Viggo Mortensen turned to directing for the first time in his career with “Falling,” and though his fictional story is set firmly in a polarized America, it should resonate deeply with his family.
Mortensen dedicated “Falling” to his brothers, and though the characters in the film are not explicitly playing his father or the rest of his family, they would recognize the feelings and ideas Mortensen embedded within it.
“My brothers, to whom it’s dedicated to, would recognize certain dynamics, a few phrases, a couple of events. But it’s 99.9% fiction, but they would recognize the feelings behind it,” he told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at Sundance. “What stimulated me to write the story has a lot to do with how I feel about my parents.”
“Falling” is the story of a conservative, aging old man who is moved from his rural farm in the country to stay with his gay son’s family in Los Angeles. The film was the closing night movie at the Sundance Film Festival, and Mortensen was joined by some of the cast of the film, including Sverrir Gudnason, Terry Chen, Hannah Gross, Bracken Burns and Lance Henricksen.
“It’s not just my family that influenced me, it also influenced me what I feel like is happening in our society now in recent years, the polarization, the inability that people have, or unwillingness to communicate, and how do you deal with what you see and hear: hateful language, misogyny, racism, homophobia, these things come up,” Mortensen said. “I was writing the script about our country, even within families are polarized, they voted for so and so, or the other one refused to, so they can’t talk all of a sudden now. Well, eventually you’re going to have to.”
The man who plays Mortensen’s father in the film — and is forced to say some awful, hateful and misogynist things — is Lance Henricksen, and it wasn’t an easy role to play.
“It actually hurts when I have to say those things,” Henricksen said of his character’s identity crisis in 2020. “All of that pain that’s coming out through that language and through that point of view and all of that is because somebody knows the cards are shuffling. You don’t know what to be anymore.”
Check out the interview clip with the cast from “Falling” above.
Sundance Portraits From A to Z: Andy Samberg to Zazie Beetz (Exclusive Photos)
Sundance 2020: Stars like Glenn Close, Kerry Washington and Bill Skarsgard stop by TheWrap Studio presented by Heineken at the Pando Art Gallery