Viggo and the potato chips

Viggo Mortensen gave me a bag of potato chips. It was a small thing, really. But as I walked down the hall, away from his hotel suite, reflexively putting chip after chip in my mouth (I wasn’t even hungry, but it seemed like the thing to do.) I was once again struck by the weirdness of Hollywood celebrity. Junkets, in particular, emphasize the perversity of it all. All those attractive people housed in individual rooms in one luxurious hotel for a weekend of relentless scrutiny by decidedly less attractive throngs of other people. Each encounter between the two groups so excruciatingly choreographed that even the most benign instance of authenticity – say, a movie star handing a reporter a bag of potato chips – suddenly feels profoundly intimate. As an individual, Viggo came off as pretty grounded. A serious artist, but without a lot of vanity. I couldn’t help notice that he had little tiny holes in the armpit of his shirt. It was endearing. Make no mistake. Viggo knows how to work those cheekbones, but for those of you who saw “Eastern Promises” you know he’s not afraid to show his less flattering side. And I mean that quite literally.