Viggo Mortensen announced October 15, 2018, that he will be making his debut as a director with Falling. Mortensen wrote the original screenplay, and will be one of the lead actors, along with Lance Henriksen and Sverrir Gudnason (in photo).
From the Hanway Films press release:
Acclaimed actor Viggo Mortensen explores the fractures and contrasts that make up a modern family in his directorial debut, FALLING, an intimate drama about a man’s relationship with his aging father.
John Petersen (Mortensen) lives with his partner Eric and their adopted daughter Monica in Southern California. His father Willis (Henriksen/Gudnason) is a farmer whose attitudes and behaviour belong to a far more traditional era and family model. When Willis travels to Los Angeles for an indefinite stay with John’s family in order to search for a place to retire, these two very different worlds collide.
Willis’ behaviour can be both caustic and funny – with outbursts that shock his liberal family. This endears him to grand-daughter Monica, but it almost proves too much for John, bringing old wounds back to the surface and creating new ones along the way. With Willis’ memory in rapid decline, his thoughts turn back to his first wife Gwen, a love that still consumes him a lifetime later. As father and son confront the events that have torn them apart, we see the gamut of their relationship over 40 years, and their differing recollections of John’s mother, Gwen: from dark to light, from rage and jealousy through to acceptance, laughter, and hard-won grace.”
Casting notes: we had initially assumed that Sverrir Gudnason would be playing Eric, but the above suggests that he is playing Willis in his younger days. And do you recognize Lance Henriksen from Appaloosa?
An article in the New York Times Style Magazine, October 15, 2018, mentions that “[Viggo] has gone to Toronto to scout locations for a movie he’s planning to direct. He tells me he’s returned to a script he began writing back in the ’90s, before his career took off.”
Articles about Falling
Speaking of his upcoming project Falling, where he will be directing for the first time, Viggo Mortensen said, "I've been very lucky. I've had some great teachers.... I've been in many good stories and I've worked with great directors.... No matter how different the tastes or the storytelling techniques of David Cronenberg or Matt Ross or Pete Farrelly, all of them share one thing in common: they're team players." He went on to talk about the kind of actors he wants to work with, mentioning Mahershala Ali as a sterling example.
Sheryl Oh points out that the family drama Falling is a good choice for Mortensen as "he often proves himself to be a master at embodying affecting drama." She reviews his career, roles and performances, and predicts that Falling will be a powerful work.