ACTOR Viggo Mortensen has just revealed he was assaulted by radical Real Madrid supporters 11 years ago because they mistook him for a Barça fan.
The half-Danish artist lived in Argentina – Córdoba, Buenos Aires and the province of Chaco – until he was 11 and his parents' divorce led them to return to New York after a decade away, and he remains a lifelong fan of Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro FC.
Coincidentally, Atlético de San Lorezo's strip is blue and burgundy, like that of FC Barcelona – and, in fact, the Argentine side is known colloquially as the azulgranas, or 'blue-maroons', as is Barça.
Mortensen's fluent Spanish means he has starred in films in the language, and one of these was Alatriste, the cinematic adaptation of the novel of the same name by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
He had been staying in the director's house in Madrid at the time of filming, in 2006, when he was set upon by the Real radicals after going out for a stroll in the central Puerta del Sol.
“They said some really ugly things to me,” Viggo reveals.
“It was a bunch of skinheads, and they came along and started beating me up.
“I started looking around for a taxi, anything, and as I had a carrier bag with two bottles of wine in it, in the end I smashed one of them over the head of one of the gang and made a run for it.”
The actor made it safely back to the film director's house, and said he was 'incredulous' when he told him of his ordeal.
It did not put Viggo off Madrid as a city, but he made sure not to wear his San Lorenzo de Almagro shirt if he left the house thereafter.
Mortensen, a published poet, photographer and painter and a professional jazz musician, also revealed he had to spend time in villages in the Curueño Valley in the province of León to make his Río Plata accent sound more Spanish before filming Alatriste, and was awarded the Gold Medals of Merit for the city and province of León after his long stay there.
Mortensen is also a native speaker of English and Danish, having spent his summer holidays in childhood with his family on the farm in Denmark where his dad grew up.
He became a household name with his role in Lord of the Rings, one of many literary adaptations he has starred in, including a screen version of Jack Kérouac's novel On the road five years ago.
Viggo has also played the famous psychodynamic psychologist Dr Sigmund Freud on stage alongside Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley, in Christopher Hampton's play The Talking Cure.