Viggo Mortensen
is a study in contradictions: rugged and undeniably virile, and yet thoroughly and irresistibly sensitive; the kind of man movie stars are made from, but seemingly more satisfied in a more subdued role in a smaller film. Appropriately, his latest film is both a post-apocalyptic epic and a profound character study; The Road is an adaptation of the acclaimed Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, and Viggo plays its main character, a father desperately trying to protect his son from an unhospitable world, both physically and emotionally.

Cinematical recently sat down with Mortensen at the film's press day to discuss his work in the film, which was directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition). In addition to talking about navigating an unforgiving landscape, he discussed the challenges of balancing fealty to source material and simply making a fulfilling movie, and revealed a few of his own fears and insecurities when facing the prospect of sustaining a career both as a movie star and character actor, often at the same time.

You can read our interview with director John Hillcoat over here.

Cinematical: Given the richness of the source material and the familiarity that audiences will have with it, do you make an effort to draw upon the text for your character, or do you have to divorce yourself from it and focus on what's in the script?