In the movie, Theron transforms her role, and her point of view is portrayed as "more logical" than Mortensen's character. She asks her husband how they are going to survive and what is the point of life if merely for survival -- questions for which he has no answers.
For Mortensen and for his character, it is faith that keeps them going. They are optimists even in the face of defeat. "When we realize it's not going to get better, it's depressing, it takes the winds out of your sails, but then you look at what you already have and that's how you learn," he said. Mortensen's mantra is based on Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote, "Every wall is a door."
Mortensen is relying on his faith to promote his film, which practically has no marketing budget. He has taken it upon himself to get the word out by doing countless Q&As with audiences after screenings.
"Movies like this rely on word of mouth," he explained and claimed he has seen the movie's impact on its viewers. He wants people who have seen it to tell their friends and family, "I know you have heard the words bleak and depressing associated with it, but you're strangely stronger and more focused and more grateful to be alive at the end of watching this movie."
Mortensen's strongest critic will be his son, Henry, who at the time of the interview had not seen the film. His father depends on him for "tough and thoughtful analysis."
It was Henry, in fact, who made his father accept his most famous role -- Aragorn in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and fans are clamoring for his return in "The Hobbit," which Jackson is co-writing and producing.
"I don't know, nobody's asked," responded Mortensen to the query of whether he would take part, but "I'd rather see myself than have another actor in my role."
"The Road" opens in theaters Nov. 25.