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How do you top being King of Middle Earth?

Now that the Lord of the Rings saga has ended, what lies ahead for Viggo Mortensen?

The 46-year-old Danish-American actor recently wrapped A History of Violence, due Sept. 30. In the film, which co-stars Ed Harris and Maria Bello, he plays the happily married owner of a small-town diner whose life changes overnight when he kills an intruder in self-defense.

Mortensen, a man with a wanderlust, is also working on two Spanish-language movies, a $28 million adventure yarn called Alatriste, and Teresa, in which he plays a 16th century cleric. The actor speaks fluent Spanish, but, despite his Lord of the Rings celebrity, it's unlikely that either of these will get a major release in the United States.

As well as being an interesting career move, Mortensen's sojourn in Spain may provide a break from personal problems. Last year, his former wife, punk singer Exene Cervenka, filed papers demanding that his child support for their son should be increased from $3,000 a month to $18,000. Single since the breakup of his marriage, Mortensen had been dating actress Lola Schnabel, daughter of painter and film director Julian Schnabel, for two years, but the couple called it quits in 2003.

(From Celebrity Q&A; in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Published June 5, 2005

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