Mahershala Ali, Viggo Mortensen strike up an unusual 1960s bromance in Green Book trailer

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Categories: Quotable Viggo

Viggo has been doing a lot of talking lately, appropriate for a film based on the Play The Talking Cure and a role where he's confessed that "Doctor Freud is a man who doesn't stop talking". As we know, Viggo is also not short of the ability to do some serious talking, and some of my favourite quotes arise from his taking interviewers around every subject under the sun except the one most are trying to pin him down on, himself...

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

Mortensen speaks slowly and in each one of his answers it seems there are endless concepts that could need an extra explanation. This man, who in addition to being a famous actor is a well known lover of poetry, music and photography, has the humility of the great. Doesn't stop complimenting his colleagues, analyses words and does his utmost to give each thing a place...

Viggo Mortensen tiene un plan
By Justina Berard
Vos/La Voz
25 May 2011

...he's a soft spoken guy who can fill a digital recorder with wall-to-wall perspective.

Kris Tapley
In Contention
10 September 2009

Mortensen is nothing if not precise. A conversation with him tends to lead wherever he wants it to go. Try to ask a follow-up question or change the subject, and he'll gently, politely raise his voice and continue talking over you.

Rocky Road
By Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out Chicago
13 November 2009

Viggo Mortensen is, besides a great actor, an inexhaustible conversationalist, so full of curiosity that he doesn't hesitate to occasionally take the role of the interviewer.

The Dark Side Of The Hero
By Walder & Castro - translated by Graciela, Remolina and Zooey
Marie Claire (Spain)
June 2009

He... speaks quietly and thoughtfully, and often at length, on every question, hammering his subject from all sides until it submits to the truth.

Viggo Mortensen v the apocalypse
By Kevin Maher
The Times
3 October 2009

He's shy, but a bit of a motormouth (and can run on in at least six different languages).

Viggo Mortensen is complicated
By Micjelle Devereaux
San Francisco Bay Guardian
12 September 200

Ostensibly, Mortensen is in town to promote his role as a conflicted, compromised German professor in Good, a small-scale drama that - in his words - "needs all the support it can get". He could have got away with delivering the sales spiel. Instead, he's content to go lolloping off after his own train of thought and in the end, the best option is to give up and drift along for the ride. In Mortensen's view, the journey is always more entertaining than the destination anyway.

The happy trails of Viggo Mortensen
Xan Brooks
The Guardian
18 April 2009

VM is not one of that kind of actors where you insert a dime and then they jabber on for half an hour. Everything he says is well-considered, well-founded. No smart pop-quotes fly from his mouth.

The American Dane
by Susanne Johansson
Translation by Majken Steen Thomassen
Berlingske Tidende, 2001

Weirdly, for an actor, he mumbles and slurs his words, giving the impression of being very shy, very inarticulate or very stoned. Yet when I listen back to my tape, I'm amazed to notice that he almost always speaks in complete sentences, which places him in a very small minority of interviewees.

Lone Star
By Peter Ross
Sunday Herald, 2004

He spoke in a hushed, thoughtful tone and sounded very poetic in his speech patterns. Even when he wasn't saying much of anything I felt compelled to listen.

John Makarewicz
CHUD magazine

The first thing you need to know about Viggo Mortensen is that he doesn't like talking about himself. The second thing you need to know about Viggo Mortensen is that he hasn't stopped talking about himself for the past six months.

On promoting 'Hidalgo' and 'ROTK'
A Reluctant Star
By Barry Koltnow
Orange County Register
7 March 2004

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

© Images © Hanway/Lago. Official trailer cap.

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Interviews on 'A Dangerous Method'

Source: YouTube.
Found By: Eriko
Thanks to Eriko for finding these short video clips from the Sigmund Freud museum. There are interviews with Viggo, on filming at Berggasse (Freud's home), Vincent Cassel, David Cronenberg and others, and behind the scene clips.

© sigmundfreudmuseum.

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Viggo Mortensen: "When Mourinho speaks, you don't know if he's calculating or crazy."

Found By: Translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
Many thanks to Ollie, Rio and Zoe for translating the interview that appeared at
© AFP.

Having a chat with Viggo Mortensen [New York, 1958], who amazed [us] in The Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, always ends up being a pleasure. Whether in Spanish - he spent his childhood in Argentina - or in English. On film, soccer or Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the character that he embodies in A Dangerous Method, from the Canadian David Cronenberg and which has been received in Venice to enthusiastic applause. In a mansion on the Lido in full festival euphoria, with Mortensen, it's a pleasure to be psychoanalyzed.

To play Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method, you not only have relied on his correspondence, but also, in addition, filmed in Vienna, at his house.

Yes, and David (Cronenberg), Christopher Hamption (the screenwriter and I were very lucky to have access to that material. Although when Freud left Vienna, he took all of his books and his belongings to England, and now they even have his chair in the Freud Museum in Hampstead. But for me, it was very interesting to be able to walk along the street that he walked and what I liked was doing the scene in which I greet Carl Jung (his student and a psychiatrist, with whom he establishes a friendship and a rivalry in the film) on the same staircase that for decades people walked up.

I think that you also like walks.

A lot. I do it every day, and in fact, this morning I got up early to do it when it was still a little fresh and the temperature was pleasant.

Have you ever been psychoanalyzed? Especially having been raised in Argentina.

But I left many years before I could do that (he laughs), although in Argentina, it's a huge thing. In Buenos Aires, it's a constant subject of conversation, and if you haven't been, someone in your family is a therapist. Some twenty years ago, I did go for a short time and it was somewhat similar to what it would have been with Freud. Basically, it's someone listening to you.

And it helped you?

Yes, it helped me to talk with someone who had no emotional involvement with what I was telling him. He simply listened to me, and that turned out to be liberating.

What´s your opinion of the relationship between Freud and Carl Jung?

I think that their ideas were not that different. Jung said, "We are going to cure people." And Freud said, "We are not going to cure them, but at least they are going to be aware of who they are and what is happening to them. This way they will be able to act accordingly later on." They were both trying to make people conscious of their feelings; so the idea of a confession without punishment, of listening, was a way to show you care about someone. When Freud was studying in Paris, someone said to him, "The trick has to do with looking at something a very long time, over and over again, because later on it will begin to tell you something. There are many patients involved and something will speak to you." And Freud described it something like, even when a person says nothing, truth will come out through their fingertips, their skin, therefore you only have to pay attention and listen. In any emotional relationship, be it between father and son, friends or among adults, to listen is our love cure. Jung and Freud were intelligent and their conflicts have more to do with their personal insecurities. I´ve made many other films, including A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, also by David, where communication was expressed more through gestures than words. Here, words are more gestures than physical gestures. There´s physicality in the characters, especially in Keira Knightley´s, and each has their own way of controlling it and looks for a way to do so. I did it walking, copying information, sitting down, smoking cigars....

How do you get along with David Cronenberg?

This movie happened by chance, and I was lucky because Christopher Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Carnage, also competing in Venice) was going to play Freud and decided to do something else (Water for Elephants) at the last moment. It was a stroke of luck, like with The Lord of the Rings, something unexpected that you do suddenly. I had worked with David twice before, and since we're both on the same page, in the sense that we work the same [way] and have the same sense of humor, it was much easier for him, and I suppose a relief knowing that he didn't have to start to get to know the actor who played one of his principal characters. As for me, I knew that I was in good hands and that I could trust him.

I understand that you're very neat.

Well, I'm very messy in a lot of ways, but there are two things I always do: wash my clothes and wash my dishes, and even though everything might be messy, it's clean.

Like David Beckham.

He must be neater than I am. Do I look like a disaster? The truth is that I wash everything all the time.

I know that you're crazy about soccer and that Argentina's San Lorenzo is your team, but in Spain it's [Real] Madrid.

Of course. Go Madrid! But I have to say that Mourinho is the Otto Gross (a film personality who doesn't rein in his impulses) of the coaches. When he speaks, you don't know what the consequences might be. He says things and you don't know if he's calculating or crazy.

© Images © AFP.

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Paging Dr. Freud: David Cronenberg takes the director's chair for 'A Dangerous Method'

Source: National Post.
Found By: Chrissie
Many thanks to Chrissie for finding this article which gives us a wonderful insight into Viggo's research:
Official trailer cap
Official trailer cap.
© Hanway/Lago.

"All friendships evolve one way or the other," Viggo Mortensen says. "Ours keeps getting better."

He's talking about his relationship with director David Cronenberg, now on its third film with A Dangerous Method. It's the story of a less salubrious friendship, between Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), and the effect on them both of a patient, Sabrina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).

The Viggo-David collaboration (Mortensen-Cronenberg sounds too much like a law firm) is just one of several examples of TIFF films by directors who have found an actor worth coming back to.

"I think it was a relief for David to cast someone he knew," Mortensen says. "For me, it was comforting, especially playing a role where I had so much dialogue."

Mortensen even detected parallels in temperament between the father of modern psychoanalysis and Canada's progenitor of body horror movies. Not the ones you might expect, however. "The sense of humour, the intelligence, the warmth," Mortensen says. "It was helpful to have someone like David there; I had a model there all the time."

Says Cronenberg: "I had confidence that he could and would be able to deliver the Freud of my dreams, which was not everybody's Freud. Most people think of Freud as this frail, cancer-ridden 80-year-old. But this is a different Freud; this is a Freud at the age of 50, in the prime of his life, at the peak of his powers." It also helped that the U.S. actor had a Danish passport, since the Canada/Germany co-production could only hire Canadians and Europeans.

Cronenberg won't go as far to as call Mortensen his muse, however. "I'd be happy to do every movie with him, but if it's not a role that would really be great for him then we're not helping each other." (Cronenberg's next film, for instance, Cosmopolis, is Viggo-free.)

He's come to count on Mortensen's excessive research, however. "I know I'm going to get a phone call from him and he's in the Czech Republic standing in front of the birthplace of Freud. And then the next time I get an email he's in Hampstead in London at the Freud museum and he's sitting in Freud's real chair."

Mortensen arrived on the set with antiques books he'd purchased in Vienna, and having learned to write (in German!) with Freudian penmanship, a skill he uses on camera. "That takes real dedication," Cronenberg says. "If he gives me that it means I can do a shot like the one I did. When you've got a guy who does that it makes your life a lot easier."

© Postmedia Network Inc. Images © Hanway/Lago.

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Mortensen lauds Cronenberg's subtlety

Found By: Dom
Thanks to Dom for bringing us this article about Viggo's work with David Cronenberg and, of course, the Habs:

The star of "A Dangerous Method" speaks highly of his work with the renowned Canadian director

© CP Images.

"David's not Barnum and Bailey," says Viggo Mortensen, the frequent feature player in the films of Canada's beloved Mr. Cronenberg, sitting on the sunny and windy balcony of a downtown Toronto hotel. "A lot of directors are. A lot of actors, you know.

"George Clooney is someone who's very talented as a director and actor," Mortensen continues, in coversation with me and MSN's own home-video expert, Norman Wilner. "But he's as talented as a salesman. He really knows how to work that s*** all autumn. And David just kind of does what he's supposed to do. He's understated"

Mortensen himself, at the Toronto International Film Festival to talk up his role as Sigmund Freud in Cronenberg's film "A Dangerous Method", isn't so much a salesman as an intensely fascinated (and fascinating) collaborator. Now appearing in his third Cronenberg film - "Eastern Promises" and "A History of Violence" are Mortensen's previous two entries - the actor takes questions from both Norm and myself and runs with them, giving expansive and detailed answers and obviously enjoying what he does and who he works with.

It's a pretty sweet deal for two reporters. "A Dangerous Method" - which will get its big opening in December - centres on the arrival of Carl Jung (played by "Shame" lead Michael Fassbender) and his increasingly competitive relationship to Freud, and on Jung's venture into transference with patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), who eventually comes into her own in the same field.

Mortensen marvels that a director as great and universally lauded as Cronenberg still hasn't been given the minting of major awards hardware. He wonders whether "A Dangerous Method", where the sly intricacies of Cronenberg's humour are on full display, might change things.

"Like Freud," Mortensen says, "he's someone who is capable of making a brilliant aside with irony and humour, and a lot of times people don't even get it. And he doesn't care. He doesn't bother to go 'No, no - wait a minute! I was just making a joke.' That's stuff that maybe you realize when you go home: 'Wait a minute. That guy was just having me on.' Or, your at his movie six months later and you go 'Shit, that's funny! That's really disturbing. That's great!' But it takes time."

Loyalty, though, is part of Mortensen's own brand. He never gives less than a full performance, and his dedication to his work and those around him is constant and palpable. And that includes his hockey team, Les Canadiens de Montréal.

Our 20-minute discussion breaks down, and while Norm and I get up to shake hands, Mortensen asks if there are any films we recommend. I mention that he should see "Goon", Michael Dowse's excellent hockey enforcer comedy starring Seann William Scott, and I add that there is a subtle Montréal/Boston rivalry in the film - a point of interest, with Mortensen being Hab to the heart, and me a lifelong, black-and-gold-bleeding Bruins fan.

"You know," he says as we shake hands, "we would have gone all the way if we had beaten you. That was the best series of the playoffs."

That opening series won by the Bruins in Game 7 with an overtime stunner from Nathan Horton? No question. Norm and the photographer for the print outlet he works for - Toronto's weekly NOW - set up on the balcony to get a couple of shots of Mortensen, and I head back inside the hotel to go on my way. Until I hear a call back.

It's Mortensen, suddenly brandishing a huge Canadiens flag. I laugh, because all I've got on me is a Bruins keychain. But he insists I come out for photos with him, for which Norm's photographer kindly obliges. Now, I never pose for photos. I never ask to - and, at TIFF, it's wisely verboten to even think about doing so.

But I didn't ask. Mortensen did. Viggo Friggin' Mortensen, the guy who loves his Habs so much, he reportedly wore a Canadiens T-shirt under his wardrobe throughout the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

"Hold it up higher, so she gets it in the shot," he tells me as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder and I hold my keychain against his flag. Then, we shake hands again.

"Congratulations," he offers.

"Good luck next season," I respond. "It'll probably be a hell of a series again when these two meet next spring."

It's moments like these that make the Stanley Cup so worthwhile.

© 2011 Microsoft. Images © CP Images.

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Last edited: 14 August 2018 11:18:24