Dynamic Duo

Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali in Green Book

BY: Claire Connors

The ruggedly handsome Viggo Mortensen first grabbed our attention playing Gwyneth Paltrow‘s artistic lover in the 1998 sexy thriller, A Perfect Murder. And his next movie, A Walk on the Moon (1999), only cemented his hotness, playing a shirt-selling Casanova who seduces a young wife (Diane Lane) holidaying in the Catskills during the summer of love (and only a few miles away from Woodstock). The couple’s sex scene is so lusciously erotic, you’ll want to watch it again and again.

So it’s surprising to see an almost unrecognizable Mortensen in the trailer for the based-on-a-true-story period piece, Green Book. In it he plays Tony Lip, a roughneck Italian bouncer from Brooklyn hired to be the limo driver of Don Shirley, a famous black classical pianist who was touring through the Jim Crow south in the 1960s. The title is in reference to the manual, The Negro Motorist Green Book, a segregation-era guide for road-tripping African Americans driving through the south, informing them of which establishments were friendly and safe for people of color, and which ones definitely were not.

Playing Shirley is the equally delicious Mahershala Ali, who won an Academy Award for his supporting role in 2016’s Best Motion Picture, Moonlight. The elegant actor mostly appeared on television series during 2000s, and was especially good (and very sexy) as Remy Danton in Netflix‘s House of Cards. 2016 was his year to shine on the big screen with both Moonlight and the wonderful space drama, Hidden Figures. Fun fact: he’s played Taraji P. Henson‘s love interest in both Hidden Figures and in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).

Green Book had its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival where it won the People’s Choice Award and is gaining momentum in the Oscar race for both of these amazing actors. It opens on November 21st.