NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Viggo Mortensen says The Two Faces of January explores the darker side of humanity.
The 55-year-old actor detailed the new thriller in an interview with Asbury Park Press. The film is based on Patricia Highsmith's novel of the same name, and follows con man Chester (Mortensen) and his wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) in 1962. The couple's lives begin to unravel when they meet charismatic scam artist Rydal (Oscar Isaac) on vacation in Athens.
"I liked working with [Dunst] a lot," Mortensen said. "She's a really good actress and she always gets her presence in any movie, no matter what genre it is, she lends a little touch of class. There's something about it, she has a very unique presence in the movies."
"No matter what character she's playing, there's always something really intriguing going on," he elaborated. "She's not only attractive, but she's also just an interesting actress to look at, to watch work, you want to watch that character develop and you want to see what happens."
Mortensen suggested Chester, Colette and Rydal are intriguing because the audience sees their flaws. The actor praised Highsmith's ability to create depth by showing the "weaker side," "ugly moments" and "awkwardness" of characters.
"She's an expert at showing the seedier side of humanity, that's one of her strengths," he said of the author. "That's very typical of film noir characters, too. There's a certain quiet, and sometimes not so quiet, desperation to them. Basically, film noir characters all lose by the end, and pretty much all are lying, at least to themselves."
The Two Faces of January was directed by Hossein Amini, the screenwriter behind Jude and Drive. The film debuted in select theaters Sept. 12, and is also available through video-on-demand services.
Mortensen will next appear in Captain Fantastic, while Dunst is scheduled for Midnight Special.