Viggo News

Viggo News

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Laurel Tree Guild: Seasonal Update

Source: Laurel Tree Guild
Categories: Art Community

Special Holiday Pricing at Rabbit Ridge Art

Visit Rabbit Ridge Art Today!

© Laurel Tree Guild™.

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From Viggo at Perceval Press

Source: Perceval Press

Daily Reminders to Democratic Candidates:

-Thanks to all who at least showed up for the extremely important vote on annointing our new Attorney General, Mr. Mukasey, a man who equivocates on the subjects of torture and Presidential law-breaking. Your vote will be remembered.

-Those who did not bother to show up for the vote, regardless of your excuses, including presidential candidates too busy promoting themselves instead of Democracy and the U.S. Constitution, will be remembered for their absences as well. This pending vote and the replacement of the Attorney General have been big news for quite some time. You ought to have made sure you were ready and available for something this crucial to democracy in this country.

© Perceval Press.

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Russia! Magazine Presents Actor Viggo Mortensen With 'Best Russian Accent' Award

Source: Yahoo News.
Found By: cross_harps
© Focus Features.
Our thanks to cross_harps for surfacing this piece from and Russia! Magazine.

Press Release

Monday November 12, 3:52 pm ET

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--RUSSIA! Magazine is proud to present actor Viggo Mortensen, the star of David Cronenberg's hit Eastern Promises, with its inaugural Rolling R - an annual award for the best "Russian" performance by a Hollywood actor. The official citation commends Mortensen for his "sensitive, multifaceted and authentic" portrayal of Nikolai, a morally conflicted thug.

"Unlike the Muslim, Jewish and other communities, the Russians have been historically docile about being portrayed as drunk, murderous plotters," explains Michael Idov, the editor of RUSSIA!, "But that's not the offensive part. The offensive part is being portrayed as a drunk, murderous plotter with a Czech name and a Transylvanian accent."

"The bar for verisimilitude is so low right now that, even in an excellent film like The Bourne Identity, Bourne's 'Russian' passport is filled with random gibberish. We'd like to reward the ones doing it right. This year, we're proud to acknowledge Mr. Mortensen, whose star turn in Eastern Promises is amazingly sensitive, multifaceted, and above all authentic. His character even speaks a specific old-school thief slang, and switches to Ukrainian when comforting a Ukrainian woman."


Named after a hard-to-master feature of Slavic pronunciation, the Rolling R is playfully described by its founders as an award for "General Excellence In Acting Russian." "Almost every major American actor has, at some point, tried on a Russian accent," writes RUSSIA! Magazine in its Fall 2007 issue. "Tom Cruise? Spoke it in Mission: Impossible. Bruce Willis? The Jackal. Val Kilmer? The Saint. Al Pacino? The Devil's Advocate. Almost all of them sucked."

RUSSIA!'s own list of five all-time best "Russian" performances, published in the same issue, has Nicole Kidman at the top for her turn in the little-seen Birthday Girl. She is followed by John Malkovich in Rounders, Cate Blanchett in The Man Who Cried, and the duo of Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell in Little Odessa. All future performances, the magazine explains, will be judged against these five. The actual award consists of a certificate and a round mini-sculpture.


RUSSIA!, a quarterly, independent English-language glossy, defines itself as devoted to "most original coverage of people, trends, ideas and events" taking place in or around Russia. The Fall 2007 issue is on newsstands at major book retailers, as well as online at

© 2007 Yahoo! Inc. Images © Focus Features.

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Oscar Buzz

Source: ReelzChannel.
Found By: Nikkie
© Focus Features.
Our thanks to Nikkie for bringing us this from Reelz in the Round: A Look at the Best Actor Oscar Contenders

Watch the video here.

© 2007 ReelzChannel. Images © Focus Features.

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Update: Viggo in Studio Magazine - Translation Added

Translation by Chrissiejane & kaijamin
Source: Studio.
Found By: Dom
Categories: Movie Promotions
Our thanks once again to Dom - this time for sending the scans from the November issue of Studio magazine.

Click on scans to enlarge.

ETA: Our thanks to both Chrissiejane and kaijamin for the wonderful translation.

The translation is in four parts:
1. The interview with Viggo
2. The comment about how the self-portrait came about
3. Vincent Cassel on VM
4. David Cronenberg on VM

We have not translated the introduction leading to the interview with Viggo as this is the usual run down of Viggo's film history and well trodden anecdotes.

Viggo Mortensen the Insatiable

You didn't immediately accept Eastern Promises, Why?

VM - I take each commitment very seriously, especially with David Cronenberg and I didn't want to disappoint him. I needed to be sure that I was ready for this Russian role without it turning into a caricature. I asked him for some time to reflect on it and I started my investigation of the character.

What did you discover?

VM - My research always proceeds with the same question. I ask myself what has happened between the birth of the character and the moment you discover him on screen. I want to know the city he comes from, on what street he grew up.

Did you spend a lot of time on this research?

VM - Yes. Immersion is essential for me. I consider each film like a new school. I learned Russian. I wanted to master more vocabulary than that which is used in the film to be able to add a word here and there. And then I went to Russia to see what the places ere like where Nikolai came from. There's nothing better than the subway to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a city. Afterwards I went to St Petersburg, then further to the heart of the Urals and Ekateranburg. They say that it is there that Europe finishes and Asia starts. All those images were embedded in my mind during filming.

How do you work with Vincent Cassel, the son of the Russian Mafioso for whom you were a driver?

VM - Our relationship is a bit special in the film, we go out every night together but at the same time, he is not my friend, but my boss. My job is to make it so that he gets home without any problem. We therefore showed both sides. Vincent Cassel is a very precise actor, with great sensibility. He is always on the lookout and knows how to take risks. He makes it seem very easy, but it isn't.

Did you bring some ideas which filled out the script?

VM - David Cronenberg and I are on the same wavelength. With AHOV he realised that my research did not aim to add value to my character but that I was interested in the plot in its entirety. I sent him some books, some films about those tattoos. As a result he wanted better attention paid to what was tattooed on my body. On my hand there is a cross which represents the terrible Kresty prison in St Petersburg. On my back a beautiful cathedral; each dome symbolises a specific word in prisoners' jargon. On my body, some phrases I wrote in Russian. One of them said "The important thing is to remain human". That seems sympathetic like that, except that words written in the flesh of a guy who has passed through the worst prisons of the country, that signifies: Guard your dignity, therefore respect nobody.

How did you work the fight in the sauna?

VM - I had seen photos in books in Russia on wrestling, such as the practices of the military. I learned those techniques for defence and attack. My partners knew them too: One was a Georgian who was in the army, the other a former Turkish boxer. In this way we could film the scene without doubles. It's because of that it is made so realistic. Nobody ever let their guard down!

Plus you were completely naked?

VM - In America journalists have reacted very strongly to this. I hope that won't be the case in Europe! I don't think only that stayed with the audience of the film because it is absolutely essential to the story. I only have a towel when two guys arrive with knives to cut me. I didn't ask myself if I had to be naked or not. I only wanted to leave David complete freedom to film the scene, so off goes the towel! So that left me very vulnerable and that shocked some people for sure!

How do analyse the return of the "whodunits' to the cinema?

VM - DC takes violence very seriously. He's is one of the more responsible film makers on the subject. He never gives an excuse to the public to take pleasure in the spectacle. He shows no glamour in violence. There is no tranquillity and courage. I like the seriousness with which he approaches his work, meanwhile never taking himself seriously. That's sanity, especially in this business. I've never known anything better than my two collaborations with DC.

In what way is he different from the others?

VM - he is much more intelligent than the majority of directors! (Laughs). He has found the usually impossible balance between technical concentration and the relationship with his actors and technicians. He has a gift for working with people and knows how to create a very relaxed atmosphere, almost Zen-like, on his films. On the set he and I hardly speak at all. We make jokes most of the time, stupid ones.

You announced that the Oscars would not have to recognise AHOV, but yet you have refused to join the Academy. Isn't that paradoxical?

VM - I was disappointed for David, in relation to his career. Unlike a lot of film makers who have 20 or 30 years in the job he doesn't stagnate, he doesn't repeat himself. I even find that he improves film by film.

What has changed for you since LOTR?

VM - The majority of the actors on LOTR have had opportunities thanks to that film. For all that, it's necessary to know what you want to do. Often our only freedom is to say no. You can't accept projects which aren't offered to you! So, I always decide on the same criteria: I accept stories in which I can learn something. I know that others have different approaches: exploiting success to be as well known as possible or to make more money because they know it is not going to last.

Do you imagine getting into directing?

VM - yes I've had something in my drawers for several years. But I do so many things - photos, music, that, for now it seems impossible.

What importance do these activities have in relation to movies?

VM - I do them in parallel. My job has me travelling to incredible places. When I am sitting somewhere I can't help but look at the light, the details around me. I like to observe. It's a way of keeping my conscience awake. I can't imagine leaving photography for movies, or vice versa. For me it is all connected. A film calls a poem, a painting. Lately, for Good, a film on the arrival of Nazism, directed by Vicente Amorim, I play a professor who has music as his refuge. I also placed myself in the situation of having Mahler's, music in my head. I felt the need to play the piano. Each night after filming, I played a bit, a way of leaving myself inspired for the scene the next day. Each time, something different came from my imagination. When I returned home I recorded what I had composed to save a trace, and it became an album (available at!

How do you think your versatility is considered in the US?

VM - The system is very binary in Hollywood. It functions on basic criteria. What level of celebrity do you have? What pay back have you collected? Although I would like to lock this country in a stereotype, there are open people everywhere.

What are your projects?

VM - In several days I leave for New Mexico to re-join Ed Harris - my partner in AHOV. He is directing his second film - I had loved his first, Pollack. This time it is about a western called Appaloosa. One thing I don't have to learn for this film is how to ride a horse! For the rest, promoting EP leaves me hardly any time to prepare, and that is unfortunate.

Self Portrait of Viggo Mortensen

At the outset, my proposal to draw his self-portrait during the interview surprised VM. Then in front of the portfolio, the chalk the felts, he let himself be tempted. One phrase convinced him. "If you aren't satisfied, we'll forget it" I had hardly said it when he took a felt, got up and drew his facial features from the mirror. Just after, he wrote in French, the words "After the flight". During the interview, he refined the details, without putting down the portfolio. Except until Cronenberg came in to greet him. Then, he hides the drawing letting the director make fun of the pile of pencils on the table, without providing him any explanation. A touch of blue on his eyes, a bit of yellow on his beard.... "Already? He will say at the end of the interview. What a shame, I would have liked to continue. Ok, take it."

Viggo Mortensen by Vincent Cassel

I discovered the world of David Cronenberg in my adolescence, with films like Scanners or Videodrome. Since then, I have seen practically everything of his. However, I wasn't that keen to be in EP. I have never had the desire to play a bad guy and I particularly dislike working in another accent. But Gaspar (Noe) and Jan (Kounen) threatened to stop giving me parts if I turned this one down. (Laughs)
During the shoot I had two coaches: one for Russian and one for English with a Russian accent.

Viggo had the opportunity to go to Russia the week before the shoot. I would have loved to have made the trip with him. To prepare our work, we met together a couple of times before we started. Our characters are two brothers who are rivals. There's a strong rapport between them. Nikolai is my puppet, but one that controls me. That's the overall ambiguity in the relationship.

Our "real life" rapport was simpler. Viggo is generous, he is constantly bringing small gifts. That must be a result of his education and the numerous trips he takes. And when you act with him in a scene, even when his part is done, he stays close to the camera in order to help you. We function very differently, especially in the way we channel our energy. He is always calm, and speaks softly. I have a more brutal side. I learned a lot from knowing him. The relationship he has with David did not bother me at all, it was an added stimulus. David has recently admitted he would like to do a sequel to this story: I'll be off to Russia whenever he likes!

The Word of the Director, David Cronenberg

An actor is, before anything else, a body. His physical appearance is his instrument. Whilst a film-maker can film an actor with his camera, what is recorded on the film is in no way abstract, it is comprised of living matter, with muscles and shape...which is what defines the extreme brutality contained in my films, as we see here with the scene in the sauna wherein Nikolai battles violently against the two thugs.I am deeply atheist and I have no belief at all in reincarnation. When a body is attacked, I believe the destruction is total. It's essential that my viewers experience that pain intensely.

The first time I saw Viggo, logically, it was his physical body I noticed first. That was in Witness, by Peter Weir (1985). Since then that image of him has stayed with me whenever I saw him on the screen. I like his voice, erroneously soft, and finally quite provocative, his intelligence, his humour. In short we are on the same wavelength. The filming was very enjoyable. He's a person who fully involves himself: every time, he does colossal research into his work, proposes ideas, like the tattoos, for example (see the interview with the actor). His style, very understated, is the exact opposite of Jack Nicholson, who on the contrary is expansive, and who is rightly thought by many to be a brilliant actor. Viggo holds in his emotions to the maximum possible. But he is no less a great actor. I find it ironic that he finally gained public recognition for Lord of the Rings, which is perhaps the least subtle of all the roles he has had to defend! We first met at Cannes for the presentation of excerpts from Peter Jackson's epic. It was in a chateau entirely decorated in the colours of the film, with hobbits everywhere! (Laughs) It was some months later as we prepared in Los Angeles for History of Violence that we really got to know each other, and I was able to see how much we had in common. Some people say we even look a bit alike. Maybe that's true, after all!

© Studio.

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Last edited: 14 April 2015 14:29:49