Napa Valley Film Festival Spotlight Tribute

Viggo News

Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Print View Link to this newsitem

Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

For an artist or actor - no matter how experienced you are, prepared you are, or technically proficient at your craft - when it comes down to it real creativity often appears when you let all that go and then just see what happens. Viggo has that down (I think) to a fine art (pardon the awful pun). You never know what wonderful things you might end up with and there can be interesting surprises even in the mistakes. Like the title of Scott Thill's article from 2002, finding that elusive Muse is often about 'a religious moment where something might happen.'

'A photo, a painting, a poem or music that we use to express our experience is not the main thing, but what you are expressing. How you sense the world around you is art in its own form. To stop for one silent moment and just see what happens.'

Viggo Mortensen
Margt til lista lagt article from Fréttablaðið
Translated by Ragga
June 2008

'Inspiration is a notion, an impulse that has its own shape, before you stumble onto it. If you're in too much of a hurry, you try to tell it what it is, instead of having it tell you what it is. And I think if you do that, you're gonna miss out.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen ('80) Remembers
By Macreena A. Doyle
St. Lawrence University, 2003

'....this was one of those rare situations where intentionally doing "the wrong thing" with the camera worked in an interesting way. As conscious an exercise as making these particular pictures was, there are accidents in the images - weird spots, unexpected areas of saturation and contrast variations - strange things that I couldn't see when shooting and still cannot really explain. The longer the exposure, the more room for surprises. I like the fact that even with a medium as supposedly controlled and predictable as photography is meant to be, there still is mystery in the results. You won't necessarily be sure what you will get, where you are going.'

Viggo Mortensen on Miyelo
The Man Who Would be King
By Scott Thill, 2003

ST: I was trying to figure out the process for those flares. I thought that burn came from the development process.

VM: No, it was in the camera. The wiring that advanced the film and activated the flash got messed up. I was fishing and dropped the camera and it got wet. When it dried out, it started doing that. I shot a roll, saw it and thought, "Oh, shit." But when I looked at them, I thought that some of them looked kind of interesting. So on the next roll, I tried moving the wire all the way to one side and the flares would go to that side. Then I moved it to the middle, the right, and on the bottom and shot maybe eight rolls of film before it stopped working altogether.

A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
By Scott Thill
20 September 2002

"... last year I started using disposable cameras. They won't be available a short time from now so it was good to use the opportunity while I could and play with them. I often expose the pictures for a long time, shoot directly into the sun. A lot of interesting things happen when the light goes through these unclear plastic lenses. The photos become different. Sometimes I throw the cameras to the ground to loosen the lens a little bit, then interesting things happen."

Dreaming About Telling Stories
By Einar Fal Ingolfsson - translated by Rosen and Ragga
29 May 2008

'I like to paint and I like glue. I like gel, you know? Acrylic gel. It's fun to play with that and see what that does. I mean, some of the things are things you're not supposed to mix; oil, acrylics, or water. I just like to get dirty and play with it and see what happens. It's just fun. Sometimes you get something interesting by accident by coating something with some thing you haven't tried coating with before. You just have a hunch that will do something to It will change the texture or alter it some how chemically in an interesting way and change the tone of it. I don't know. I don't have a reason really...'

Viggo Mortensen
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
by Carnell
Carpe Noctem magazine

"What I find with poetry or painting or even acting is that mistakes can often be helpful. In the brief time I've been making paintings, I've ruined a lot of them by not knowing when to stop. But you just put it aside, and later when you come back to it maybe you remove one thing, or add something else, and all of a sudden it works, where before you were ready to burn it. Or maybe you look at it and realize it doesn't need anything at all."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo From 5 to 7
by Dennis Hopper
Flaunt magazine 1999

"I know people who prepare their roles in such a way that they technically look ahead and memorize their gestures, and then they stick to it. Those that are technically proficient enough can make it seem natural, but they do that and don't really take in what other people are doing. They can do a fine job sometimes. But I personally feel more comfortable, and feel that I'm more in the moment in terms of building a character that helps the director tell a story, if I prepare in advance, but then go with the flow of the moment. I think it was Sidney Lumet who said something I really agree with. Roughly: "The work is largely about making the best possible preparations for accidents to happen.""

Viggo Mortensen
Tasha Robinson
The Onion, 2004

"A movie set is like a ritual, with all the trappings and preparation. I feel like when we go to a set and we rehearse - or not - and we're wearing these costumes and saying these words, it's like an invocation, an invitation to magic, to the unexplained, to let the unexpected to enter into our lives."

Viggo Mortensen
A Fantastic Leap of Faith
by Brent Simon
Entertainment Today, 2001

'It was the very last take, and it was the scene by the campfire, and I knew that Duvall wasn't satisfied. I knew that there was something, that magic little thing hadn't happened yet. He said, "If we could do one more take ... let's just do one for ourselves," and I go, "Yeah, whatever." Then, suddenly, he says, "I had a boy once," and the hair just went up on the back of my neck, and I was like, "Wow, that is so right." I realized that, which happens once in a while, and you are just so happy that it happened. ... It's so simple and beautiful and obvious, and he said it with such feeling that, when we went back to the line from the scene, there was a little pause, so I asked, "What happened to your boy, your son?" And the rest was magic.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Hits The Road
By Roger Durling
Santa Barbara Independent
22 November 2009

"I think I'm essentially hopeful and the reason that I paint or photograph or listen to someone who is speaking to me is that I hope something might happen."

The Man Who Would Be King
by Nick Dent
Black & White magazine 2001

As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.

© 2929/Dimension Films. Images © 2929/Dimension Films.Screencap by Eriko.

Print View Link to this newsitem

The Road - Viggo Mortensen (DVD Interview)

Source: IndieLondon/Last broadcast.
Found By: Chrissiejane and Will
Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.
This interview ran at both IndieLondon and Last Broadcast. It is a good one. Our thanks to both our own Chrissiejane and to Will at Last Broadcast for surfacing and sending.
VIGGO Mortensen is one of the few The Lord of the Rings stars to really prosper in the trilogy's aftermath, earning an Oscar nomination for his role in David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. He also worked with the director on A History of Violence.

Before cementing his reputation as Aragon in the Tolkein series, Mortensen appeared in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner; Carlito's Way with Al Pacino; Crimson Tide, GI Jane; Daylight and A Walk on the Moon.

In his most recent film, director John Hillcoat's apocalyptic adaptation of The Road, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, he stars as a traveller known simply as 'The Man'. He talks about some of the challenges of making that film...

Q. How do you prepare for a role like The Road?
Viggo Mortensen: There's only one character in the story who has a name and that's Duvall's character. For myself I tried to decide my character's name, and whereabouts in the country he's from, because as with England, there really is no such thing as 'no accent'. But the main job for me was to be honest, emotionally. We had to be as real as the landscape that we were travelling through; we couldn't be any less gritty, or less naturalistic, I suppose. That was the job, as I know what it means to be from the United States and I know what it means to be where I decided this character was from and the way he speaks. But that is not really what this book is about - it's not really about the US, any more than A History of Violence is about violence or guns.


You can read the complete interview here or here.

© 2004-2010 - 2010 Images © 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Viggo Goes to Bat for Iceland

© Inspired by Iceland.
Our thanks to CW in Boston for sending this our way.

Fry and Mortensen Help Promote Iceland

"British actor Stephen Fry and Danish-American actor Viggo Mortensen have agreed to participate in an initiative to promote Iceland as a travel destination to counteract negative coverage of the volcanic eruption in the international media."

Read the complete article HERE.

Watch the lovely Viggo video here at Inspired by Iceland.

© (Heimur hf) . Images © Inspired by Iceland.

Print View Link to this newsitem

A Dangerous Method...Vincent Cassel interviews David Cronenberg for Première France

Source: Première France.
Found By: Mungo and Dom, translated by Chrissiejane

Many thanks to Mungo for the heads-up and to Dom for providing the scans for this fascinating interview:


David Cronenberg, the Yves Saint-Laurent of bizarre cinema, prepares a film about psychoanalysis in which Vincent Cassel will play a new role as trouble-maker. Interview.

At the beginning of April, Vincent Cassel saw us in order to prepare a telephone conversation with David Cronenberg, on location in Cologne for his next film A Dangerous Method. Cassel will take the role of Otto Gross, a brilliant but mentally unstable psychoanalyst who is treated by Jung.

Whilst awaiting this engagement, the actor recalled his first meeting with the director in Cannes. He had already been influenced by a recent trip to Russia to promote Sheitan, when Cronenberg proposed he take a role as a London, the role in Eastern Promises.

Today, to prepare himself for his role as a psychoanalyst, the actor reads Jung. His character, Otto Gross, has developed his own theories amounting to a reconsideration of Jung's complete ideology. Cassel enlarges: "He was a kind of nihilist who went as far as saying that if Freud was pissed off with his theories it was because he didn't do enough kissing. Which may have been true."

It was the time to call the director via cellphone...

VC: Hello David, are you able to talk?
I'm walking in a very busy street in Cologne, full of dancers, fire-eaters and all sorts of musicians, but we can talk. I'll take myself somewhere quieter. So now you're a journalist?

VC: Benefiting from my title as Editor-in-chief for Premiere for this edition, I thought it would be interesting to give a little insight to what's coming for us. I'm happy to tell you I am preparing by reading Jung, which is very enlightening. To begin with I 'd like to know whether your method of work on set today is very different from what it was in the beginning?
In the end you always develop your own way of directing because there's no-one to compare with or to say "I know better than you". I don't talk to other directors, except when I'm working as an actor, or if I visit someone else's set. There is an infinite number of ways to be a director. I think I found mine very quickly. For my two first full-length horror films with their very small budgets I had to work with huge constraints, lots of pressure and very little time. From that I absorbed many things. Amongst others, I dislike lots of takes. If an actor is not happy and wants another take, OK, but I'm not one of those directors who acts as though it's the theatre and spends three weeks with the actors around a table reading and re-reading the script. I tried it once, with The Fly, and it did not work. The rehearsals were in very artificial conditions and didn't teach me anything important. As son as you are on set everything changes due to the physical reality of the group, the sets, costumes, make-up.

VC: I agree entirely, with the way you have described it. What's important is what happens in the moment. Do you talk more or less than before with your actors?
For my first two films I saw the actors like bulls in a china shop, with me as the china shop: I felt as fragile as glass. Because of the tight planning, I had no time for improvisation with the actors. I had to say "you must sit on the chair and speak your lines". When the actor suggested "And if I stand up and go to the window?" I panicked at the thought of having to redo the lighting, so it was out of the question. So I had to invent a reason to convince him to remain seated. Later I realised that you could confide in an actor and explain why it was complicated to allow him to go to the window. We were all together in the same boat. That was a revelation for me, to see actors as collaborators and not adversaries or manipulators to whom one had to lie. Some directors do that in any case.

VC: I really enjoyed working with you because you gave us lots of leeway. And I recollect that without being too demanding you are open to all proposals.
It's a matter of guidance, but above all it's the art of casting: to choose good actors is a really important part of production, even if there are not well-recognised ways to do it. Once you find someone with good personality and the right appearance, all that's left to do is to provide gentle guidance. If the actor has good instincts you only need to let him follow his own path and offer light correction if required. Keep this, develop that. Ralph Fiennes told me that, in Spider, he had never been less directed. Yet he thinks it's one of his best films.

VC: I have already worked with plenty of directors and have noticed, with those with whom I worked well, the important thing was not so much what they said to me but how they looked at me. Their look allowed me to discover what disappointed and what pleased them. It's why I think you don't need to talk a lot to be in harmony.
That's true. Some directors like to talk a lot in abstract terms. But I think it's a way for them of gaining control. A worthwhile actor needs to sense that they are being observed and constantly evaluated. I have heard stories about a director taking calls on his cellphone during takes. Such a director cannot inspire respect because he doesn't watch what you are doing.

VC: I believe that you notice my slightest gestures, even if you don't mention them...
If it's good, I'm not ging to dwell on it. But I hold with telling actors that they are doing good work if that's the case becuae they need to know they are on the right track. On the other hand, I'm not going to congratulate someone for the way they raised an eyebrow in the take. Even if I noticed it and clocked it.

VC: Many rumours are circulating on the web about EP2. Where is that up to, exactly?
It's truly the first time that I have thought to do a sequel. This time I have a strong feeling that I have not finished with these characters. For example, I'd like to see Kirill (Cassel) and Nickolai (Mortensen) in Russia. We have organised meetings with producer Howard Webster and, from a basic idea, Steven Knight has written a brilliant script, fantastically good. And that's just the first step. There's a lot of work yet around that, we have to set a budget etc., but it is feasible and I'd love to do it. Kirill would be part of it and of course we'd be offering you the role.

VC:Very homo-erotic again?
Yes, in part, but there's also be a little heterosexuality (laughs ironically).

VC: OK, so now you're in Cologne at the start of the shoot for A Dangerous Method?
I won't be moving from here unti the end of the shoot. Except for filming certain scenes in Vienna and others near a lake in southern Germany. But almost all will be in a Cologne studio.

VC: Viggo and I will be reunited in this movie, is that down to chance?
It's a matter of perfect casting. As you say, there's a strange similarity in the relationships between your two characters in these two movies. In Dangerous Method, you play Otto Gross, a very crazy psychoanalyst, a kid of antisocial agitator. And the master, the controller, is Freud, sure enough, played by Viggo. In the beginning we were thinking of someone else to play Freud, so it could have been not between you and Viggo. But fate decreed otherwise. When luck is with you, you end up with the people you need to have. But it wasn't that I felt any obligation to re-unite you. If the role did not suit you, it would not have been a service to you to offer it.

VC: You know what I think: strangely enough, I am in agreement with everything the character says!
(Laughs). And that too, is an accident, although, coming from you Vincent, I am not surprised to hear it!

VC: I'll take that as a compliment. Thank you! I can't wait to see you again.

© Première France. Images © Première France.

Print View Link to this newsitem

One Trio to Rule Them All!

Categories: Viggo being Viggo
Our thanks to Chrissiejane who found this nice pic of Viggo exchanging autographs at Cedille's Beethoven premiere in NYC.
One trio to rule them all: Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) loves Cedille's Beethoven premiere!

© Images © NaxosUSA.

Display options:
Order by:        
Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Last edited: 27 September 2016 11:36:00