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Viggo Mortensen: 'A Grown Man in an Era of Boys'

Source: Risky Biz.
Found By: Chrissiejane

Thanks to Chrissiejane for bringing us this nice interview on The Road.

The Road Photo Call at Venice Film Festival, 9.3.09
The Road Photo Call at Venice Film Festival, 9.3.0....
© 2009 The Nielsen Company.
Director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Joe Penhall's faithful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel "The Road" is finally on its path toward theaters.

Long delayed, the brutal post-apocalyptic film premiered at the Venice film festival last week, and then screened again this past Sunday as part of a larger tribute to star Viggo Mortensen at the Telluride fest. It will show in Toronto Sunday night before its wide release October 16.

As stark and despairing as its source material, the film showcases Mortensen and young Aussie actor Kodi Smit-McPhee as a father and son desperately trying to find food, avoid cannibals and hold on to hope in the bleakest of physical and emotional landscapes.

"It's been a long haul, a very intense experience," said Hillcoat last Sunday. "But I'm glad it's going out there now. And I was very pleased with the reaction in Venice. That's all you can ask for, really. That, and of course, Cormac's approval. He gave it a thumbs up."

At the time, Hillcoat was sitting next to Smit-McPhee, and they both looked exhausted. The pair slouched into a couch in front of a fire at Suede, a restaurant at the new six-star (!) Capella Hotel in Mountain Village above Telluride. Later that evening, Mortensen would be feted by the festival and their film would reach another audience. But flying around in support of the film was taking a toll not unlike that of the making of the film itself.

"Sometimes I just sit down like this and my eyes keel over," said Smit-McPhee, now 12 years old. "But I guess it's fun."

Asked about a memorable story from the shoot, Smit-McPhee, a native of Melbourne, described several takes of he and Mortensen wading into a freezing river. "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."

The next day, during an interview in the dining room of the New Sheridan Hotel, I related to Mortensen how much Smit-McPhee had appreciated the older actor's solidarity but that he had remarked that Mortensen was "pretty much naked all the time."

Mortensen, wearing a "Make Art Not War" T-shirt, laughed (he is naked twice in the film).

"It was an interesting conversation," Mortensen said. "First of all, I'm older, I was raised in a place where there was snow on the ground, and he's a guy from Melbourne. He had never seen snow, I don't think, before we shot this movie. And it was really, really cold. He didn't like it. And I talked to him like I always did, like a human adult. I just said, 'Well, you don't need to feel obligated by me or anybody else. And if you don't do it, it's pretty good what we got. And only you know if it's impossible for you to do it physically, I'm not putting any pressure on you. But: If you think you could maybe do one more, just think about the fact that, this movie is going to come out, and do you want to see that scene without your best shit in it?

Do you want to see something less than your best effort? I'll back you up no matter what you do. It's your call.' I left him and then two minutes later he was kind of annoyed, but he's walking down the hill, and he says, 'Come on, let's do it.' He was awesome."

Smit-McPhee: "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."

Mortensen, as he does on all his films, apparently lived the part -- refusing to work out, sleeping on set and living on cigarettes and chocolate -- to absorb the depredations of the worn-down father. A shot of his naked ribcage late in the movie shows how wasted away he had become.

During his introduction at Mortensen's Telluride tribute at the Palm Theater Sunday night, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns quoted film historian David Thomson as describing the actor as "a grown man in an era of boys."

He also pointed out that Mortensen is not just an actor, but a published poet, a produced jazz musician, an exhibited painter, an accomplished horseman and a photographer. The guy even speaks five languages, including Danish -- one of the last true Renaissance Men. Among the biographical tidbits Burns unearthed was the fact that Mortensen served as a translator to the Swedish hockey team at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

Soft-spoken and sporting longish hair, the 50-year-old Mortensen joked that he "didn't realize the end was so near" when he walked on stage to receive his medallion from Burns. Mortensen mentioned that his first role was playing "the ass-end of a dragon" at age seven in a play during the time he was growing up in South America. "It was just very hot in there," he said of the experience.

The next day, Mortensen reflected on the honor.

"It was cool to see all these pictures of the other people that had been honored in years past," he said. "Mostly I just looked at it in the moment, as if I'll process it later or something. But when I was watching the reel of clips, going back to the mid-eighties, I just went on a journey personally about where I was at the time. I'd look at Patricia Arquette [in 'The Indian Runner'] or Diane Lane [in 'A Walk on the Moon'] or how Al Pacino was in that moment [in 'Carlito's Way'], and just the things that happened that are beyond technical explanations, that magical thing that has to do with a leap of faith. And people go, 'How did you get to that place?'

And honestly, in some cases you don't know, we were lucky it happened. You just hope those things happen once in a while."

© 2009 The Nielsen Company. Images © 2009 The Nielsen Company.

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The Road Pushed Back to November

Source: cinematical.com.
Found By: Ellie
Categories: Reviews
Our thanks to Ellie for bringing us the definitive piece on the pushback.
Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.
Days after Jessica Barnes compiled a nice fall schedule for you, the Weinsteins and Dimension Films had to go and mess it up a little. According to Variety, they've pushed the release date of The Road back from October 16 to November 25 -- almost a year to the day when it was supposed to come out in 2008.

The delay isn't because Dimension has lost faith in the film -- quite the contrary. The film is playing to rave reviews at Telluride (where our Eugene Novikov saw it and loved it) and Venice Film Festival, and the Weinsteins have realized they have an awards contender on their hands. "We've been getting great audience reaction at Venice and Telluride," Dimension topper Bob Weinstein said. "We feel that this is a commercial film that's worthy of a wide release." Considering Cormac McCarthy's book was a bestseller and won a Pulitzer, you'd think that might have tipped them off, but ah well. What's good about this decision is that it not only puts it into Golden Globe contention, it also promises a wide release. One of the big fears lurking around the film was that audiences wouldn't get it, and the film could vanish into limited release hell.

The Road will now be in direct competition with Nine, Old Dogs, and Ninja Assassin. Something tells me John Hillcoat's bleak adaptation won't top the holiday box office, but it'll make a far bigger impact. I've been saying since the first stills came out that this might be a role that nabs Viggo Mortensen an Oscar, and I'll stand by that.

© Elisabeth Rappe/cinematical.com. Images © Dimension Films.

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Return to Middle-earth

© VW. Used by permission.

We have a very unique featured artist in the Viggo-Works Marketplace News this weekend. When you need to take a quick break from the events at TIFF, check out all the delightful artistic offerings.

Welcome back to Middle-earth at RabbitRidgeArt at Zazzle.

© Phyllis Berka/Rabbit Ridge Art™.
© Phyllis Berka/Rabbit Ridge Art™.
© Phyllis Berka/Rabbit Ridge Art™.

Once again, take a quick look at this splendid selection by visiting the Viggo-Works Marketplace News this weekend, and welcome back to Middle-earth at RabbitRidgeArt at Zazzle.

© viggo-works.com. Images © Phyllis Berka/Rabbit Ridge Art™/Zazzle.

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Viggo Mortensen on working with Robert Duvall in 'The Road'

Source: In Contention.
Found By: Chrissiejane
Categories: Movie Promotions
Our thanks to Chrissiejane for bringing us this interesting piece by Kris Tapley.
© Dimension Films/2929 Productions.
I spoke briefly with Viggo Mortensen at the Telluride film fest over the weekend, fresh off a tribute at the Palm Theater the night before and being gracious as ever with his time. The last time we spoke was four years ago for "A History of Violence" and as ever, he's a soft spoken guy who can fill a digital recorder with wall-to-wall perspective. Sometimes you just feel guilty interjecting with a question.

But something I had to ask Mortensen concerned my favorite scene from "The Road," a back-and-forth with Robert Duvall that could have been more but nevertheless comes close to representing the best a story like this has to offer, I feel.

The scene is in the book so it's nothing much in the way of a spoiler. The Man, The Child and the Old Man (the actual character names, for those unaware) sit by a campfire discussing, briefly, their lives before whatever calamity has struck their world. Mortensen spoke with clear reverence for the opportunity to work with Duvall, as well as real joy for living and free-wheeling in the moment as a pair of actors working through a key scene.

    "What was interesting about that was it was going fine as scripted and Duvall was such a great actor that it was really good. But there was time for one more before we lost the light. We looked at John [Hillcoat] and he says, 'Yeah, we can do one more.'

    We were just sort of sitting talking as they were setting up the camera and getting the fire ready for another take. We talked about, 'Well let's forget everything, let's just do one for ourselves. Let's just let things happen.' There was nothing calculated. It was just like, 'Let's just open our hearts,' I guess, without saying it that way as much as we can and see where it goes.

    Suddenly he said -- it was not scripted and added that other layer -- he just threw me that line: 'I had a boy once.' And I suddenly realized, 'Wow, okay.' And I just went with him, you know? And what happened to him. All of a sudden it was just magic. It was beautiful to watch him."

Mortensen talked at length about the work of cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe's work in the film. Being a photographer himself, the actor appreciated watching the lenser work and was captivated by how he "painted" the film with the light available to him. He also spoke about working with Charlize Theron, which he enjoyed quite a bit and said he felt elevated the character from her depiction in Cormac McCarthy's novel quite a bit.

It was a brief discussion so I figured I'd upload it. Give it a listen if you're so inclined. Mortensen, as I said, is a bit soft spoken, so you might need to crank the volume a bit. "The Road" will screen this weekend at the Toronto film fest.

© 2005-2009 InContention.com . Images © Dimension Films.

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Men's Journal, October 2009

Source: Men's Journal.
Found By: BearyDB
Categories: Scans
Huge thanks to BearyDB for sending along the scans of the October edition of Men's Journal, featuring none other than Viggo.

Click on scans to enlarge.

© 2009 Men's Journal.

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Last edited: 14 February 2016 07:08:52