Viggo Mortensen criticizes Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, despite its box office success and multiple nods. In a new interview with The Daily Telegraph, the actor who played King Aragorn in the series slams the movies for relying too heavily on CGI and calls the production "sloppy" and "a mess."
The 55-year-old star opens up that the director went over-budget, "They were in a lot of trouble and Peter had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 - he'd shot all three films in the trilogy - but really the second and third ones were a mess."
He elaborates, "It was very sloppy - it just wasn't done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn't been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video."
"It's true that the first script was better organized," Mortensen admits. "Also, Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back."
"In the first movie, yes, there's Rivendell, and Mordor, but there's sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it's grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste," he explains. "And then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third."
He continues criticizing Jackson, "I was sure he would do another intimately scaled film like 'Heavenly Creatures', maybe with this project about New Zealanders in the First World War he wanted to make. But then he did 'King Kong'. And then he did 'The Lovely Bones' - and I thought that would be his smaller movie. But the problem is, he did it on a $90 million budget. That should have been a $15 million movie."
"I guess Peter became like Ridley Scott - this one-man industry now, with all these people depending on him. But you can make a choice, I think," Mortensen adds. He also says, "Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it's like that to the power of 10."
Mortensen joined "Lord of the Rings" cast as a last-minute replacement for Stuart Townsend. He says he took the part after being convinced by his son, Henry, who was a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's books. The last installment, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King", won 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.