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At the Bewitching Hour...

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Viggo Mortensen's history lessons

Source: LA Times.
Found By: RebekahC
Categories: Good
Our thanks to RebekahC for bringing us this interesting article from the LA Times.

Image Larry Horricks.
© Good Films.
The actor, who stars in 'Good,' a film adaptation of a play he saw more than 25 years ago about 1930s Germany, sees parallels between the movie plot, the real world in 1982 and the world now.

Viggo Mortensen doesn't need prompting to talk about the modern resonance of "Good," the film adaptation of C.P. Taylor's play about an ordinary man in 1930s Germany being slowly co-opted by the Nazis.

"I made the leap immediately from what would I have done if I were Prof. John Halder, to what am I doing now, in my time?" he says by phone from Denmark. "When I saw it in 1982, [Margaret] Thatcher was prime minister and [Ronald] Reagan was president. But certain things were the same as now: the politics of war, misinformation, pressure on the citizenry to go along with certain measures from the legislative arms of this country -- some things don't change.

"I guess the main thing I felt, making the movie, just like I did in watching the play 25 years earlier, was that it's worthwhile paying attention. You don't need to be some kind of bookworm or political activist; little and big decisions that individuals make in society on a daily basis are what any country is."

The easygoing demeanor of this actor-photographer-poet-painter-polyglot and founder of Perceval Press (dedicated to presenting otherwise obscure artistic works) might be deceptive if one didn't listen to the words. He sounds tired, having just flown in from Argentina, where he was promoting his Ed Harris western, "Appaloosa," following the enthusiastic reception of "Good" at the Festival do Rio in Brazil. So he's awfully soft-spoken and measured for someone who is figuratively screaming for citizens to "pay attention!"

"Things that happened, let's say in the United States in the last eight years, maybe if they had to do it again, legislators and citizens, they may not have given up so many things," says the self-identified "proud American" with quiet insistence. "There have been incredible changes in a short period, just as there were then in Germany. If somebody said to you, 'Would you be willing to put up with all these changes to your rights and the legal system,' you'd say, 'Well, no.' But by having it happen little by little, it's like death by a thousand cuts. Pretty soon you're bleeding to death."

"Good" challenges its audience with a protagonist who, some have told the actor, becomes less sympathetic as he takes baby steps to hell, a reaction Mortensen doesn't mind.

"It's not wrong for you to feel that way. What's interesting is that a lot of people, as they're watching this character, as he's making certain decisions with the knowledge he has at hand, for the reasons he, you know, food on the table, take care of his mother, there's a lot of stress -- 'You've got to join the party,' 'Whatever, I've got to take care of my kids right now,' 'You've got to ban Proust this semester,' 'OK, whatever' -- these little choices he makes, people kind of identify with the character in a way: 'I can see that, I can see that.' But then they get to a certain point and they go, 'No, no, no, I would never do that!' "

He also stars in the upcoming adaptation of "The Road," the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by "No Country for Old Men" author Cormac McCarthy. A bleak journey by foot through post-apocalyptic America, Mortensen says, the project came about when he was exhausted and stressed out -- so it seemed like just the right thing to do. But now, despite his jet lag, he still musters the energy to drive home the relevance of "Good," which opens Dec. 31.

Usually, the bird's-eye view of such films is " 'These bad Germans, they're easily led, they're robotic,' " he says. "It allows you a comfortable distance from a period historically and a group of people in a country who did things. I think you feel, watching 'Good,' this is not really just a German problem.

"To not speak up about something in your relationship, in your family, in your town, at work; to not speak out about something you know in your heart, from the information you have, may be wrong or problematic, is complicity."

© 2008 Los Angeles Times . Images © OddLot.

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Your November Reminders

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© Images © Majken, Chrissiejane, loeloeloe.

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Viggo Mortensen Honored at Chicago Film Festival

Source: Associated Content
Categories: Award Ceremonies

Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs Promote Film "Good" at Fest

CIFF: Good Screening 10.29.08
CIFF: Good Screening 10.29.08
Image Valerie David.
© 2008, Valerie David.
The Chicago International Film Festival Red Carpet

The Harris Theater, at the north end of Chicago's Millennium Park, hosted the premiere of the film Good for the closing night of the Chicago International Film Festival. Director Vicente Amorim hit the Film Festival red carpet first, followed by Good stars Jason Isaacs and Viggo Mortensen. Fans crowded the lobby, thousands of flashes from cameras and camera phones frantically capturing every smile and movement of two bonafide movie stars.

Jason Isaacs and Viggo Mortensen spent nearly an hour moving along the ropes, talking with Chicago Film Festival attendees, signing autographs and giving interviews to the press. Jason Isaacs was jovial and good-natured with fans; Viggo Mortensen is more shy by nature, but no less accommodating. I'm proud to say that for a Film Festival event with stars of this caliber, my fellow Chicagoans were largely a well-behaved bunch, waiting their turn with very little of the typical pushing, shoving, or shouting.

Chicago International Film Festival stars Jason Isaacs and Viggo Mortensen were handsome and dashing in tailored dark suits. Both men looked more vibrant and youthful in person, and no one would guess that the bright-eyed Viggo Mortensen had just celebrated his 50th birthday on the 20th of this month.

© Associated Content. Images © 2008, Valerie David.

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'Good' friendship forms

Source: Chicago Sun-Times.
Found By: Chrissie
Categories: Movie Promotions
Thanks to Chrissie for bringing us this interesting piece from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stars Mortensen, Isaacs say Chicago Film Festival's curtain closer created bond based on mutual respect

"Good" stars Jason Isaacs (left) and Viggo Mortens....
© AP.
By Bill Zwecker

In ''Good,'' the film that officially closed this year's Chicago International Film Festival on Wednesday night, Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs play best friends in a tale about friendship, betrayal and the consequence of misguided decision-making, set in Nazi Germany in the early years of Hitler's regime.

After spending time with the actors Wednesday afternoon, it's clear that acting experience turned them into pals for real.

While both men now feel they've developed insights into each other's personalities, they are amused by the whole concept of ''fandom.''

Mortensen nodded vigorously when Isaacs quipped, ''Those fawning women screaming near the red carpets at premieres aren't in love with Viggo -- it's Aragorn they really want,'' referring to Mortensen's heroic character in the ''Lord of the Rings'' films.

''Yes, there's still a lot of Aragorn autographing going on, but I'm getting a lot of requests to sign Cronenberg stuff lately too. That has me a bit worried. That's more about hate, not love!''

The actor was talking about his frightening turn in director David Cronenberg's acclaimed ''Eastern Promises,'' a very violent role that brought Mortensen his first Oscar nomination.

''I know some women like 'bad boys,' but that's a bit much.''

Isaacs, who plays the evil Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter flicks, laughs about his own fan base -- ''a wildly disproportionate group of about maybe 12 sites on the Internet, as opposed to the thousands devoted to Tom Cruise. ... But whatever, it's not Jason or Viggo they're obsessed with -- it's the characters we play.''

The Brit gave an example of how actually ''getting to know an actor, away from his roles'' can provide a reality check for people.

''Some time ago, a fellow was working on my house, a guy named Trevor. At one point I had to ring up his house and ended up speaking with his wife. She asked if Trevor had ever requested an autograph -- and I told her no, but doubted he even knew I was an actor.

" 'Oh, he knows all right. We've got posters of you all over the house!' said the wife.

''But then she got a bit tongue-tied, before admitting he likely didn't ask for an autograph since I sort of disappointed him. According to his wife, he thought me in real life 'a bit of a wimp and so very middle class and kind of boring' ... and that was just fine with me!''

Thanks to the enormous success of the Potter films, Isaacs has become close to Daniel Radcliffe, and he wanted to correct a widely reported Internet story ''that was due to a stupid joke I told at the Toronto Film Festival.''

Isaacs was quoted as saying he wouldn't go see Radcliffe on Broadway in ''Equus'' because he thought the idea of seeing Harry Potter naked was twisted.

''Total rubbish. I missed seeing Daniel in 'Equus' in London because I was doing [the Showtime series] 'Brotherhood,' and now I'll miss him again because I'm off to Morocco to finish [the movie] 'Green Zone.' ... Of course, I would love to see him in the play.''

Mortensen stressed that after next year's release of ''The Road,'' the film based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ''I really don't plan to make films for at least a year -- maybe longer. ... I still love to act and love telling stories that way, but I think I'd like to do it on the stage.

Isaacs jumped at that point, saying he's been trying to figure out a way to do a play with Mortensen.

How about in Chicago?

''We'd love that,'' both men said, virtually in unison.

© Chicago Sun-Times. Images © AP.

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Last edited: 1 October 2014 19:41:16