Experiencing the Life of TCK Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of The Rings (Image credit: New Line)

Viggo Mortensen is an adult Third Culture Kid who has appeared in a number of films in multiple languages. 

Mortensen was born to a Danish father and U.S. mother, both who met in Norway. Mortensen was born in New York City, USA before he and his family moved to South America where his father managed chicken farms in both Argentina and Venezuela. 

Mortensen and his childhood

During his time in South America, Mortensen was sent to a strict boarding school in Argentina at the age of seven. When he turned 11, his parents split apart and his mother, his brothers and he moved back to New York. 

Viggo Mortensen in 2016's "Captain Fantastic" (Image credit: Electric City Entertainment/ShivHans Pictures)
Viggo Mortensen in 2016’s “Captain Fantastic” (Image credit: Electric City Entertainment/ShivHans Pictures)

In his childhood, he started learning the Danish, Spanish and English languages. He also started playing and watching sports, trying to find a culture for himself from the multiple cultures he’s been in.

He loved the New York Mets baseball team, he loved the Danish and Argentine soccer teams, and because of his Canadian grandfather he loves the Montreal Canadiens. In fact, he wore a Montreal Canadiens shirt throughout the filming of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. 

Step into manhood

After he finished high school, Mortensen moved to Denmark to find his purpose. He worked a lot of jobs, including truck driver, dock worker and a flower seller. He wrote plenty of short stories and poems while he lived in Denmark.

Eventually, Mortensen moved back to New York City to receive his master’s degree in Spanish from the University of New York. 

While getting his degree in Spanish, he started taking acting classes. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles, Calif. and performed in a play that gave him the Drama Logue Award.

Viggo Mortensen in 2014's "Far From Men" (Image credit: Pathe)
Viggo Mortensen in 2014’s “Far From Men” (Image credit: Pathe)

This led to him getting his small debut in the movie “Witness” in 1985 that starred Harrison Ford. More work followed until in 1999, he got a call about “Lord of the Rings.” 

Mortensen first wanted to turn down the job, but his son — a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien — persuaded him to take the part.

Mortensen was soon seen as an influential person because of his experience as being a TCK. He experienced multiple cultures and a different lifestyle that most people didn’t. What makes him stand out is when he mentioned to The Guardian:

I don’t really look for movies based on the budget or the nationality or the language, I just want to be in movies that I wouldn’t mind seeing 10 years from now.

Most actors aren’t like this, and he has changed the way fans look at him forever.

Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of The Rings (Image credit: New Line)
Viggo Mortensen in “The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King” (Image credit: New Line)
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