Viggo Continues In Memory
Insignia of Gold of León Ceremony 10.13.06
Image Ramiro DL.
© Diario de León. Used by permission.
Though it is a little later than expected and is still awaiting the imminent laying of the stone that will commemorate that this is the birthplace of Diego Alatriste y Tenorio, the captain of the Flanders Tercios, the city council of Valdelugueros, led by mayor Emilio Orejas, has realized the promise made three years ago that they would name the recently built square in the center of the town of Valdeteja, in the central León mountains, after the New York actor Viggo Mortensen.
Specifically chosen by Viggo among the many places that he visited before shooting the movie as he tried to absorb the language and customs of the residents of this beautiful place, and to transform it into the homeland of the character that he would play months later in the now mythic Díaz Yanes movie, Alatriste, Valdeteja has become ever since, as agreed by actor and author, the birthplace of one of the most popular fictional heroes of the current historic narrative, which takes place in the XVII century.
The Argüellos region, with its Curueño river winding between its narrow pass, attracted Mortensen from the first time he admired it on a snowy morning in Februay 2005; its rugged and precipitous geography led him to make it his usual place of rest during the filming, and an obvious meeting point from then on with friends, local people and children, so there wasn't a time when he didn't take some present for them and play swords with them around the fountain located just in front of the church. Both Anabel's bar, the first place which the actor visited on his arrival in Valdeteja, and the winding paths that lead into the low hills that surround the village, were for some months the mute witnesses of the actor's excursions and, just after the León premiere of Alatriste, he traveled with the director and the other members of the crew to Valdeteja, so that they could see with their own eyes the home village of Reverte's hero, and he filmed a DVD and published a book of photographs about Valdeteja.
As Viggo in person told us, "I would like to build a house in Valdeteja, and make it the Alatriste Museum, as well as a place to rest for actors and friends who would like to visit this región." It is never too late, and the latest news we have is that next winter he will return to León, from where he's been absent for more than four years. Now, Emilio Orejas, Valdeluguero's mayor, suggested to the city council and reached agreement to go ahead with the proposal to rename the main square in Valdeteja as Viggo Mortensen's Square "for the reiterated interest shown by Viggo Mortensen for this region, and his contributions to spreading awareness of it". The City council highlights the great esteem shown by the actor for discovering the historic roots of the legendary character of Alatriste in the above mentioned municipality. His continuous visits to our villages, and to Valdeteja in particular, which transcend the mere professional interest, makes him a loving ambassador of our region and contribute to its recognition and praise.