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Viggo Radio Interview

Source: Carne Cruda.
Found By: Chrissie
Chrissie brings us these photos from Viggo's interview on Spanish radio for Carne Cruda:

Briefs clips from the interview available on Twitter - HERE and HERE.

You can listen to an audio of the entire interview HERE (Viggo is from 19:30 to 1:01:40)

Images © Carne Cruda.

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Viggo Mortensen Talks Walter Scott, Anti-Muslim Sentiment, and How Edward Snowden Is a Hero

Source: The Daily Beast.
Found By: ollie
Many thanks to ollie for this interview from The Daily Beast.

The Oscar-nominated star of Far From Men discusses the Algerian War epic, superhero roles he’s turned down, and why he’s stuck to his artistic guns.

Image Michael Crotto.
© One World Films.
The Oscar-nominated star of Far From Men discusses the Algerian War epic, superhero roles he's turned down, and why he's stuck to his artistic guns.

"You never know how the world is perceiving you," says Viggo Mortensen, "and I try not to be boxed in."

Ever since exploding into the cultural consciousness as the sword-wielding hero Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings films, the erudite and intense 56-year-old actor has made it awfully hard for myopic studio executives to define exactly what a "Viggo Mortensen type" is. He's fully inhabited roles ranging from the likes of a tattooed Russian mobster to a pair of Spanish-speaking twin brothers, a Nazi, and Sigmund Freud. This year alone, he'll play a Danish general in Jauja (speaking fluent Danish and Spanish) and a former soldier-turned-schoolteacher in the Algerian War drama Far From Men, which required him to speak in French and Arabic. He also speaks Italian, by the way.

In David Oelhoffen's Far From Men, in theaters May 1 (and available on VOD now), Mortensen plays Daru, an ex-French Army soldier turned schoolteacher in a tiny village in 1954 Algeria. He reluctantly agrees to transport a prisoner, Mohamed (A Prophet's Reda Kateb) to Tilsit, where he's set to stand trial, but the two soon find themselves caught in the midst of the onset of the Algerian War and the treacherous mountains. These two proud, reserved men soon forge a unique bond, surrendering their prejudices and embracing their fellow man.

The Daily Beast spoke with the Oscar-nominated Mortensen, who's always proven to be a candid, fascinating interview subject, about everything from Muslim stereotyping to technology, Edward Snowden, and 1984.

After The Lord of the Rings films, you really could've done whatever you wanted. But you've managed to stick to your guns and avoid the temptation of large paychecks for less interesting studio films, instead opting for fascinating ones like Far From Men.

I don't have anything against working on big-budget movies and getting paid well, and I honestly don't try to avoid any type of movie or genre, and I don't look for any particular language or nationality in terms of movies. It seems like I'm trying to do as many languages as I can, but that's just the way it's worked out. I'm looking for stories that I like; movies that I'd like to see in the movie theater. That's subjective, but it's the only way I can feel good about what I'm doing, so when I have to do press for the film after it's all said and done, I can be honest without trying to dodge questions because in my heart I know that it's not really good, and that I did it for the money. But it's just the way it's worked out. Once I commit to something I want to see it through.

I grew up a big comic-book geek and I could see you in a superhero film. Were you ever courted by the superhero powers that be? You would've made a good Wolverine.

I was offered Wolverine, actually, for the first movie—I guess it would've been for the franchise then. That was just before I got Lord of the Rings. I was flattered. I remember going to that meeting with the director, Bryan Singer, with my son who was a total comic book expert. He was about 10 at the time. Henry came, and Singer showed us all these models and storyboards, and Henry was instructing the director, saying, "Oh, you're going to change this thing right here." I believe it coincided with another project, and I couldn't do it. Every once in a while I'm offered something like that. I was offered two different parts in the last Superman movie they made [Man of Steel], but I wasn't available to do that either. And The Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman, which isn't a comic book but is almost like a comic book.

That's a little too close to Aragorn, right?

It might've been. Yeah. They changed it a lot. When they offered it to me, it was a different story and seemed more justified to be called Snow White and the Huntsman. The movie they ended up making should have been called Snow White and the Wicked Witch. The original script was a lot funnier and there was a longer apprenticeship. It was almost like The African Queen a little bit.

Far From Men is set at the start of the Algerian War, which in retrospect is seen as an important decolonization war. But when your character is shown the paper in the opening scene, the rebel actions are painted as the actions of terrorists. It begs the question of: Is one man's terrorist another man's freedom fighter?

That's right. It's difficult. There's that "us vs. them" and "kill or be killed" mentality, and in the long run, when you're talking about increasingly large arsenals of conventional and nuclear arms all over the place, it's kind of untenable for the human race to survive and keep having that mentality. Camus wrote something to the effect of, "It is easier to die for one's contradictions than to live with them." What can you learn from the other, and from one's differences? Everyone was a kid at one point, so how can we come together? This story is very much about that, and that's why I feel this film is an important one to see given what's going on in the world right now—particularly in the Middle East, but also elsewhere.

Right. In America right now, we are often being presented with a very black-and-white view of Muslims, and there is this pervasive "us vs. them" mentality that is quite toxic.

Yeah. It's very easy to do that. It's much easier to say that instead of talking with somebody who's different—or your enemy—and work out any kind of agreement, or even try. There's the whole debate about Iran, and the constant barrage from the likes of John McCain. There's a certain part of Congress whose first answer is always, "Let's bomb them." The Dick Cheney mentality. That has been proven again and again to not be a long-term solution; you create a lot more problems than existed in the first place. It's not the way to go, but it's the easy way to go.

It's the political way to go.

It's the easy way to score points and win elections and raise money for elections, to have that digestible, black-and-white view. To have a dialogue with someone in any way complex that's really about human beings takes more than just sound bites—it takes work. Those people are essentially just lazy and result-oriented, and the result they want is to stay in power, or gain it. This doesn't just happen on the right, but on the left and middle, too. In the end, if you're doing that you're not there to serve the people. What people are you there to serve? You're only serving yourself.

You play a schoolteacher in the film to a class of young kids. How do you feel about today's youth? It seems we're living in an increasingly tech-reliant world, and also one that lacks privacy.

The privacy thing concerns me. But with all the gadgets and all that, I sometimes think maybe it's just a phase and will develop into more attention of what's going on around you, but at the moment, young and old, people don't seem to be present—on the sidewalk, or where they are. People can't even sit for a minute and have a cup of coffee with someone without checking their phone, responding, punching the "like" button, or taking a picture of themselves and sending it. It seems like this unconscious fear of death that's just gotten way out of hand. The fear of not being present and not being on top of everything makes you not be present at all. I think when you're working like that you're like a hamster in a cage, and I think that serves a certain part of the political class, because voting is irregular, people tend to go to the sources of information they already agree with, and it seems like people are more polarized than ever and less focused on what's going on in the here and now.

If you're walking down the sidewalk and bumping into people because you're looking at your phone, you're not really here. If your car is swerving because you're texting, you're not really here. If you're standing on line at the post office and talking at the top of your lungs to someone a thousand miles away with no consideration for people standing right next to you, you don't really give a shit. People seem to be more and more unconscious. But I think the way forward is that people will become more conscious. Even though I don't avail myself of all that stuff, I'm not one of those people who thinks Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and text messaging is the end of civilization, but like anything, it's how you use it.

I went to a concert the other day and they forced everyone to check their phones during the show to avoid having a bunch of tiny screens light up this dark, small room. And people there were getting very stressed out about it.

It's like if someone drinks way too much coffee and you take their coffee away, they go apeshit for a day and then get used to it. If you take someone's iPhone away for a little while because it has to be repaired or it got stolen, people have real meltdowns. Is it really a matter of survival? It's not in most cases.

Phones are also good devices now for checking authority. I'm not sure if you've been paying attention to what's going on in South Carolina with the video of the cop who shot Walter Scott.

South Carolina. Yes, I've been following it. That was great what happened there, that he was caught on video, but let's see what they do. Look at what happened in Ferguson or Staten Island, where the guy was choked to death. That was all caught on a phone, but the guy wasn't even taken to trial! Because all these things have been happening, it's going to be hard for that police department in Charleston to let the guy get away with it.

Technology is an interesting thing, because it can be used to check authority—as in the case of Walter Scott or Eric Garner—but can go the other way as well.

Who's the one that's going to decide what's an invasion of privacy, and what isn't? It's annoying when you can't do anything without being observed. It's just how it's managed. What Edward Snowden has warned about is the equivalent of what George Orwell was warning about, and I think that documentary Citizenfour is equivalent to 1984 in its importance. And I think Snowden is like Winston Smith—the character who fights Big Brother. There are serious issues with it, not just the trivial, "Get out of my face with that camera, it's so irritating," but it can also be good. I think young people are also learning things very fast, and if they want to, it's good for getting out the vote and making people conscious of what's going on, but they're great tools to inform. What are the roots of this kind of music, or literature? Where did it come from? I think people are generally better-informed, but it's just a matter of what they do with that information. Being informed and engaging, or using that information to connect with others in more than just a trivial way, that's the next step. A lot of people are doing that, but a lot more could be.

© The Daily Beast. Images © Michael Crott/One World Films.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

My favourite Viggoism of the week comes from the Telegraph where he said that life is 'really not about where you are, but how you are.' This was wrapped in yet another anecdote about getting lost in in the wild, this time on a Lapland trail. He's mastered the art of being alone without being lonely, seeing isolation as those valuable 'little pockets of time for private refection' that he referred to in our latest ' A Question for Viggo'.

'In October, I got caught in a snowstorm in Lapland. I lost the trail and had to find some place to hide. I was out there on my own for a couple of days. I was worried but managed to find shelter and make a fire. It's really not about where you are, but how you are. I can get annoyed or say, "OK, this is where I am. I don't have any choice at the moment. Let's make the most of it."'

Viggo Mortensen's Travelling Life
By Nick McGrath
The Telegraph
10 April 2015

'I love the solitude; I need it often. Silence and solitude are necessary for my work as an actor, editor and writer.'

Viggo Mortensen: "You must live your contradictions"
Le Magazine Litteraire
23 March 2015

'I'm a very sociable person, but I love to be alone, to listen to the silence, to not speak to anyone for a while. What would drive some people crazy gives me energy.'

Viggo Mortensen
"I'm permanently dissatisfied"
By Amelia Enríquez - translated for V-W by Margarita
Lecturas Magazine
30 August 2006

'The forest, the rivers, being alone in those places, it´s like food to me.'

The Past Is In Everything
By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
19 August 2014

As a child he was a loner, which is unsurprising considering his peripatetic lifestyle. "I wrote stories and did a lot of drawing," he says. "It's why I'm comfortable being by myself and why I yearn for it at times. When you're on a movie set you're with people constantly. So when it gets to lunchtime I just go off by myself. I've always been like that. I'm self-sufficient and I like being with my own thoughts. It prepares me for being around people. But I know others have to constantly check their email or phone messages and if an hour of silence goes by, they panic. I'm just not like that."

Viggo Mortensen is lord of all things
Chitra Ramaswamy
The Scotsman
24 May 2013

...there is something to be said for being isolated and out of phone range, because you can fall into a habit to such a degree that you don't even realise that you've lost something: silence.'

Viggo Mortensen's grand plan
Telegraph Men's Style Magazine
By Sheryl Garratt
26 March 2013

I can only speak for myself, but I would go crazy if I couldn't get out of the city and go out into the forest for a little while.

Viggo Mortensen talks The Two Faces Of January, singing with Fassbender and throwing a nappy at Al Pacino
by Tom Ward
16 May 2014

'I like feeling very free and open to the world. Any time I'm outdoors, whether it's in a desert or a sea or the forest. I like the elements - whatever the weather is, I don't feel that any moment is wasted at all.

Viggo Mortensen: "It's my nature to do a lot"
10 July 2012

"I am a loner who flees from stress, I feel good living close to nature, living with the same rhythm as animals and weather, no pressure, no constraints, no deadlines. I write poems, I paint, I read, I phone my friends, I plunge into thought and all of a sudden without my having seen the hours go by, night falls…"

Viggo Mortensen, Beautiful Savage
Richard Gianorio
Le Figaro
26 September 2008

'Aragorn and I shared the same paradox: we are solitary beings, even though we love company. He enjoys being together with his companions during all the various adventures in the story, and I enjoy belonging to a troupe of actors. Aragorn, like me, has travelled long and far and knows many diverse cultures. He also feels at home in nature and I have never hidden my happiness when working in isolated and wild locations. Perhaps there are other similarities that I can't analyse. The best things don't open themselves up to explanation!'

The King Is Mortensen, Long Live The King!
By Marc Toullec
Cine Live #71
September 2003

"My house is the Atlas mountains or the Iceland ice, the forest, the rivers or the sea, the stars, the setting sun. If I stop one day, I die. You must make the difference between loneliness and isolation: between the two, I see a road that can take me farther than I would dare imagine. And wherever this leads me, I still want to take it!"

"You must read Camus if you're plugged in"
By Cécile Lecoultre - translated by Donna Marie
24 Heures
27 January 2015

...the rare Hollywood actor who is happiest when alone with a book, his thoughts and the stars in the sky.

Hot Actor - Viggo Mortensen
By G. E.
September 2003
Source: Rolling Stone (U.S.)

'But sometimes I miss what it's like to soak up metropolitan poisons. I love and am terrified by the great cities of the world, sometimes simultaneously.'

Viggo Mortensen in Algiers
For It To Rain
By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
19 October 2013

You will find all previous Quotables

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © New Line Productions Inc.

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The Telegraph: Viggo Mortensen's Travelling Life

Source: The Telegraph.
Found By: Iolanthe
Thanks to Iolanthe for bringing us this interview.

Viggo Mortensen, the Lord of the Rings actor, recalls breakdowns in Patagonia, sleepless nights in Lapland, and living in the middle of a forest

© New Line Productions Inc.
By Nick McGrath

How often do you travel?

Nearly every two or three days I've been on a plane going somewhere this year, to Paris, Berlin, London, Argentina, Canada, and America. But I never lose the inspiration to travel because places always change. A place you think you know very well, including where you were born, is not the same place you were born in, it always changes.

How was it returning to your homeland Denmark and going back to Argentina for the shooting of your latest film Jauja?

I spent some of my childhood in Argentina and it wasn't very different from my memories of it when I was there for the film. The streets, the sounds, the people, the way they speak, the food – everything was very familiar. But we were shooting in wild places far removed from urban landscapes, places nearly untouched by humans, with no roads, phones or internet. In Denmark, we shot in the south of the island of Zealand – the island Copenhagen is on. Anytime I go to Denmark I feel at home. I find the more one travels, the more places one can call home and the better you'll get along with people and also yourself. Travel is probably the greatest anti-war weapon that exists – seeing things first hand, not through the internet, being in direct contact with different cultures, languages, smells and landscapes – different ways of looking at life can only be a positive thing.

Favourite filming locations?

I like the outdoors and natural landscapes, so there are places in New Zealand, particularly the South Island that I really enjoyed and have gone back to. I've revisited remote places in the deserts and mountains of Argentina and North Africa. I look forward to going back to Russia to where Eastern Promises was shot, at the border between Siberia and the Ural Mountain region. I also enjoyed shooting in some very remote areas in the west of North America. I recently finished a movie called Captain Fantastic, where I play the father of six kids and we live in a big tent in a completely off-the-grid pine forest. These are places that I'm familiar with because I used to live in that part of the country, literally in the middle of a national forest for some time.

Most exclusive access you've had to film a movie?

During the filming of Lord of The Rings, the Department of Conservation allowed us special access into remote areas that most New Zealanders only knew from photos. We got to live and work in there and it was wonderful. And for Two Faces of January, which is set in 1962, we got permission to go up to the Acropolis of Athens and walk around inside the Parthenon, which was allowed in 1962. We got to actually touch those columns which was a great privilege.

Favourite city?

I love walking around Paris and Buenos Aires, and there's always a lot going on in London, a lot of different cultural influences, a lot of history. I also like Madrid, Barcelona, New York and some of the smaller towns in Brazil and Argentina. I've visited Japan several times and I really like it. When I visit a place I tend to have a plan but then throw it out of the window, which is what I do in movie storytelling. I visited a Japanese actor I'd worked with a few years ago. We stayed a few days in Tokyo, then to Hokkaido and rented a car, just driving instinctively. We ended up going to places where tourists don't normally go, sleeping on the floor, eating local food. There is the saying, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans" and I think it's best to take a detour if you can and usually you can, even if you think you can't.

What do need for a perfect holiday?

To leave my phone and computer behind. Because everything you need is going to be wherever you go. You're going there to find out about other things so why bring things from the place you've just come from?

Worst ever travelling experience?

Sometimes things that are really disturbing or inconvenient are what make a trip memorable. I remember my dad taking us camping in Argentina and the car breaking down on a dirt track in Patagonia; we had to wait a day before somebody drove by to take us somewhere to get the car parts. In October, I got caught in a snowstorm in Lapland. I lost the trail and had to find some place to hide. I was out there on my own for a couple of days. I was worried but managed to find shelter and make a fire. It's really not about where you are, but how you are. I can get annoyed or say, "OK, this is where I am. I don't have any choice at the moment. Let's make the most of it."

Best piece of travel advice?

No matter where I'm going or how long I'm going for, including shoots that last months, if I can possibly avoid checking any bags, I do. I try to only do carry on and anything I need I can find a way to get where I'm going.

What do you hate about holidays?

That there's a limit to it. I love that you have all the time in the world whilst you're travelling but it's an illusion, a lie you tell yourself in order to relax but travellers are best off when they do that.

What has travelling taught you?

I think the author Robert Louis Stevenson summed it up best: "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."

© The Telegraph. Images © New Line Productions Inc.

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An Unconventional Method: Viggo Mortensen

Source: Clash.
Found By: ollie

Our thanks to ollie for the find.


Deeply individual actor talks to Clash...

Image Lonny Spence.
© Clash.
Viggo Mortensen has carved his own individualist path through the movie business to become one of the world's greatest actors. Clash scratched the surface of his motivations ahead of his new movie Juaja.

"I like to work on stories where I'm forced to learn things that I hardly knew anything about," says Viggo Mortensen with the kind of reserved intensity which has come to be his trademark from films such as Eastern Promises, A History of Violence and The Road.

He's in the capital for the London Film Festival at which two very different existential westerns - Juaja and Far From Men - are screening. For the latter, he explains, he learned some Arabic and dialect that's specific to the film's West Algerian locale. "All of that forced me to look at the world in a different way," he adds. "I look at movies that way. They're like university courses. Just for my enjoyment and education, I prefer to do as much preparation as I can and then show up and see what happens."

It's hardly a typical approach but Mortensen is hardly your typical actor. In addition to his masterful command of the big screen which ranges in scale from low-budget world cinema to The Lord of the Rings, his almost ludicrous list of talents includes poetry, painting and a prolific discography which boasts more album releases than your average full-time musician.

He's evidently aware that he's a little different. Over the course of this interview, Mortensen repeatedly makes a point of detailing how he'd approach certain tasks in contrast to what he'd expect from others. Take Juaja (pronounced how-ha), for example. Mortensen plays Captain Gunnar Dinesen, a Danish engineer who is stationed with the Argentine army on a seemingly thankless mission deep within Patagonia. It's an obvious draw for Mortensen, a Danish-American who spent much of his childhood in Argentina.

"I like the basic idea of the story, that a father and his young daughter in the nineteenth century go to the other end of the world to a culture that's very foreign from theirs," he explains, his meditative voice barely rising above the volume of a whisper. "And there's that universal aspect to the story that the father - as often happens - is the last man on Earth to realise that his little girl is not a little girl anymore and that men are interested in her."

A stranger in a strange land, Gunnar has little choice but to further embrace his disconnect by heading into the desert to search for her following her disappearance. As Mortensen agrees, it's a plot that represents the essence of a classic Western tale. Aesthetically, however, it's a film that's a broad leap away from conforming to typical genre expectations, with hyper-real colouring and creative lighting framed within a curved-edge 4:3 aspect ratio. Its visual flair is a hazy mythic daydream infused with a fondness for the early days of the cinematic tradition.

Juaja director Lisandro Alonso's reputation is as a master of minimalism. This economically scripted film, half-jokes Mortensen, probably features more dialogue in its first half than the rest of Alonso's filmography combined. What there is, however, is carefully considered: the actor spends a good 300 words discussing why his character describes his daughter as "invisible" rather than "missing" (short approximation: between his struggle to learn a new language in an alien culture and the panic of his situation, this highly educated and confident individual is reduced to being awkward and clumsy).

Juaja is a film that subconsciously draws an audience into its surreal world before audaciously spinning their expectations into a mystery. Mortensen grins a beatific smile of satisfaction. "In my opinion, most movies you don't talk about for very long afterwards. But this is a movie that I think stays with you. It's a nagging kind of feeling. Even if you reject the last ten or fifteen minutes of the movie out of hand, there's something about it."

That something is a continuing question of just what it means. Even if you don't reach any conclusion, there's a clear value in the discussion that it inspires.

"To me it's a sort of hybrid existential fairytale," he continues. "A hybrid because the movie is as Danish as it is Argentine: Danish characters; half of the dialogue is in Danish; the main characters are Danes in a strange place; and yet there's a sense of humour and a sensibility - and the landscapes and the other people - that's very Argentine. There's something really beautiful, but under the surface there's something that's very sinister and you're not quite sure what it is."

It's evident that Mortensen finds a particular joy in taking a cerebral approach to acting. He's at his most animated when talking about the creative connection that he enjoys with David Cronenberg (he cites the process of making Eastern Promises, which involved extended email discussions about all aspects of Russian culture: poetry, music, philosophy, cinema) or when enthusing about his collaborations with enigmatic guitarist and Juaja's soundtrack co-composer Buckethead.

It's a thought process that he applies to every aspect of his career. His explains at length the reasons behind his stubborn dedication to sticking to projects that he's already committed to, and it appears that he'd rather reluctantly pass on a bigger opportunity than endanger a smaller movie by dropping out of it. Is there anything he has missed out on that he particularly regrets?

"Yeah," he sighs before immediately disagreeing with himself. "Not so many. There are a couple of things that would've been fun to do and would also have been professionally helpful, I suppose, in terms of maintaining a certain visibility so I have options to do a smaller or a bigger movie. I understand how it works; there are consequences to being stubborn about following through on these types of movies." Part of what makes Mortensen such a fascinating character is that his constant analysis of his own work means that he sees a value and a weakness in everything he does. Nothing, it seems, can be good enough for him to rest on his laurels, but even an unsuccessful project is a worthwhile learning process.

"I can understand why there are actors and even directors who are loathe to look at their work," he says, noting that Woody Allen never watches his own movies after they've been completed. "I don't have a problem looking at it. It's a question of perception - one day I might like what I see or I might not. But there's nothing wrong with a bucket of cold water to the face once in a while. It's just a way to learn, and to do a better job next time."

© Clash. Images © Lonny Spence.

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Last edited: 24 May 2015 12:40:08