which follows an aging gay man who decides to take care of his homophobic father suffering from dementia. Mortensen didn’t just direct the film, but he also wrote and is starring in the lead role. He purposely made the titular character a gay man dealing with a homophobic parent for the drama and backstory of it all, which is going to make for a compelling story. However, he’s refusing to apologize for playing gay.
According to Reuters, Mortensen jokes that he’s only going to apologize to those in the proctology profession, since the actor he cast in the role of a doctor isn’t a doctor. He claims to have originally thought of the main characters to be a heterosexual couple, but eventually thought the story would be more powerful with a gay couple leading. Mortensen reiterates that his playing a gay character isn’t a publicity stunt or an attempt to trigger anyone: It’s simply the story he wanted to share. Also, no other actors he could secure for the film would’ve guaranteed the financing he needed. He did, however, mention he wouldn’t dare play the role of his on-screen husband, Terry Chen, who was written as an Asian man. The synopsis of the film reads:
“John Peterson lives with his partner, Eric in California, far from the traditional rural life he left behind years ago. His father, Willis (Lance Henriksen), lives alone on the isolated farm where John grew up. Willis’s mind is declining, so John brings him west, hoping he and his sister can help their father find a home closer to them. Their intentions ultimately run up against Willis’s angry refusal to change his way of life in any way.”
The long debate of actors only being able to portray themselves is probably not going to end any time soon. The claims for representation in front of the screen make sense, yet there are many challenges to actually get people in seats – or tuning in with their wallets from home. A megastar like Mortensen certainly will get his fan base to watch – and this story looks like an incredible one to tell. And, let’s get realistic: Long time LGBTQ ally and Tales of the City star, Laura Linney, costars in Falling as Mortensen’s sister…and she wouldn’t lead us down the wrong path!
Falling is set for a December 2020 release, but in the meantime, check out the emotional trailer below:
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.