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Why Viggo Mortensen Went Off the Grid

The 'Captain Fantastic' star had his pick of roles, but turned them all down to do what he wanted

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Profile of Viggo Mortensen, who is raising his six kids off the grid despite his multiple blockbusters and oscar nomination http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a45212/viggo-mortensen-profile/ SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20: Actor Viggo Mortensen is photographed for Self Assignment in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by William Lacalmontie/Getty Images)
(William Lacalmontie/Getty Images)

“There are precisely two famous people ever to come out of Watertown. One of them is dead (the writer Frederick Exley), and the other one starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Two and a half hours into our journey, Mortensen and I stop for coffee at a joint he likes because his mother used to go there as a teenager. The place is packed with a lunchtime crowd. We sit at the bar, and no one seems to recognize him, not even the pretty bartendress he chats up about Syracuse basketball. This is a remarkable feat for someone who looks like he does. But he just doesn’t scream ‘I’m famous.’ Plus, he’s dressed like everyone around him, in a plaid flannel shirt, generic jeans (they’re not even Levi’s), and old black sneakers he got in Denmark a couple decades ago. (Mortensen doesn’t go in much for trappings. He has a flip phone!).”

Read the full story, written by Lisa DePaulo, about Viggo Mortensen and his nontraditional career on Esquire.