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Viggo Mortensen shows support for Ukraine at Glasgow festival premiere

Viggo Mortensen had a message of support for Ukraine as he arrived in Glasgow for the UK premiere of his new Western film.

The Lord Of The Rings star wore the Ukrainian trident symbol, the country’s coat of arms, on his shirt as he walked on to the red carpet of the Glasgow Film Festival.

He was joined by Solly McLeod, who co-stars in The Dead Don’t Hurt.

Described as a moving romantic Western, it is set in the 1860s and sees Mortensen play a Danish immigrant, Holger Olsen, who becomes involved with the fiercely independent Vivienne Le Coudy, played by Vicky Krieps.

On the red carpet, Mortensen was asked if he wanted to send a message to people in Ukraine.

Viggo Mortensen and Solly McLeod
Viggo Mortensen and Solly McLeod on the red carpet at the UK premiere of The Dead Don’t Hurt (Neil Pooran/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “We support them against Russian aggression, against people who condone it. In Russia, but especially outside of Russia.”

However the 65-year-old actor would not be drawn further on what leaders in the West should be doing to support Ukraine.

He is a critic of former US president Donald Trump and has previously spoken of his support for US senator Bernie Sanders, before backing the US Green Party’s presidential candidate Dr Jill Stein in the 2016 presidential election.

In the US, Republicans have sought to block military aid to Ukraine in a partisan clash with Democrats in Congress over immigration.

Mortensen is director, producer, on-screen star and composer of The Dead Don’t Hurt.

He said much of the film was composed and recorded before they started shooting, saying: “It helps me find the rhythm and know how long the scene should last in some cases, and what the mood we hope to get across is.”

The film has been “years of work”, Mortensen said, saying he had grown up around Westerns and horse riding.

Most Westerns are “predictable and naive, but every once in a while there’s a really good story,” he said.

Those watching closely will notice a prop which appeared in the trilogy which led to international fame for the US actor.

At one point a dream sequence shows a medieval knight holding a sword – it is Anduril, the reforged weapon wielded by Mortensen’s character Aragorn in The Lord Of The Rings.

Mortensen said he asked permission for the blade to reappear on the big screen, saying: “I couldn’t think of a better sword than that one.

“So I asked Peter Jackson and the film company that made The Lord Of The Rings if I could have permission

“He said ‘What are you doing with it, how important (is it?)’

“I said you’ll be lucky if you even notice it, which is true.”

He said his mother’s side of his family had links to Scotland and he was happy to be in Glasgow.

At the film festival, Mortensen was presented with the festival’s inaugural Cinema City Honorary Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cinema.