Quotable Viggo 2010


Goto page: Previous 1 2 3 ... 7 Next

Quotable Viggo: 7 November 2010

Well, I tried to do the usual Quotable, but somehow I just couldn't put myself in the right place this week. This has been a difficult time, and sometimes we have to reach out for something more than the usual to help us along. These quotes are nothing to do with Viggo, except in the fact that they have everything to do with all of us. Perhaps they will make you smile, perhaps they will provide a little healing, perhaps they will be a gold nugget that you will carry away and keep. But they are from me to you.


Have hope. Though clouds environs now, And gladness hides her face in scorn, Put thou the shadow from thy brow - No night but hath its morn.

J. C. F. von Schiller

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.

Ashleigh Brilliant

Man arrives as a novice at each age of his life.

Sebastien Chamfort

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard

Out of difficulties grow miracles.

Jean de la Bruyere

There are days when it takes all you've got just to keep up with the losers.

Robert Orben

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser - in case you thought optimism was dead.

Robert Brault

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.


The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.

Mahatma Gandhi

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.

Ethiopian proverb

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.

George Eliot

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared to believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.

Bruce Barton

The great difference between voyages rests not in ships but in the people you meet on them.

Amelia Barr

One for whom the pebble has value must be surrounded by treasures wherever he goes.

Par Lagerkvist

We're all only fragile threads, but what a tapestry we make.

Jerry Ellis

Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

My only sketch, profile, of heaven is a large blue sky, and larger than the biggest I have seen in June - and in it are my friends - every one of them.

Emily Dickinson

Quotable Viggo: 23 October 2010

Well! We finally have a drop of water in the drought, with a stunning photo of Viggo as Freud. And I think we all know that when we finally see this film on our screens he will be Freud, however unlikely it would have seemed when he was saving Middle-earth with his sword. There have been physical changes made with make-up and contact lenses, but we know his performance will be beyond all of that because when Viggo creates a character he vanishes completely, and somehow manages to dig out the soul of whoever he is portraying. Cronenberg hits the nail right on the head in the first quote. Personally, I can't wait for 'A Dangerous Method'.

[SIZE=1]©Universal Pictures International.[/SIZE]

I wanted to bring these people back to life. I never got to talk to Freud but I got to talk to Viggo playing Freud.

David Cronenberg on Freud, Keira and pressing the flesh
Brian D. Johnson
25 August 2010

The best thing about the film is Viggo Mortensen's performance. A stealth talent of many shadings, Mortensen has a way of fitting easily into nearly any period, any milieu.

The Road
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
24 November 2009

In his latest movie The Road, Viggo Mortensen looks a sorry and destitute sight as he shuffles along wearing sodden rags, more than two stone below his normal weight, his handsome face largely disguised by an unkempt beard, and dark, hollow rings around his penetrating blue eyes.

As screen images go, you couldn't find one more different from that of the powerful and imposing warrior Aragorn, the heroic Lord of the Rings role that shot him to international stardom in Peter Jackson's blockbusting trilogy.

Viggo Mortensen's Challenging Movie
By Rob Driscoll
Western Mail
1 January 2010

In Mr. McCarthy's skeletal, purple-tinted prose, the father is less a cipher than an axiom, an embodiment of flinty paternal steadfastness partly humanized by doubts and flaws. Mr. Mortensen puts flesh on the bones and a soul behind the exhausted, terrified eyes.

A. O. Scott
New York Times
25 November 2009

Viggo Mortensen is missing. Yes, that actor on the screen looks like him--and he certainly possesses the same quiet assurance when he speaks and physicality when he fights. But more like a magician than actor, he has disappeared into the world of Eastern Promises.

Finding Viggo Mortensen
By Susan Thea Posnock
Awards Daily: Oscar Watch
12 December 2007

"It's a complete transformation from the inside out. He played two characters really in A History of Violence, and I saw traces of neither of them in his portrayal of Nikolai."

David Cronenberg
Eastern Promises Production Notes
20 August 2007
Source: Focus Features

"I saw Viggo yesterday for the first time since we finished the film and it was like a whole different person. I almost didn't recognise him."

Naomi Watts
Matt Mueller, Total Film
October 2007

When he appears, getting out of a black limo, in front of a Russian bath situated in a small London street, I can't recognise him....He is so scary that all the clients from a bar ran away in a panic the minute they noticed the tattoos on his hands.

Cronenberg and the Russian Godfather
By Serge Grunberg - translated by Celine
Studio, May 2007

Although his acting chops have never been in doubt, what Mortensen accomplishes in the role of Nikolai Luzhin, the driver of a Russian mob family, goes beyond simply good acting -- it's a complete transformation. With his flawless Russian accent, tattoo-covered body and a face so sharp it looks like it could cut diamonds, he becomes nearly unrecognizable, even without the use of prosthetics or heavy makeup.

Andrew Smith
Charleston Gazette
29 Sept 2007

...in the electrifying German-British co-production Good, my favorite film of the festival, even this mesmerizing chameleon, who has proved he can play anything, surprised the hell out of audiences, who emerged stunned.

What Has Happened to the Toronto Film Festival?
Rex Reed
The New York Observer
9 September 2008

Viggo Mortensen continues to display his brilliance in front of the camera with another chameleon turn in his representation of the shy and humble Hadler. The gradual moral corruption is wonderfully and convincingly portrayed and the entire film would fail in the hands of a less capable thespian. Mortensen is truly a master of his art.

Sebastian Cordoba
7 April 2009

"I also tried to discover theCaptain's soul; that's why I went to León..."

The Desired One
By Ester Aguado
Women Magazine
August 2006
Translated for V-W by Graciela

'He went home in his wardrobe, you know, he camped in the desert with the horses and the wranglers, and I was amazed when I did see the Lord of the Rings films that not only did it seem like... I mean, it was obviously a different character, but it seemed like a different person playing the different characters.

Joe Johnston
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004

"He transforms his entire life into the character," says Sean Astin. "I've never seen an actor go there the way this guy does."

Sean Astin
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

Quotable Viggo: 17 October 2010

While we wait to hear more about On the Road, I thought we would go back to the road we've already travelled along and take a look at what others working on The Road thought about Viggo. Javier Aguirresarobe saw him as 'Papa', Garett Dillahunt coins the wonderful phrase to 'Viggo-up', Michael K Williams reckons he was 'Viggo-tized' and Kodi Smit-McPhee joked that 'he sucks'. But I think everyone would agree with John Hillcoat that he's really Mr One Hundred and Ten Percent.

Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films.

"He throws himself one hundred and ten percent into a role, it's very intense," said Hillcoat. "And it's an intense role. But that's also what's great about him, that hundred and ten percent. There was only one thing that I was irritated with: he was on a diet of chocolate, really dark chocolate and red meat. That's it. He brought all of these great chocolates from everywhere in the world and shared them with the crew. I'm still addicted to dark chocolate. I can't get away from it."

Hitting 'The Road' with Director John Hillcoat
Matt Mazur
22 November 2009

If anyone could survive in a post-apocalyptic world, the director says, it would be Viggo. "It's such a challenging and extreme survival world that he has to do things that have to be credible," he says. And yet, the role requires not only physical verisimilitude, but the ability to show tenderness and inner strength. "For some actors it might be a stretch that they're so tender and sensitive to a child and yet be able to physically do what he has to do. Viggo's very intense and very wound up, and that is what the father is all about. He's so haunted by the suicide of his loved one-his wife and partner-and yet he has this incredible protective relationship with his son. It is a love story, and in such a challenging and extreme survival world, he has to do things that have to be credible."

John Hillcoat
Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

Mortensen is The Man. That´s the way he is known in the film. Or Papa, as Kodi Smit-McPhee, his fictional son, calls him. Viggo is one of the pillars supporting The Road. I´d say he is everything. I have seldom seen an actor so dedicated, so ambitious and so ready for his work. Mortensen immersed himself in the project to the extent of giving all. He placed inconceivable demands on himself. After every take he would look me in the eyes and say: Have we got it? He's been a lesson in professionalism and comradeship. We shared wine and soccer talk. Furthermore, Viggo became Kodi´s father. They were more than co-workers in the shoot. Very few times I have felt such a perfect father and son chemistry in the cinema. Off the set they behaved the same way. In cinema, sometimes, you are witness to an unwritten love and tenderness. I owe a lot to Papa.

Javier Aguirresarobe (cinematographer)
On the Road with Javier Aguirresarobe
by Blanca J de la Hoz
February 2010

Were you disappointed to be in a film with Viggo Mortensen yet not act in a scene with him?

Well funnily enough, I did in the scene that didn't end up in the film. I'm a huge fan of his, he's really extraordinary, so I would have loved to have worked with him.

Guy Pearce
Guy Pearce is a bona-fide Aussie star, in films The Road and The Hurt Locker
By Neala Johnson
Herald Sun (Australia)
28 January 2010

But as far as working with Viggo and Kodi, you know, I've had a few leads in indies since I worked on "The Road," and it's become an adjective when you do something: to "Viggo up." The guy is a mule -- he seems tireless. But he's kind and focused too.

Garett Dillahunt
By Paul Gaita
The Envelope
17 December 2009

"Come on, we've all been Viggo-tized before," Williams says of the 'Lord of the Rings' stud and 'Road' co-star. "He has that charisma, he has a swagger. He's a great dude."

It's not that Williams takes it as far as some of Viggo's female fans: "(But) I have my own kind of love affair with him," says Williams. "I know whenever I see him in God's green earth I am going to get a hug. And we're going to get a drink, time-permitting. And we'll kick it a little bit."

Michael K Williams
'Wire' Hero Michael K. Williams Loved Getting 'Viggo-tized' on 'The Road'
Bryan Alexander
19 November 2009

"This guy here [he puts a hand on Mortensen's shoulder] is a good a guy as you'll ever work with, not just as a talent but as a human being. The first day, he brought goodies from Argentina and flags and everything. His favorite soccer team is not as good as La Boca, but it's a good team."

Robert Duvall
Viggo Mortensen and Robert Duvall go on 'The Road' to redemption
By Carla Hay
25November 2009

"He's very in the moment, definitely, right in the moment. When you see me running with him, and he's holding my hand and I trip over and all that, it's totally real. I was falling into thorns and stuff -- Aah! Aah! -- and he just drags me up and puts me on his shoulder. I'm like, Oh, my God."

Kodi Smit-McPhee
Viggo Mortensen: 'A Grown Man in an Era of Boys'
Jay A. Fernandez
Risky Biz
12 September 2009

"I was overwhelmed by the actor's ability to stay focused and stay in role. And I hope I'm not saying something out of school here--and I don't know how Viggo will feel about this--but for the first few days of the shoot, he slept in his clothes to stay in role. He paid attention to every detail. If his shoes weren't wet enough, he would spray himself. He was totally absorbed and obsessed with the part. He became The Man."

Steve Schwartz. (Producer)
Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

"Different actors have different processes that they use. What I've seen with Viggo is that he is able to use the environment more so than any other actor I've worked with before to put him where he needs to be emotionally....And maybe it's pouring down rain, and he'll walk away from umbrellas, raincoats. He'll walk away from any tent that's being offered or any blanket to be intentionally cold and wet, and it seems to take him to a place that's quite remarkable. I've seen it happen over and over again in the snow, the rain, cold, the fog - anything that he is able to use that puts him in the world of the character. He's a very physical actor as well, and it's been a remarkable process to watch that. I would imagine it takes an enormous amount of concentration to be able to not let the cold ground or the rocks on the road or whatever it may be break your concentration, but it's taken him to a place that is pretty amazing over and over and over again."

Rudd Simmons (producer)
Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

"He's very intense. He's very Method. There's no stopping him. He was starving himself. He was going out, rolling in the snow and sleeping in his wardrobe and rubbing the dirt in his eyes and face, I mean, it's extraordinary. It makes the performance all that more incredible. But I think also he's got an incredible face, a very expressive face. To find an everyman that you could buy going through that, because he's a very physical actor as well. It was a hell of a thing for him to undertake, because there's nowhere to hide. He's in every single frame almost, throughout every scene, and every emotion he has to delve into, every emotion. The journey is very extreme, so it's a lot to ask of someone."

Hillcoat talking about Viggo
John Hillcoat Hits The Road
By Edward Douglas
19 November 2009

"This morning, someone asked him, 'Kodi, what was it like to work with Viggo?'" Mortensen recalls, giving Smit-McPhee the stink eye. "And he says, 'The first thing you have to understand is: he sucks.'"

Smit-McPhee just grins back, making Mortensen laugh.

Viggo Mortensen Walks (and Talks) The Road
By Kat Angus
15 September 2009

Quotable Viggo: 10 October 2010

GI Jane... a film I hardly ever put in my DVD player in case the rampaging testosterone levels blow up my TV, and yet it contains one of Viggo's outstanding performances. Who could have come up with the complex, D.H. Lawrence reading Urgayle but Viggo? So I've taken another look at the film and it's interesting to see his usual immaculate preparation, his frustrations about how critics read the character, and the fact that this was yet another film that many thought would finally shoot him to stardom. Who would have thought that Tolkien would finally do what Ridley Scott couldn't?

© Hollywood Pictures / Trap-Two-Zero.

His work in GI Jane was brave - he brought understatement to the kind of role that offers grandstanding opportunities on a silver platter.

Viggo Mortensen: A Method Actor in Middle-Earth
by Ryan Gilbey,
The Independent.uk, 2001

'The profile of the average survivor of the underwater demolition training is a guy like me. Not a big guy, they're not big monsters, you know, "cause it's really more about mental toughness. It's like, in spite of being exhausted, wet and cold and tired and injured and browbeaten and all that, you stay focused on your objective."

Do you think you'd pass this sort of test?

"I'd like to think so, but I don't know until I do it."

Viggo Mortensen
The Master Chief
by Michele Manelis
Marie Claire, November 1997

'While Demi and the entire cast endured a mini-boot camp in Florida preparing for the film, I worked with Navy SEAL guys, but on my own for several months. The other cast members, with the exception of Demi, were pissed I didn't go through what they had to go through. And that's what I wanted.'

Vim and Viggo
By Merle Ginsberg
September 1997

'They were wary about some actor coming in, but these were normal guys. They sat across from me, unblinkingly discussing whatever while I knew they'd killed with their bare hands.'

Viggo talking about the Navy Seals
Jane Man: Viggo Mortensen
By Lesley O'Toole
November 1997

It would be all too easy to imagine a story of spiteful male Seals and slow-burning sexual tension, but ''G.I. Jane'' doesn't much bother with that. Moments like Jordan's first appearance in a tight T-shirt and her shower- room confrontation with a commanding officer are interestingly underplayed.

So is the pivotal role of her commander, known as Master Chief and played with cool, charismatic aplomb by Viggo Mortensen. The role, as underwritten, becomes fascinatingly ambiguous in its mixture of veiled sadism and unconcealed patriotic fervor.

Janet Maslin
New York Times
August 22, 1997

The actor expresses regret that GI Jane's sexual politics sailed over the heads of the cineplex crowd. "A lot of people thought my character was just a sadist..."

Viggo Mortensen on fighting with Demi Moore in GI Jane
The Man Who Would Be King
by Nick Dent
Black & White magazine 2001

'He's not a sexist,' Mortensen says. 'He tortures everybody. He needs to know Demi's character can handle what she might run into in combat. And, yeah, we do come to blows in one scene, and, yeah, it's kind of shocking.'

Vim and Viggo
By Merle Ginsberg
September 1997

Urgayle is an intriguing character, played by Mortensen to suggest depths and complications. In an early scene he is discovered reading a novel by J.M. Coetzee, the dissident South African who is not on the Navy's recommended reading list, and in an early scene he quotes a famous poem by D.H. Lawrence, both for its imagery (of a bird's unattended death) and in order to freak out the trainees by suggesting a streak of subtle madness.

Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 22, 1997

'The easiest thing would have been to make him a woman-hater and a ball-busting head-stomper,' he affirms. Instead he suggested to Scott that 'poetry might be right for this guy.'

Jane Man: Viggo Mortensen
By Lesley O'Toole
November 1997

'...the book which I give to Demi Moore, in which there is that poem, it was mine, all battered, really old ...'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior, by Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002

'He is absolutely dedicated to the process,' says Ridley Scott. 'He was constantly revisiting me with questions and notes and suggestions, none of which I ever got tired of.'

Ridley Scott on GI Jane
Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997

'The other day I came across a Mad Magazine. For the first time I felt like I had arrived when I saw a GI Jane parody of me called GI Shame. [Laughs] My favorite part was the idea that the candidates were dropping out of the SEALs not from the physical abuse but from my awful poetry readings.'

Viggo Mortensen on GI Jane
The Hot New 39-Year-Old
by Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine, 1998

You're on the verge of becoming a huge star. How do you feel about that?

Well I'm glad you sound very sure of that fact. [Laughs] I don't know if that's a given thing.

The Master Chief
By Michele Manelis
Marie Claire
November 1997

'I'm going to be remembered as the guy who got beat up by Demi Moore.'

Jane Man: Viggo Mortensen
By Lesley O'Toole
November 1997

Quotable Viggo: 2 October 2010

As compensation for going Quotableless last week I thought we would have a bit of fun with a quiz. I have a bunch of movie related quotes below but no references, so you can have a go at guessing which film they relate to. But be careful as some are quite tricksy and a few films appear more than once. And don't try to separate the three LotR films or you'll drive yourselves nuts!

Write down your answers and post them on Tuesday - not before - so latecomers have time to think. And on Wednesday I'll give you all the answers. This isn't a competition, I won't be marking them and there are no prizes (apart from the chance to go 'yeah, I knew that!'), it's just a little something to get those brain cells going as we slide towards winter hibernation.

Oh, and... the picture below is absolutely no help whatsoever. At least with the quiz!


'The character is a quiet, introspective man who has spent his life suppressing his emotions. And they are painful emotions, indeed. Mortensen does an exquisite job of revealing just enough of the bottled-up angst to make us aware of the internal turmoil his character battles.'

'My character is an average person in an extraordinary situation who has to make difficult decisions. It was nice to play a guy with a job and a family, rather than a guy with a big axe to grind.'

'Just like in the story itself, there were constant surprises to deal with and just when you think you've achieved some victory, some greater obstacle presents itself. It's like some ridiculous video game that gets worse with every level.'

"I dunno, maybe I'm channeling some barbaric ancestor or something."

'I was like Tom Sawyer, and they paid me, and I could watch the crew on set as much as I wanted.'

'It's like a great thoroughly satisfying and complex piece of music to me, this movie.'

'His participation in this movie was agreed at a moment's notice. It went all so quickly that he read the script while flying out...'

'The executive producer insisted that the actor spent the entire day, "I think even the weekends, filthy and with his make up on, because he said that he had to feel as uncomfortable as the character in order to portray it correctly." The difference is that, when he wasn't shooting, due to doctor's advice, he would take off his boots and walk barefoot...'

'...I'm surprised they let me do that, actually. There was just a little time before we were going to start and I just asked, "What if I did this myself?'

"He is shocked when he looks into the mirror but he doesn't stop; he thinks he'll have time to think things through later,"

'Viggo Mortensen... is inescapably Shakespearean in the meaty thrust and parry of his role...'

'Then I remember a real struggle for what was going to happen, what the moments were going to be between the two of them. And something happened, it crystallized, and suddenly Viggo was on fire.'

'Viggo Mortensen undergoes an interesting transformation in his key scene... we believe him when he's a nice guy, and we believe him even more when he's not; he doesn't do a big style shift, he simply turns off his people-pleasing face.'

'I can only praise Mortensen for the consistency of his character's voice and for the actor's ability to draw textual nuance from lines outside of his native tongue.'

'When you look into Mortensen's eyes, you're convinced that he's come to terms with the fact that he's condemned to eternal damnation and is living his life accordingly. His performance is chilling and mesmerizing, perhaps the greatest of his career.'

"There is a strange wizened quality to my face in [.......] that is beyond any make-up, and beyond any explanation," he says. "It happens in movies, every once in a while. You go further than you intended. There are looks on my face in that film that have only come from a great leap of faith."

'The quality that really stood out to me was his quietness.... he has a still, modest quality to him that was perfect for these guys. I noticed that in some of the movies I'd seen him in, and he also had it in real life.'

'Mortensen doesn't appear until an hour has passed - but when he does he immediately marks himself as one of those actors who doesn't need fancy lighting to be incandescent.'

"Sort of like a lethal butler"

'He's a young Sean Connery but with a grittier style.'

Quotable Viggo: 19 September 2010

This has been one of those weeks - I know we all have them - so today's Quotable was always going to be a bit of a mishmash. But amazingly, without me even trying, it seems to have based itself very loosely around Bernd Volland's comment below: 'Viggo -- was it mentioned already? -- well, he's different.' Vive la différence!

© Focus Features.

Viggo Mortensen is a smolderer. He opens those intense, I-know-how-to-build-my-own-kitchen eyes, and he wins my girlfriend over every time. Obviously, I want to hate him because anyone that ruggedly handsome has to be despised on principal alone, but like Paul Newman and his absurdly delicious salad dressing, there comes a day when you just have to admit a dude's alright.

20 Actors Who Deserve Your Support
By Josh
Cinema Blend
22 August 2010

Viggo Mortensen isn't just a celebrity, as you're probably aware. He isn't even just a fine actor. He's also a painter, a poet and a photographer, and he makes records, too, often in collaboration with Buckethead, the masked wizard guitarist. In addition, he's also conversant in half a dozen languages -- yet another body blow to an interviewer's self-esteem. But I soldiered on.

Viggo Mortensen On 'The Road,'
By Kurt Loder
25 November 2009

Viggo Mortensen is no flake. He's a pretty intense guy -- with a mellow sort of presence.

After "The Road" Viggo Mortensen Looks on the Bright Side: "You Could Always Be Dead"
By Jeffrey Podolsky
Wall Street Journal
17 November 2009

With so many of Hollywood's movie stars seeming like overgrown kids, Viggo Mortensen is the rare American actor who is both muscular and humane, tough and sensitive, fighter and lover. He seduces us with a thread of danger, his chiselled Nordic physique and stunning blue eyes.

36th Telluride Film Festival Program Guide
September 2009

Barefoot, carrying a coffee plunger of water and sporting a United Nations badge on his jacket, Hollywood star Viggo Mortensen wandered into his own press conference as though he were planning to sit on the back lawn.

A Barefoot Viggo Lords It Over The Fans
By James Gardiner
29 November 2003
Source: New Zealand Herald

Viggo Mortensen, the man who is Aragorn -- the most heroic warrior in the most heroic movie of all times, "The Lord of the Rings", glides onto his chair. Viggo is barefoot, he holds a wooden brass decorated cup with a silver straw and some greenish fluid inside. He slurps. It's Mate tea. Viggo -- was it mentioned already? -- well, he's different.

Viggo Mortensen
By Bernd Volland Translated by JoannaP
Stern Speziel Biografie
April 2003

Wearing all manner of Buenos Aires and soccer trappings (socks, bracelet, and a San Lorenzo pin, plus a complete mate set and the sports section of The Nation on hand), Viggo Mortensen greeted the Argentinean press on his recent visit to Buenos Aires..... He takes off his black boots and allows us to see the wide stripes on his socks in the colours of the team he loves.

Viggo Mortensen: The Biggest Soccer Fan In Hollywood
By Lorena García - translated by Margarita
La Nacion
16 November 2005

"Eastern Promises" finds Mortensen playing Nikolai Luzhin, a Russian ex-con tattooed from head to toe with elaborate designs detailing his every misdeed and prison stint. He puts out lit cigarettes on his tongue, can fight to the death while naked and has a knack for snipping the extremities off corpses to make them more portable.

So it's a little underwhelming when Mortensen walks in and starts bustling around, brewing up a pot of herbal tea and assembling a lovely plate of fresh berries.

Viggo's 'Promises'
By Sara Stewart
New York Post
26 Aug 2007

The surprising thing about Viggo Mortensen is how talkative the guy is. Seriously: The smolderingly still presence of "Eastern Promises," "A History of Violence," and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy turns out to be a regular Chatty Cathy in person.

An actor lured by western promise
By Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 28, 2008

...the actor tends toward abstractions and diversions in conversation. Entire paragraphs can pass by without a concrete noun, but you don't mind because he's friendly and easygoing - a man with the attitude of a surfer, the eyes of a killer, and the brain of a slacker bookworm.

An actor lured by western promise
By Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 28, 2008

Barefoot and clad in a pair of sweats that have seen better days, Viggo Mortensen walks over to introduce himself. His hands and arms are covered with names and phone numbers he has scribbled on himself after checking his answering machine. And his hair is tousled and flecked with tiny bits of paint. None of this can hide Mortensen's deadly good looks.

Viggo Artist & Actor
By Jae-Ha Kim
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Los Angeles, CA 1 April 1999

Celebrities generally come in two sizes: large and small. Either they suck up all the oxygen in the room or you can't imagine how they take up so much space on the screen.

Viggo Mortensen somehow occupies a middle ground.

Things are getting 'Good' for Mortensen
By John Clark
SF Gate-San Francisco Chronicle
23 January 2009

"Oh wow. It's Viggo," says the "Dorian Gray" star. The observation was understated -- no hoots, hollers or autograph mania here. But the surprise was unmistakable as a publicist escorted the handsome British star down a corridor at Toronto's Intercontinental Hotel.

"You sound impressed," the woman comments, hurrying the 28-year-old actor off to another interview.

"Sure I'm impressed," Barnes smiles broadly. "That's Viggo Mortensen!"

Ben Barnes spots Viggo at Toronto
Constance Droganes
12 September 2009

Quotable Viggo: 12 September 2010

Sometimes filming can be very physically testing because of the locations and the weather. Freezing seas, blazing deserts, crushing heat and wormy ice-cold waterfalls. And on top of that add heavy costumes where most people would be in linen and flip-flops, or no costume at all where you or I would be wearing our thermals, not to mention everything else we could get our hands on. The most gruelling shoot has clearly been The Road where the conditions helped the actors focus and where Viggo refused anything remotely comfortable (like heat packs and dry clothes), but Hidalgo was no party either. Oh, the joys of being an actor!

© Touchstone / Buena Vista Pictures.

When the elements, the weather and the terrain get tough, Viggo gets going.

Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

How was it to jump in the ocean?

It was very cold. I asked for another take, but they were terrified. They didn't want me to. They had ambulances. The water was 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and the wind was just really blowing. The air temperature was the same, but because there was howling wind, I was practically frozen. I think the air was probably freezing. It was so extreme. They had an ambulance and they had all these heaters on, and I just sat in there with a bathrobe and said, "Just tell me when you're rolling. I'm just going to run out and go."

Interview: Viggo Mortensen Travels THE ROAD
Christina Radish
9 November 2009

"I want to say that I have participated in films that have been filmed in locations with extreme temperatures of cold and heat, but nothing like this film, where the environment is a consistent character. In some scenes, I felt like I could die, but that helped me create the character."

Viggo Mortensen: "In some scenes, I felt like I could die."
By - translated by Zooey and Ollie
Las Provincias
1 February 2010

"I felt naturally extra-protective of this skinny little kid from southern Australia who'd never even seen snow. He goes, "Snow is falling out of the sky?" I'd tease him and say, "What do you think? It grows out of the ground?" He was very cold and would wear out quickly sometimes. Frankly, it helped having it as miserable as it was."

Viggo Mortensen
Arduous Trip on 'The Road' is In-Viggo-rating
By John M Urbancich
Cleveland Sun
17 December 2009

"The waterfall was the coldest thing I've ever swam," said Smit-McPhee, who noted that, luckily, the production had brought in a "portable Jacuzzi" to warm the actors back up. After two takes, though, Smit-McPhee had had enough. "Seriously, that was it. And I said, 'I'm not doing it.' And then Viggo came. He just jumped in the water like it was nothing."

Viggo Mortensen: 'A Grown Man in an Era of Boys'
Jay A. Fernandez
Risky Biz
12 September 2009

'If Viggo and I convince people we're enjoying every second of that encounter we've really done our job as actors. It was freezing in that river. The water was filled with debris and cigarette butts and the rocks were covered in little worms.'

Diane Lane on the A Walk on the Moon Waterfall scene
Calgary Sun
10 April 1999

Maria told us about a waterfall sex scene that was cut. Was that like A Walk on the Moon all over again?

No, it was a lot colder.

Viggo talking about A History of Violence
A History of Violence: Viggo Mortensen Interview
By Jenny Halper
Cinema Confidential
22 September 2005

Among clouds of dust and in the middle of a group of officers I see the Captain's gallant figure, leant on the musket fork, without the hat on his head, while smoking with pleasure his umpteenth cigarette of the morning. He doesn't speak. He looks at the crowd with half-closed eyes, and stays imperturbable exhaling puffs of smoke. Heat is crushing.

Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León
by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005

"In the battle of Rocroi, which was filmed in June at 104 degrees, the extras filmed in the sun for 12 hours while wearing tight costumes and heavy, authentic armour," says Rodríguez. "When a scene ended, the director's assistants would yell 'Water' and we'd descend en masse upon the set to distribute drinks. Many filmed with ice cubes down their costumes," he says.

Wanted: Spaniards from the 17th Century
By - translated by Margarita
Diario de Noticias Navarra
10 September 2006

Were the shooting conditions as horrible as they seemed to be from the film [Hidalgo]?

You mean out in the desert? Yeah. And the winter was pretty cold, too. It looked nice and sunny, but it was bitter. Sometimes the winds were so extreme, and there was so much dust, that we couldn't shoot. And the grit, and the dryness, and the dustiness and heat-it was difficult, technically. A lot of the sound equipment and camera equipment got messed up, and they were always fixing stuff. On a low level, it was just an irritant. It was always in your eyes and everywhere, the sand and dust.

Viggo Mortensen on shooting Hidalgo
By Tasha Robinson
The Onion
10 March 2004

'The crew was a little surpised by the climatic conditions. I remember one time when we were trying to shoot in the Sahara, where you get these atrocious winds; it was hot, there was sand in the cameras. I heard everywhere: 'this is hell!' and, deep down in my heart, I thought 'this is a giggle compared to Lord...'."

Viggo Mortensen
A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
by Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine, 2003

'We were dirty, freezing cold or dying of heat. We were really uncomfortable. That was the beauty of the project. I felt like it was true.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Lord of the Rings: The Untold Story
By Ian Nathan
December 2004

The sequence where Pippin was talking about breakfast and it's snowing - that was real snow. And [after] about an hour of that snow coming down, we were in danger of being snowed in, so they cancelled the shoot, and we drove back in a blizzard, the cars skidding all over. We got back and sat in Viggo [Mortensen's] room and drank a bottle of whiskey, and Viggo took some photos of us. And then we went out and had a huge snowball fight around town. We got thrown out of a couple of pubs "cause we were having snowball fights in the pubs.

Dominic Monaghan
Unsung Moments & Unseen Heroes of
The Lord of the Rings
Premiere, November 2004

He seems to gravitate towards films that involve wet, cold and physical privation. ''I suppose I must thrive on it,'' he agrees, recalling shooting The Road under heavy cloud, sometimes in snow, always in the cold. ''Sometimes it's tiring or annoying but there is a certain satisfaction, especially when you're going through it with the crew and everyone is wet and cold with you, when you go and have a drink together at the end of the day and say: 'Well, we got that done.'''

Walking at world's end
By Stephanie Bunbury
14 January 2010

Quotable Viggo: 4 September 2010

Thinking about last week's Argentinian Quotable, it occurred to me this week that we really ought to look at Denmark - another country just as close to Viggo's heart. The first quote below sums up Viggo's love of both the Scandinavian North and the fiery Latin South. As a young man Viggo lived and worked in Denmark holding down a variety of jobs from truck driver to flower seller. At one point he was even going to translate for the Danish Olympic Team. He has always felt at home in Denmark and has very close family ties there. In a 2001 interview with Poul Hoi, Viggo remarked that 'Someplace, in the back of your mind, you need to have a fix point, a place you call home, and Denmark is that to me'. So here is a selection of all things Danish (except, alas, pastries.... but then we have Viggo!).


You were brought up overseas. Do you keep any memories?

I spent all my childhood in Argentina and I feel at home in the Hispanic countries and cultures. In Denmark, I discovered the sense of family and a certain work ethic. I am very close to my uncles, aunts, cousins and I am emotionally very open with them. I am a strange mixture of very methodical North and more chaotic South.

Viggo Mortensen - The Anti-star
translated by Kaijamin
Paris Match
2 October 2008

"There is no doubt that my heart beats heavily for Denmark..."

My Heart Beats For Denmark
By Kim Kastrup - translated by Rosen
Ekstra Bladet
25 September 2007

What is it that fascinates you about Denmark?

"It is a country where I feel at home. I have lots of family here and I feel safe here in Mid-Zealand. But I have also visited Denmark without visiting my family, when I have enjoyed being in Copenhagen, Jutland or on Samsø," says Viggo Mortensen.

Viggo Wants To Live On Samsø
By Kim Kastrup - translated by Estel
Ekstra Bladet
16 October 2008

"I very strongly feel that I share a common past with my family in Denmark. And feel connected to the Scandinavian mythology, when I walk in the forest at Jystrup, where there are many tales told of what has happened. The Danish woods look like Tolkien's, they are the kind that doesn't look dangerous, but if you walk alone by night in the forests of Denmark, you can feel the energies of the past. I felt that already as a child, back then when I played with swords there outside my uncle's farm, played and felt like a Viking."

Viggo Mortensen
The American Dane
By Susanne Johansson - Translation by Majken Steen Thomassen
BT (Berlingske Tidende)
28 November 2001

"Along with the exhibition, his publishing company Perceval Press is publishing a book called Skovbo, the one that lives in the forest. "I feel good around trees. Where I lived in Denmark there was a forest and there is something in the forest that makes me feel good."

Margt til lista lagt
Translation by Ragga
6 June 2008

[His] poetry works because Mortensen is Scandinavian (Danish father, American mother), says Manhire, "and there is this Scandinavian myth about how poetry is a mixture of blood and honey - his poetry has that mixture."

Bill Manhire, Victoria University, NZ
"I'm a poet" - Rings star Mortensen
by Josie McNaught
Sunday Star-Times 2003

What do you think of when you think of Denmark?

'I think about a beautiful landscape, I think of a country where I can be myself and meet my family, where my cousin's think of me as Viggo from Ringsted and tease me as they tease everybody else - and teasing is obviously a Danish way to express friendship. In that way Denmark means incredible much to me.'

Viggo from Hollywood
By Poul Hoi
M/S (Danish magazine)
August 2001

"It is nicer to be here with Tulle than to be in Copenhagen with people I don't know. And I know Ringsted well and am always happy to be here - for the nature, the food and the people. It doesn't matter whether the sun is shining or not."

Viggo on why the Alatriste Danish premier was in Ringsted
Viggo Mortensen is always happy to be in Ringsted
translated by Åse
14 July 2007

"I really would like to participate in a Danish movie. But to me it is essential that my first Danish movie is shot in Danish. To me it is a big challenge to shoot and talk Danish in an entire movie, so that it is believable."

My Heart Beats For Denmark
By Kim Kastrup - translated by Rosen
Ekstra Bladet
25 September 2007

"...I met someone last night who showed me a picture of a baby, and they had named the kid Viggo. You know, Viggo is a pretty dorky name in Denmark. It's like Oswald or something. It's a very old Scandinavian name, at least 1,000 years old."

Q&A Viggo Mortensen
By Sora Song
10 October 2005

....I was meant to be a translator for the Danish Olympic Team but nobody showed up. Literally. And they said "Well, can you understand the Swedes?' I said "I probably can. I'm not sure they can understand me.' But it became...what I really got to do was go to a lot of hockey games with drunken Finns and Swedes...'

Rove Live interview
February 28 2006

What is the worst job you've done?

In a factory in Denmark when I was 20. All day long I had to punch a single hole in the centre of a square piece of metal.

Q&A: Viggo Mortensen
By Rosanna Greenstreet
The Guardian
2 January 2010

... this afternoon he presented his photographs at an exhibition at Palæfløjen in Roskilde, dressed in an old, red soccer jersey that the Danish national soccer team used in 1960, when the team won a silver at the Olympic Games in Rome.

Viggo Wants To Live On Samsø
By Kim Kastrup - translated by Estel
Ekstra Bladet
16 October 2008

So who would Viggo side with if, for example, Denmark and Argentina met in the next World Championship final?

"Oh, that's a very difficult question that I have often asked myself. It's not unthinkable at all, because both Denmark and Argentina play good football," Mortensen says, and adds: "But if they really met each other in the World Championship final, I'd buy both countries national team jumpers and cut them through the middle. And then I'd sew them together again to make one jumper. In that way I could cheer both Denmark and Argentina. But I think it would be very difficult as far as I can see if the two teams play against each other."

I Love Danish Football
By Kim Kastrup - translated by Chrissie
Ekstra Bladet
24 July 2007

There's a long way from Ringsted to Hollywood. But the distance can obviously fit in one person.

Viggo from Hollywood
By Poul Hoi
M/S (Danish magazine)
August 2001

Goto page: Previous 1 2 3 ... 7 Next

Last edited: 2 January 2011 10:05:08