Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen is legendary for his portrayal of Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s astonishing fantasy trilogy. The actor threw himself into the role by delving into Tolkien’s lore to learn every detail about his character, and there are several instances where he really took his dedication to the next level.
For example, during the making of the second Lord of the Rings movie, he famously broke his toe in a scene where Aragorn kicks a Uruk-hai helmet in anger. He also camped out rather than staying in hotels during the filming process (Strider would be proud), and would repair his own costume too. But the Lord of the Rings cast member really proved he was perfect for Aragorn when he smashed his tooth while shooting the Battle of Helm’s Deep… and just kept on fighting.
“Viggo’s tooth was broken during the battle,” said Barrie Osborne (a producer on the best fantasy movie trilogy) in a conversation with Inverse. “The stunt guys had a choreographed sequence and Viggo wasn’t ready. He got smacked in the mouth and broke his tooth but unlike most actors, he didn’t say, ‘Call my agent!'”
Instead, just like his stoic and rugged Lord of the Rings character, Mortensen didn’t panic. In fact, he kept going and shot his scenes until he wasn’t needed for filming anymore. “He searched through the muck, found his tooth, put it in his pocket, and kept going.”
Osborne concluded, “After finishing, we got him to Peter’s dentist for an emergency repair but he came straight back to work. That’s a sign of Viggo’s character.”
Clearly, Mortensen was trying to break some kind of record for the coolest person alive, and we’d argue that he succeeded. Mortensen’s dedication shines through on the screen, and his role as Aragorn is central to the series’ status as one of the best movie trilogies ever created.
Since Lord of the Rings ended with Return of the King, Mortensen has been wise enough to avoid returning to the franchise. He was asked to reprise his role in The Hobbit (something that wouldn’t have made any sense given the in-universe timeline), and it’s highly doubtful that he’d have any role to play in Warner Bros’ planned new Lord of the Rings movies.
Those new movies are expected to tell other stories from Middle-earth (similar in principle to the series Rings of Power) rather than being a direct remake, which is a good call given that trying to recast the main characters from the films would be an almost impossible task. How could you find a better Gandalf than Ian McKellen or a better Aragorn than Viggo Mortensen?
Having said that, even without being a remake, there’s the chance that Hollywood will need to find new actors to take famous characters from Lord of the Rings. A prequel movie about the hunt for Gollum, for example, would need a new Aragorn. Any actor taking on that role would have the unenviable job of trying to replace Mortensen, and would have to try and one-up his tooth-smashing, bone-breaking dedication to the character.
For more on Lord of the Rings, check out our guide to the Rings of Power season 2 release date and the War of the Rohirrim release date. Or, see the three Tolkien stories we think new LotR movies should adapt (even if it’d change how we watch the Lord of the Rings movies in order).