ROME (October 17, 2006) — For Viggo Mortensen, it’s loyalty to friends — not to flag or country — that keeps soldiers on the battlefield, as depicted by his character in the film “Alatriste” about a soldier in 17th century Spain.
“Alatriste is not really fighting for his king, but for his friends,” the 47-year-old actor said Monday before presenting the movie at the Rome Film Festival.
“There’s a sense of honor and pride, some of them, of course, fight for their countries, but for some, first comes friendship, the people you’re there with,” Mortensen said, going as far as to compare his character, an aloof and loyal hero to “the American, Italian or even Spanish soldiers who fight in Iraq.”
Mostly shot in Andalusia, Spain, the movie is based on Arturo Perez-Reverte’s saga of Captain Alatriste. It’s been an enormous success in the author’s native Spain and in Latin America.
The first-ever Rome Film Festival has drawn a handful of stars promoting their films to the Italian capital, although the 16 films in competition are mostly smaller films.
“Alatriste” was being shown out of competition. The festival runs through Saturday.