A Dangerous Method, which is out in cinemas now, looks at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) gives birth to psychoanalysis, with Keira Knightley as a character caught in the middle.
Viggo told STV’s Grant Lauchlan: “The first time I saw it was at the Venice Film Festival, and you never know – people are nervous, it’s a big festival but people laughed a lot, which I liked.
“There’s a lot of subtle humour there. It’s not out and out jokes, really, it’s just a certain kind of wit and irony and uncomfortable situations, that sort of thing.
“We worked hard to get that without overdoing it, so it’s good to see people getting it.”
Though about a complex subject, Viggo explained why the movie directed by David Cronenberg has an appeal beyond academics and others interested in psychoanalysis.
He said: “I think one of the reasons the audience can relate is the way it’s written, and the way David had us play it, it’s about people really.
“It’s not so much about their ideas, their theories – though those things are discussed – it’s about their weaknesses.
“These are three great minds, and yet they were all quite secure in a number of ways. There was jealousy, the competition between them, the man-woman thing – it being a man’s world, the woman having to be two or three times smarter than a man just to get credit – and the banter between Jung and Freud, it’s well written.
“But you can see that a lot of the humour, a lot of the wit is self-defence, it’s out of insecurity. I think you get that the sad thing is by the end these are two people, Jung and Freud, who really liked each other, really admired each other, were anxious to meet. They met, they got on like a house on fire.
“Not just a deep intellectual connection was made, but a real friendship which sadly came apart.”