1. He has acted in more than twenty-five films, including playing the heroic monarch in the Lord of the Rings franchise, yet he does’t consider himself a movie star. He rarely talks about acting, and when he does calls it “impersonation.”
  2. He’s 45, effortlessly masculine, strikingly attractive and seemingly oblivious to this fact. ” I’m not that involved in personal grooming,” he says. ” But I try not to be offensive to people.”
  3. He believes most movies are “crap”, but he goes to see them anyway.
  4. He ripped out Christopher Walken’s heart in The Prophecy, bedded the married Diane Lane in A Walk on the Moon and the married Gwyneth Paltrow in A Perfect Murder and tossed Demi Moore in the mud in GI Jane.
  5. He dates women, not girls. He was married to older woman and punk-rock goddess Exene Cervenka for several years, and he remains close enough to promote her work (Web site, band news, T-Shirt line) on the Internet site of his private printing company (www.percevalpress.com). He founded Perceval Press in order to publish high-quality art books by artists and writers he believes are underappreciated, so they can “keep attendant obligations from polluting otherwise pure artistic enterprises.” And also, eat.
  6. He makes art, as opposed to merely collecting it. He creates layered, rich collages and snaps evocative photographs of swimming pools and landscapes. He has shown his work internationally, most recently in Cuba and soon in Los Angeles, where he will exhibit “really large prints of ghost dancers.”
  7. He knows an impressive amount about Civil War history, sword fighting, poetry and, well, ghost dancers—whatever esoterica he’s currently immersed in.
  8. He’s just deep like that.
  9. He speaks three languages and can get by in several others.
  10. He does not go to therapy. “I’m not a fan of analysing. Twenty years ago, I’d say, I wonder why I am here. But now I’m too busy taking care of my life and the people around me to think about that shit.”
  11. He dotes on his 15-year-old son, Henry, photographing him endlessly but mostly just hanging out, logging the quiet, meaningful hours parents should.
  12. He makes jewelry look cool.
  13. He rants well. “I do find that in this country you have to make a big effort to be well-informed. There is no real news anymore. The war in Iraq was not unlike a studio movie. There was a certain schedule. There was a budget. There were the appropriate visuals. There was a lot of comparing the good guys with the bad guys. The administration used nomenclature reminiscent of the ’30’s; it’s like they’re studying the German technique of subverting attention in a time of national crisis. The erasure of memory is more prevalent than ever. It is easier to sell people the same load of shit tomorrow if they forgot they bought it today.”
  14. He is a patriot. “I won’t say it’s cowardly to leave the country, but there’s something about staying here and saying what I have to say. I’m a citizen. I don’t want to be outside taking potshots.”
  15. His name is Viggo.
  16. He persuaded Ian McKellen to get his first tattoo—the number nine in Tolkien fantasy language. “He was really into it.”
  17. He believes that “you have a moral obligation to finish the job you said you would do.”
  18. He used to personally answer every fan letter until LOTR made that impossible, after which he wrote to all his fan sites explaining why he could no longer personally answer every letter.
  19. He does not canoodle.
  20. He feels the Native American author Black Elk was right when he said that “any man who is attached to things of this world is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by the snakes of his own passions.”
  21. He understands why, in dire times, you’d be tempted to “set your house on fire and never answer the phone again, but it would be better to ask yourself: How can I be most useful to this world? Not that I’m a fucking genius.”