Viggo in New York this Summer

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For the record;

Source: Perceval Press.
Found By: Dom
Categories: Politics

A message from Viggo at Perceval Press.
After working today at the Toronto International Film Festival doing interviews on behalf of John Hillcoat's "The Road", which is being shown at the festival, I went to the Scotiabank cinema to see the 9:30 p.m. 12 september screening of "Ajami", an Israeli/German production co-directed by the Israeli-born Palestinian Scandar Copti and the Israeli Jew Yaron Shani. I found this movie, which takes place in the Jaffa neighbourhood that gives the movie its title, to be a moving and thought-provoking portrait of an area shared by Arabs, Jews, and Muslims. The nearest thing to the quality of this searingly honest and heart-breaking depiction of intercultural strife that I have recently seen in a movie was the Danish production "Gå Med Fred Jamil" (2008), directed by Omar Shargawi, which concerns itself with Sunni and Shia feuding in Copenhagen. I am glad I saw "Ajami", and strongly recommend it.

The last question allowed from the audience after the screening, made to director Yaron Shani by a gentleman sitting close to the front of the theatre, was in regard to the perception that this movie (which the gentleman praised for its complexity and considerable merits) was basically being boycotted by those who had released a statement objecting to the festival singling out Tel Aviv (which was merged with Jaffa to form a single municipality in 1950) for special recognition when the government of Israel continues to flout international law, essentially acting unilaterally as a rogue state in very much the same manner that the U.S. government did under George W. Bush. The director declined to offer an answer because it would lead to a discussion too long and complicated at that time. He was probably wise to end the question-and-answer period there, allowing the audience to focus on the merits of the movie. I chose, as an audience member, to respectfully do the same, in spite of having strong feelings about the gentleman's query.

I signed the statement in question, along with people like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, and many other thoughtful citizens from various countries (including a number of Israelis) some of whom have suffered from very real censorship and blacklisting. The statement does not promote the boycotting or censorship of any artist or movie from Israel or anywhere else. Those who have attacked the statement with that accusation are simply spreading misinformation and, unfortunately, continuing the ongoing successful distraction from the issue at hand: the Israeli government's whitewashing of their illegal and inhumane actions inside and outside their legal national borders. There was nobody outside the cinema objecting to anyone going to see "Ajami". In fact, there was nobody doing anything other than going to see this and other movies being shown at the Scotiabank complex, or just walking on down Toronto's Richmond Street

--Viggo Mortensen, 13 September, 2009.

p.s.: For those interested in the issues and misinformation surrounding the above-named statement, I offer the following:

Jewish Voice for Peace

This fact sheet is a response to the campaign of disinformation being waged against the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) protest letter, "The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation,"(1) signed by 1,000 people including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler, along with many Israelis and Palestinians. This year, TIFF decided to put a celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv at the festival, in line with the goals of the Israeli Consulate's "Brand Israel" program. In its own words, the "Brand Israel" program aims to publicize Israeli culture in order to distract public attention from its human rights record. The letter of protest objects to this politicization of the film festival, saying it is inappropriate given Israel's nearly 42-year occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the recent assault and continuing siege on Gaza, and the history of and ongoing dispossession of Palestinians in Tel Aviv-Jaffa itself.

This fact sheet refutes three key false charges:
1) That the protest letter unfairly singles out Israel.
2) That the letter calls for a boycott of the Film Festival and Israeli films.
3) That the letter in any way delegitimizes Tel Aviv.
These charges are all false, as we explain below...

© Viggo Mortensen/Perceval Press. Images © Perceval Press.

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First Images From TIFF

Source: Wireimage
Categories: Movie Promotions
Viggo and Kodi portraits from TIFF.

© Images © Wireimage.

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And The Reviews Just Keep On Comin'...

Found By: Chrissiejane
Categories: Reviews
'The Road' Trailer screencap by Eriko
'The Road' Trailer screencap by Eriko.
© Dimension Films.

    ...The Road is unremittingly focused on the Man and the Boy. This is not really an "apocalyptic thriller," though it has genre elements, and plenty of suspense. The father will do anything to protect his son, including putting a bullet in the Boy's brain if it comes to that. The Boy is the father's sole reason for carrying on, but the reverse is not true. It's really the Boy who's "carrying the fire." He is humanity, in every sense.

    Viggo Mortensen is excellent here, but The Road is anchored by Kodi Smit-McPhee, whose performance is staggering in both its force and its surprising, artful understatement. I don't know how it's even possible to get a performance like this in a role this demanding and intense (he's in all but a few scenes) from an 11-year old boy...

    The ending, which brought me to tears, is not merely optimistic or hopeful -- it is uplifting, and the uplift is earned. The movie is a moving gesture of faith in our species. Doomsaying about the fate of mankind is as old as civilization: wrath of the Gods, nuclear war, global warming, what have you. The Road insists that we're going to be okay -- and I think I believe it

© 2003-2009, Weblogs, Inc.

Ain't It Cool:

    ...The Road isn't the typical studio film. It's one of the rare epic-scale R-rated harsh films that sometimes squeak out of the studio system when all the stars align. I was very impressed with it, even as a fan of the book...

© Ain't It Cool, Inc.

First Showing:

    ...Although it's best described as beautifully bleak, The Road still is a great film, with wonderfully conceived dreary cinematography, a superb attention to detail, a heart-wrenching story, but with performances that will leave you convinced these two really are father and son. It's hard to fall in love with, just because the nature of the story, but it doesn't disappoint. If you're looking for a fantastic film to see this fall, this is it.

© 2006-2008 First Showing, LLC

The Playlist:

    ...Vacillating in tone somewhere between, "The Proposition" and "The Assassination of Jesse James," the key difference is the emotional content. Essentially a love story about father and son -- and at times a very severe and painful one -- as the film progresses, it becomes more and more heartrending.

    Truth be told, the end of the picture emotionally slayed us and we felt like our heart had been practically ripped out of its ribcage...

© the playlist

Vanity Fair:

    ...I like how it bravely refused to dumb down McCarthy's vision, including its messianic overtones surrounding the boy, played with soulful, alert intensity by Kodi Smit-McPhee. His father, the ever-fascinating Viggo Mortenson, has only one reason to live....

    It's not just a story that answers the question "How bad can it get?" in lurid, encyclopedic detail, although it is most certainly that. It's also an allegory for every one of us. We are all the father, and we are all the boy. Someone else sacrificed so that we might live, and, if we're willing and able, we will do the same for to the next generation. If that cycle of life, which protects humanity from extinction, is not divine, what is?

© 2009 Condé Nast Digital

Quiet Earth:

    ...The acting is generally superb, and why not, with Viggo Mortensen as the father, Charlize Theron as the wife, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the boy. Mortensen is great as the dying dad, subtly moving from simply protective to desperately concerned as the road continually leads nowhere good and his health is failing. He knows his son is not yet hardened against humanity, but he's also torn by fears of pushing him into the crazy paranoid abyss. Mortensen expresses these conflicts beautifully an offers up a truly believable and compelling performance of a man in a truly cruel situation...

© 2006-2009 Don Neumann

© Images © Dimension Films.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Well, things are really hotting up aren't they? After the dry season we now have a deluge of interviews, articles and photos to enjoy as The Road finally gets on the road. I've been pulling quotes that have really caught my eye. Not all of them are about The Road, but all have come from comments and observations made over the last couple of weeks. I think many of the ones below will become Quotable Classics. Enjoy!

...he stashes chocolate on his person like a marsupial...

A History of Defiance
Daniel Mirth
Men's Journal
October 2009

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

Kris Tapley
In Contention
10 September 2009

That dude can say 5 different things with his face in one ten second take.

Ain't it Cool News
8 September 2008

When the elements, the weather and the terrain get tough, Viggo gets going.

Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

"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."

Kodi Smit-McPhee
Viggo Mortensen: 'A Grown Man in an Era of Boys'
Jay A. Fernandez
Risky Biz
12 September 2009

"....for the first few days of the shoot, he slept in his clothes to stay in role. He paid attention to every detail. If his shoes weren't wet enough, he would spray himself. He was totally absorbed and obsessed with the part. He became The Man."

Steve Schwartz. (Producer)
Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

"I was stripped down to the essentials," Mortensen said. "It's about character, about how you behave... when you have nothing left but your heartbeat and the heartbeat of your son."

Gina Doggett
3 September 2009

"Viggo has the perfect qualities as a man and as an actor to do this part. He's got incredible depth of soul."

Nick Wechsler
Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

If anyone could survive in a post-apocalyptic world, the director says, it would be Viggo.

The Road
Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
3 September 2009

"It is a Norwegian ghost story. It is called 'The Road to Resurrection.' I come back as a Viking ghost and he's in the Italian mob,"

Viggo plans a sequel to The Road with Kodi
'The Road' premieres at Venice
By Colleen Barry
Associated Press
3 September 2009

"There was little glamour about the shoot, least of all the scenes where Mortensen runs naked into the freezing sea. "The insurance company told him not to do it," smiles Penhall, "but he's mad as a snake."

Joe Penhall, novel adaptor
The Ultimate Road Movie
By Nick Roggick
London Evening Standard
4 September 2009

"...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."

Viggo talking about the Telluride Film Festival Tribute
Viggo Mortensen: 'A Grown Man in an Era of Boys'
Jay A. Fernandez
Risky Biz
12 September 2009

When I ask him for his favourite joke he responds with a rare one-word answer: "Me".

A History of Defiance
Daniel Mirth
Men's Journal
October 2009

All previous Quotables can be found here on our Webpage.

© Iolanthe/ Images © Dimension Films/2929 productions. Centre: Image Macall Polay.

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EXCLUSIVE: Director John Hillcoat On The Road's Misleading Trailer: 'Yeah, There Was Controversy. From Me As Well.'

Source: Movieline.
Found By: Chrissiejane

Many thanks to Chrissiejane for bringing us this interesting interview. It provides more insights into the construction of this movie (and also of the trailer). It's low on Viggo references but interesting on the subject of Kodi and of marketing the movie.

Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.
It's been a long journey for The Road, the adaptation of the bestselling Cormac McCarthy novel about a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) eking out a desperate existence in a treacherous American landscape after an unspecified cataclysm wipes out nearly all traces of vegetation, wildlife and the human race. Rights were snapped up before its first 2006 printing, and director John Hillcoat, on the strength of his brutal and unflinching Australian western, The Proposition, was tasked with bringing its colorless nightmare to life. A seemingly endless game of scheduling roulette followed -- first the Weinsteins pushed it ahead a full year, then gave it incremental nudges, until it finally landed a release date of November 25th. The final insult? A trailer that played up the story's end-of-the-world appeal, "enhanced" with the kind of stock disaster footage you imagine Roland Emmerich using as a MacBook screensaver. I saw The Road at a TIFF screening this morning (a review is forthcoming). Still shaken and slightly pallid from having spent my breakfast hour with a lovely gang of roving cannibals, I chatted with the actually quite affable Hillcoat about the unyielding material, his young acting discovery, and those unforeseen film biz hiccups that can get in the way.

Are you a fan of horror survival films? Zombie films? That kind of thing?
I love a lot of it but I don't go out of my way to see them. I'm very picky about the horror films I see. This really was an extreme world that just amplifies that special relationship [between the Man and the Boy], and that's what I tried to focus on. But certainly you're right, in terms of genre, there's more horror elements than apocalyptic. The setting is apocalyptic, but it's less futuristic, less about the big event, and is more about things we're already familiar with. Like carrying all your possessions in a shopping cart -- we've all seen that in the homeless. Carrying around your only possessions and sleeping rough. And we've all seen many apocalypses, just obviously not on a global scale.

So the culture of the homeless was a conscious reference point for the characters in The Road?
That was certainly referenced, and also in the book there's this incredible immediacy. For me, it works on many levels, even though it's very simple. The apocalyptic thing for me is just tapping into a parent's worst fears, and all of our worst fears about the future, and how we pass on to the next generation how they'll be when they grow it. That's really the dynamic the film's operating on.

I bet you hear the word "bleak" a lot in describing the film.
Yeah. There is that, but I mean what struck a chord with the book is not that, and hopefully what moves people in the film is not that. It's the love story. I can see why that word comes up, but that's not what the film's about.

You bristled a bit at the description.
Yeah. I mean, even Cormac said, this book is about human goodness. And I thought, yeah, of course, that's right. It's just by setting it in that bleakness and that paranoid world, extreme environments bring out the best and the worst in people. So what we're actually seeing is the best. Because the Boy becomes the moral compass -- he's born into this world, he doesn't even have the benefit of experiencing what we once had. And yet he's still human, so he teaches the father in the end. I think it's very moving in that way. One generation has to pass the fire to the next generation. To me, that's the essence, and I always try to go back to that in the film.

Early on in the film there's a pretty difficult scene involving the threat of suicide. What were some of the challenges with directing Kodi in material like that, and also in finding and maintaining an appropriate mood on the set?
Certainly working with a kid was my biggest fear, and I almost didn't want to go ahead with this project just because of that. How does a child actor pull that off, and how can you expose them to all this as well? We did see kids who were 7 and 8 years old and they were too young, and the whole dynamic -- especially the transition at the end when he begins to stand on his own two feet -- you wouldn't buy that with a 7 or 8 year old.

Kodi was mature beyond his years, and that was an influence of how he got cast. I had asked for a very neutral scene from all the kids for their auditions, but his tape came from Australia, and his father is an actor and played the father in the scene. And it was the scene you just brought up. So that was basically saying, look, my kid can handle this. But then I had to meet the kid, because I was also concerned.

The rare parental interference that worked out.
I was worried about that. I was skeptical, because chemistry is so important. But when I met him in L.A., I was down to four kids, and I saved Kodi for last. I had an instinct that this was going to be the right kid. Sure enough, it turns out that his father had already read him the whole book. They're a serious acting family. [Kodi] could clearly see the line between fiction and reality.

So what we did on the shoot, we used a lot of black humor, and Kodi was a kid whenever he got a chance. I encouraged him when he wasn't working to hang out with other kids from the shoot, to counter the set. He needed the contrast. He is extraordinary. Two great gifts came my way -- the book, before it was published, and Kodi. He's incredibly professional, incredibly intuitive. All the other actors were just like, wow.

There was some controversy over the film's first trailer, and the fact that [Dimension Films and The Weinstein Company] had chosen to insert scenes of destruction that had nothing to do with the film. I wonder if you could talk about that?
Well, yeah -- there was controversy. From me as well.

What was their justification to you?
Well, I'll tell you. Look -- it's a hard, big, difficult film to market, and we always discussed a two-pronged marketing attack. Which was one, for the people who hadn't read the book. Their argument was to give them a little more context, and try to show the more genre elements to that audience. And then, in time, with other stuff -- there are going to be a few more teaser trailers to come -- they were going to refer more to the book. So it's those two [approaches], and I can understand that from a marketing point of view.

Personally, yeah, that was a tricky thing. Even music, I can understand why so many trailers don't even utilize the score of a film. I have issues with all trailers. I think trailers need more variation and more imagination and be more truthful to what the film is.

It seems using footage you hadn't shot crosses some kind of line.
I would think. I was worried, and I'm actually relying on you guys, in fact -- and I think they know this as well. I personally think it doesn't make sense to use footage that you haven't shot.

© 2009 Movieline LLC. Images © Dimension Films/2929 Productions.

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Last edited: 21 April 2018 08:56:33