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The Two Faces of January cast and director Q&A at BFI


Source: BFI.
Found By: Chrissie
Chrissie brings us this clip from BFI.


Quote:
1TFoJ_bfi.jpg
© BFI.
Director Hossein Amini and actors Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac talk about the making of The Two Faces of January, a noir adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel. Amini reveals the influence of Chinatown and Bernardo Bertolucci, while the stars offer insights into their preparation for their roles.

Watch it HERE.

© BFI. Images © BFI.

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Viggo Interview with Premiere


Source: Premiere.
Found By: Chrissie
Thanks to Chrissie for this interview by Eric Vernay.
Quote:

Viggo Mortensen: "Si Le Seigneur des Anneaux peut gagner 12 Oscars, je ne vois pas pourquoi Avatar ne remporterait pas celui du meilleur film!"

9ps4L.jpg
© 4L Productions.
Pour le cinéaste Lisandro Alonso (Jauja, western contemplatif sélectionné à Un Certain Regard), Viggo Mortensen a accepté de se perdre en Patagonie. La star du Seigneur des Anneaux nous raconte ce qu'il y a trouvé, entre défi d'acteur et voyage spatio-temporel.

Comment avez-vous rencontré Lisandro Alonso?
Je l'ai rencontré en 2006, très rapidement, durant un festival de cinéma. Puis en 2012, parce que mon ami (il passe au français, ndlr) le poète Argentin Fabián Casas m'a dit qu'il travaillait sur un script pour Lisandro. Et Lisandro voulait m'en parler, donc on s'est retrouvés durant le tournage d'un autre film Argentin, Todos tenemos un plande Ana Piterbarg. Il m'a dit qu'il voulait faire un film qui se passe au XIXe siècle, où un Danois recherche sa fille qui s'est enfuie avec un jeune soldat argentin. Une sorte de western étrange. Ça m'a beaucoup excité !

Pour vous, Jauja est donc un western?
Oui, je pense. Un western existentiel… Un western qui aurait été filmé par Tarkovski. C'est un film étrange, parce qu'il est autant danois qu'argentin. Peut-être même plus danois qu'argentin, dans son aspect visuel et en termes de sensibilité, notamment au niveau du sens de l'humour. Ce qui est une bonne chose ! (rires)

Vous avez récemment déclaré qu'il y avait trop d'effets spéciaux dans Le Seigneur des Anneaux et The Hobbit : vous en avez fini avec les blockbusters digitalisés?
Il se trouve que je préfère les choses plus organiques, avec moins d'effets. Mais je n'ai pas exactement dit ça, j'ai parlé de mes goûts c'est vrai, mais j'ai aussi répété pour la millième fois des choses positives sur la trilogie. Elles ne figurent malheureusement pas dans l'article… Le succès de ce film de Peter Jackson a ouvert de nombreuses portes pour moi. Le tournage fut aussi une expérience extraordinaire en Nouvelle Zélande. Je le répète donc dans cette interview, en espérant que vous ne couperez pas! (rires)

En tant qu'acteur, vous préférez les films comme Jauja, plus « organiques » pour reprendre votre adjectif?
Oui, en général. Même si les effets spéciaux fonctionnent parfois de manière merveilleuse. Je pense par exemple à Avatar, qui est un film très intelligent, magnifiquement réalisé. Si Le Seigneur des Anneaux peut gagner 12 Oscars, je ne vois pas pourquoi Avatar ne remporterait pas celui du meilleur film ! Les jurys, aux Oscars comme dans les festivals, sont toujours subjectifs, et parfois c'est difficile de comprendre pourquoi certaines œuvres sont oubliées. Pourquoi David Cronenberg n'a-t-il jamais été nommé pour un Oscar ? Bizarre. Ce n'est pas logique, donc je ne prends pas les prix très au sérieux.

Pour une star comme vous, tourner dans ce film à petit budget argentin, ça vous a procuré une sensation d'évasion?
Dans un blockbuster comme un petit film fauché, la relation avec la caméra est la même. Vous devez connaître vos lignes de dialogues, l'interaction entre le réalisateur et les acteurs ne change pas vraiment selon le budget. Cela dit, se retrouver avec une petite équipe au milieu de nulle part, dans des superbes paysages que je connaissais car j'y ai passé mon enfance, ça m'a rendu heureux. Et ce fut libérateur. D'autant que Lisandro est ouvert d'esprit, collaboratif, pas prétentieux. Monter à cheval en Patagonie, ça m'a rappelé quand j'étais gamin. En plus, je devais parler un Danois ancien, celui que parlait mon grand-père – un homme de campagne (en français, ndlr). C'était la première fois que je parlais danois dans un film. Donc à plusieurs niveaux, j'expérimentais un retour vers le passé, un peu comme mon personnage, pour lequel le temps linéaire devient confus. C'était très inhabituel… Un bon défi. (en français, ndlr) C'était un peu comme les campings que je faisais dans le coin avec ma famille, enfant : loin du téléphone, d'Internet.

En tant que peintre, que vous inspire la façon dont le réalisateur Lisandro Alonso a compacté ces paysages de Patagonie en format presque carré?
Ça m'évoque les vieux westerns. C'est très beau, ça change des panoramiques.

Vous avez appris des choses sur vous-même durant cette expérience inhabituelle et sauvage?
C'était intéressant de travailler avec un réalisateur qui fait des plans longs, sans avoir peur du calme et de la durée : devant sa caméra, tout ce que tu fais devient intéressant. C'est la première fois qu'il utilise des acteurs pros, mais dans le film, on ne ressemble pas à des acteurs, on ressemble juste à des personnes. Des personnes qui ont de vraies expériences. Dans ces conditions, c'est impossible de faire une erreur. C'est un sentiment bizarre en tant qu'acteur. Ce que tu fais sera dans le film. Ca donne de la confiance et de la tranquillité.

Vous parlez peu dans le film, c'était un défi de donner au personnage sa consistance?
Non, vous savez Aragorn ne parlait pas beaucoup lui non plus. Dans History Of Violence, mon personnage s'exprimait beaucoup de manière non-verbale. J'aime ça. Mais j'aime aussi les rôles bavards, le changement me plait.

Dans le film vous rencontrez un chien mystérieux. C'était comment, de travailler avec lui?
Le chien était incroyable. Son dresseur est un fan de l'équipe de foot de San Lorenzo, comme moi d'ailleurs.

© Premiere. Images © 4L Productions.

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Viggo Mortensen: "Experience should free you."


Source: The Talks.
Found By: Waënelin
Many thanks to Waënelin for bringing us this interview from The Talks.
Quote:
Mr. Mortensen, have you ever been called a liar?

Everybody is at some point, right? Humans are inconsistent and that's what makes them interesting. If they were completely predictable, it wouldn't be so interesting. And movies that show people as being unpredictable are more interesting than movies that show someone behave the same way all the time. It doesn't have to be the main aspect of the story, but I like characters where you see that.

Is an inconsistent character more difficult to play?

Sure and sometimes I'm not sure I can do it. But there aren't that many good stories, so when a good one comes along you say, "Hmm, there's not a good reason not to do it other than the fact that I'm afraid of failing to try this new thing, so I should do it." So if I like the story and the people want to hire me, usually being afraid of not figuring out how to do it is not a good enough reason to say no.

What is a good reason to say no?

You like to feel like you can have a conversation with the people you're going to work with, for example. As much as I admire some of his movies and some of his technical feats, I don't think I would have been very happy working for Hitchcock.

Why not?

My understanding is that he didn't give actors much room to think for themselves. And I think that shows, even in his best movies, except for when someone like Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant who is very subtle can impart some kind of nuance to the performance. But otherwise almost all of the characters in his movies are like that because he doesn't let them breathe, as people, the actors. You can feel it. And maybe that's the only way he could do his movies, but who is to say his movies wouldn't be even better if he had let people have some freedom?

Freedom to bring what kinds of things to a part?

There are different ways of preparing… There's only one thing that I always do, which is ask myself what happened from when the character was literally born until the first page of the script. That's where it always starts for me. If you do that, you've already done half of the work, because that could be a lifetime of exploration if you want to. There are a couple of movies I have coming out this year and one takes place in Algeria, so I went there because I spoke French before the movie, but not in the way I needed to for that movie. I didn't speak Arabic, so I had to learn that, too.

Of course you did.

But for another movie I did recently called The Two Faces of January I could more or less speak the way I speak English, so there were other aspects like the physicality and behavior traits that I used, things that I associated with movie characters, descriptions of characters in novels. The film takes place in 1962, so I also thought of people from my parent's generation, men that I remember growing up who were Americans who had a certain way of moving about and talking and wearing their clothes and thinking they are hot shit. (Laughs)

Is that what you imagine when you think of people in the '60s?

It was a little different as men who grew up in the 1930s, who were in World War II and were affected by it as young adults. There was a certain sense of decorum. In the 1930s, even a factory worker, if he had a coat, he'd wear it. The way you look had to do with personal dignity. Actors going to work in England, to a studio, they would go to work in a suit and tie, or often the crew would be wearing that too.

Do people care less about their appearances nowadays?

I think it's just different… it goes in phases. A studied effort to seem like you don't give a shit is one style, to shock is another style. I try to wear clean clothes, but I'm not consciously very interested in fashion. It depends on what time period you're in or where you are or what group of people you're with. I think these days fashion or style is becoming more and more homogenous because the same shops are in Madrid and Berlin and New York and Buenos Aires. There is less and less regional difference.

The globalization of culture has been going on for a while now.

In the '50s, you started getting the Beats and the beat poets and movies became more and more important, especially in North America and that started influencing Europeans a lot. In the early twentieth century it was still books and theater, but by 1950s it's the movies that are affecting how you look at yourself, whether you're American or French or German. Everybody in the young generation at a certain time wanted to look like Marlon Brando.

And then it became James Dean.

Right, there was a heavy influence and by 1962 the references that people had, unless you were an academic person or extremely well read, you didn't sit around talking about novels, you talked about movies, or pop music or jazz if you were young.

Is it important for you to stay up to date on pop culture?

It's very unusual to meet somebody who is 85 or 90 years old where you say, "That's a really interesting old man or old woman. She's really interested in what's happening now. She's doesn't like rap music, but she's listening to it," or something like that. The people like that are special, and it should be the opposite. Because experience should free you, should inform you, should make you wise in your behavior, not just what's in your head.

Unfortunately that's not always true.

I think it's natural for people. The more experience you have, the more time you've spent on this earth, the more regrets you accumulate. It's normal. You can't do everything right, nobody's perfect, so you have things that you did wrong. But if you think too much about that, you're not here. That's the bottom line. You have to make some efforts to stay open-minded.

What is your way?

By making things and by acting and by playing characters that have different points of view from my own, I have to think, "How do I play this guy? I don't really see the world that way, I don't wear clothes like that, I don't look like that, I don't think that way." It's a conscious thing that you do to keep from closing down. I'm forced to do it because of my profession. I'm lucky.

© The Talks.

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Viggo Mortensen - "Im Filmgeschäft passieren wundersame Dinge"


Our thanks to Chrissie for bringing us this nice clip.





Watch it HERE



© BR Mediathek.

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A Conversation with Viggo Mortensen at Cannes


Source: The Huffington Post.
Found By: Lindi
Our thanks to Lindi for bringing us this piece from the Huffington Post.
Quote:
Viggo during press promotion for "Jauja" at Cannes - May 2014
Viggo during press promotion for "Jauja" at Cannes....
© Huffington Post.
I met with Viggo Mortensen here in Cannes, to discuss his role as the star of Lisandro Alonso's film Jauja, which premiered here this week. Wasn't it difficult for Viggo to take a role in such an elliptical film? An experimental movie, it is never entirely clear what Jauja is about -- and as the director told me, he likes it this way. All we know is that a Danish captain shows up in Patagonia in the 1882 with his fifteen-year-old daughter, to help an army fight against the indigenous people, and then the daughter disappears, leaving him to wander in the desert. He searches endlessly for her: rather like the two "Jerry" characters in Gus Van Sant's eponymous flick, who also wander lost in the desert.

How did Viggo manage to enter into his character in such an enigmatic script? He seems to exist only as a metaphor for the human condition: the continual search for something we can never find. I imagined it would be impossible to even come up with a back story.

"It was not difficult at all," Viggo said, leaning forward and staring at me with serious eyes. "I was not vague about who I was, despite the existential script. I play a Danish captain, in 1882. I play a northern European, a surveyor and scientist who is very rational in his thinking, always finding a logical reason. For example, in the first scene, when he first arrives to this new country with his daughter, he is trying to understand what the military man he meets is talking about; first thing, he asks and then gives his opinions about this mysterious information. Same with the mysterious old woman he later meets in the desert. The presence of that old woman does not make sense. He asks himself: 'What is this?' He is old fashioned; he is a guy from the country. When he does not understand, he asks. My character is in the same position of the audience -- trying to figure out what is happening."

"It's rather like Don Quixote," he continued, in as easy and clear a manner as his director had been abstract and vague. "Don Quixote is both serious and specific."

Viggo had very definite ideas about his craft: They came to the fore in this film.

"If you want something existential and universal too, you need to be specific and detailed; you need to give it weight. The more specific you are, as an actor, the more you can make a leap The Danes were involved in two wars in the 1800s: in 1848 and 1864. For my role, I found a uniform from this 1848 war, as well as a saber from this war, and a double-medal for a man who served in both wars. This medal was very important. Most of the people back then were farmers, but they would be out with the pigs, with their medals, that is how important these medals were."

But did he see his character evolve in this film? The one refrain repeated in the film is: "What makes a life function and move forward?" Where does this wandering Captain get to at the end?
Quote:
Viggo during press promotion for "Jauja" at Cannes - May 2014
Viggo during press promotion for "Jauja" at Cannes....
© Huffington Post.

"Yes, he does evolve," Viggo's eyes lit up. "And his evolution lies in the very fact that by the end of the film, he is asking that question: 'What makes a life function and move forward.' And he says: 'I don't know' and smiles. He accepts that he cannot control it."

But what has gone on in that hallucinatory journey in the desert? Is the old woman he meets his daughter stuck in time or an arbitrary woman or... ?

"She could be a dream, or the daughter, or the dream of a dog. It doesn't matter."

It did not seem to matter for the audience at Cannes as well. They had clapped enthusiastically at the end of this inchoate film, which ends with a scene that begs to be deciphered (suddenly we are in a house!), as if they had not only accepted but adored the existential adventure for what it is: a sublime experience of our existential wandering through time.It was a surprising reaction, since some of Alonso's previous films have been disparaged as "pretentious."

"This film is not pretentious," Viggo asserted, speaking even more passionately about the film than the director, whom I had spoken to just a moment before. "Each step follows the next. Lisandro's thought is every bit as innovative as Tarkovsky's, in terms of visual poetry, and in this case, spoken poetry."

Viggo's involvement in the film was not just as an actor. He had even collaborated with the Lisandro, helping him choose music for it. "Lisandro told me he wanted to have a break between scenes, and I said you should listen to Buckethead, very strange music, to shift the tempo. I happen to know Buckethead personally, as I had done some work with him." He had also discussed the film at length with the Argentinean director, in Spanish, of course. Viggo had spent his childhood in Argentina.

It was the first time I had interviewed an actor who seemed so heartily on the same wavelength as his director.

"Oh but I have had the same kind of collaborative approach with other directors," said Viggo, calmly. "For example, Cronenberg.I always try to work with the director. I can do a better job if we understand each other."

Viggo has made two films with Cronenberg. How did it feel for him to play now in a low-budget film?

"The budget of this movie?" he said. "It doesn't matter what the budget of a film is, or if there is a crew of ten or twelve: the relationship with the camera is still the same. In fact, the more expensive a film is, the less likely that it is going to be different from another movie. If it's an expensive movie, the investor wants some guarantee for a return: either well-known actors, a director who is known to make money or a story that has made money before. The chances are slim that you are going to make something original, a film in which you break with conventions of time and space, and shot selection. You will get nothing like what Lisandro is doing."

Although, he admitted, some expensive movies -- "like Avatar and Lord of the Rings -- are really interesting."

Did he have some criteria for choosing the next film he would act in?

"Yes, I do have criteria. All I am looking for is a movie that I would be able to see in twenty years and be proud of."

© The Huffington Post.


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Last edited: 27 July 2014 10:57:01