The 2018 Finest Image Oscar winner Inexperienced Ebook is right this moment remembered extra for the controversy concerning its depiction of race relations than its precise story. Viggo Mortensen got here in for an enormous chunk of the criticism since many believed his position within the movie was a basic instance of the “white savior” trope in motion pictures. In a latest interview, Mortensen weighed in on the controversy and the unfairness of what the film has come to imply to a sure part of the viewers in terms of tales involving race.
“[The film is] a story that was based on a very real friendship, and real events, with very few liberties taken at all, but there was this small minority saying it’s not truthful to the period, those people weren’t friends, those things didn’t happen, etc. The dumbass in that story was the white guy. There was a steep learning curve for the character I played. But they both learned from each other. And the fact is, it was based on real events. So the people that really tried to do damage to the movie’s reputation during its run, as you say, and people still to this day are like, “Oh, is that this the Inexperienced Ebook of this yr?” As if it’s a stain to have been part of that movie, which is ridiculous. That very small minority was either unknowingly or knowingly misinformed and misinforming about the foundation of that story, and the friendship that it’s based on.”
Inexperienced Ebook was impressed by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley and Italian American bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga who acted as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard. The film was criticized for focussing on Frank’s redemption as a bigot by the hands of Shirley, in addition to accusations from surviving members of Shirley’s household that the movie misrepresented the connection between Shirley and Tony as being much more intimate than it truly was. For Viggo Mortensen, such detractors don’t take away from what he considers a well-made movie whose themes are nonetheless related to the state of the world right this moment.
“That was unfortunate, and very irritating, because we wanted to talk about the movie and the subject of racism historically and how things hadn’t still hadn’t changed enough by a longshot, as we’ve seen in the last couple of years-certainly, that’s evident. It was unfortunate that it happened, but the public, of all stripes, in all countries, reacted extremely favorably to the movie. I think–and I said so at the time–I think it’s a really good movie and it’s going to stand the test of time. I think it’s up there in the finest tradition of the best work from people like Preston Sturges and others. It’s a really well-made movie, period, and a valuable glimpse of a specific time in US history, with repercussions to this day and with lessons for this day.”
This information first appeared at The Movie Stage in a dialogue about Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut Falling.