When I caught up with "Eastern Promises" star Viggo Mortensen to chat about his recent awards success (he just won best actor at the British Independent Film Awards and came in second place in the voting for best actor at the New York Film Critics Circle), he was most eager to talk about how director David Cronenberg is overdue for kudos recognition.
"I'd like to see him get his due," Viggo said. "There's only a handful of people in the world who can do what he does, who can tell a movie the way he does. His intelligence, his humanity and his artistry are on a level higher than 99 percent of directors in the world."
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Viggo's role in "Eastern Promises" is richly complex: a Russian thug in London who risks his life to help a woman (Naomi Watts) solve mysteries about an orphaned infant.
"These people, no matter how brutal the circumstances of their lives, or how dangerous things are, do the right thing even though it's not to their benefit," he noted. "It leaves you with some faith in the potential of people to show compassion."
(Photo: Focus Features)