Captain Fantastic – Interview with Viggo Mortensen and Matt Ross

In Captain Fantastic,  a father played by Viggo Mortensen, has been devoted to teaching his six children how to live and survive in the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest. After a family tragedy he is forced to leave his self-created paradise.with his kids who have barely had any interaction with other people and real-life situations.  When confronted with the outside world, he begins a journey that  challenges his ideas of freedom and what it means to raise a family.  

Known primarily for his performances in front of the camera, like Face/Off, American Psycho, Big Love and currently on the hot TV series Silicon Valley, Matt Ross stepped behind the camera in 2012 with the film 28 Hotel Rooms. He now brings us Captain Fantastic, which he not only directs but wrote as well.  

“The genesis of this story came from me questioning the way my wife and I are raising our children, Ross said during our recent interview in Los Angeles. “I have two kids and I was thinking a great deal about what kind of father I want to be what kind of parent I’ve become. A lot of it came out of fights and arguments I had with my wife about our different parenting styles. You don’t really talk about it. You have a conscious decision to have children but you don’t really think about  how’s this going work you just do your best. So I had a lot of questions about someone who if they raised their kids off the grid per say, would they be better off?”
Viggo was very hands during the shoot, something Ross was grateful for. “Viggo had many thoughts and notes, great insights into the material.  Before we even began shooting he had so many suggestions and ideas about how his character might do things and I was completely open to it. Once we began filming, Viggo contributed an effortless simplicity and deep humanity that, I believe, elevated the film. He also provided a lot of his own personal items that we used in the film that made it more special.” 

he movie also features six very talented children who were up for pretty much anything.  The young actors were physically fit, they understood the complicated concepts described in the story, and they could all sing, play musical instruments, speak foreign languages, rock climb, fight, hunt.  A lot was asked of these young actors but they came through with flying colours.  

“I wanted to find special kids, kids with a unique spirit, said Ross. He added, “I wanted to try to capture that and so narrowing it down was brutal. Every child has something special and they worked out beyond my expectations.”  

Captain Fantastic got rave reviews at the Sundance and Seattle Film Festivals. It is a movie that will get you thinking and will certainly stir up a meaningful conversation about life and raising kids. 

Captain Fantastic is now playing in limited release and will open wider over the next few weeks.

Click below for my interview with Viggo Mortensen and Matt Ross