Quotable Viggo 2014

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Quotable Viggo: 8 November 2014

After Thursday's gorgeous 'Good Day' Nigel Parry photo and Alix Lambert's wonderful film of Viggo padding around his pool with his feet all au naturel, I'm sure we are all feeling nostalgia for the barefoot King. Can I do a quotable all about Viggo's feet? You bet your life I can. Vintage Viggo!!!

© Westmount

…there's a good chance Mortensen has the smallest shoe collection in Hollywood.

Viggo Mortensen Rides Back In 'Hidalgo'
By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
29 February 2004

We wander our way to the Japanese garden, where the cherry blossoms bloom and sit on a steep grass bank. As is his wont wherever and whenever possible, Viggo wears no shoes. He spots an oval-headed balding man, with wisps of gray hair, walking with two younger women.

"Is that Arthur Miller?" he whispers. "Wait till we see his face."

We watch, and even before we see his face, we agree that there is something about the way this man walks that is not the way we somehow know Arthur Miller would walk. And the women are somehow not the women Arthur Miller would walk with in a Japanese garden.

"Let's just say it was," Viggo says, and by this I don't think for a moment he is suggesting that we should conspire to lie about it. Just that, with some willpower and a creative refusal to join the dots and draw a line we will no longer be able to cross, we can delay even this small disappointment and keep alive our moment in the park with Arthur Miller a little while longer.

The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine, 2004

Barefoot, carrying a coffee plunger of water and sporting a United Nations badge on his jacket, Hollywood star Viggo Mortensen wandered into his own press conference as though he were planning to sit on the back lawn.

A Barefoot Viggo Lords It Over The Fans
By James Gardiner
29 November 2003
Source: New Zealand Herald

Viggo Mortensen rolls his own cigarettes, totes his own teapot, does his own driving, opts for his own bedroll over hotels when travelling in New Zealand, performs his own stunts and cultivates his own casual take on fashion that precludes the wearing of shoes and socks.

But one thing the soft-spoken "Lord of the Rings" star won't do is beat his own drum.

By Hugh Hart
San Francisco Chronicle, 2003

'He'll show up at your door barefoot. It's real with him - it's not an affectation. He is very much of the earth. He's relaxed and in the moment and he brings real emotions to the table. He's very human with great artistic sensibilities.'

Dennis Hopper
Super Natural
by Anna David
Daily Telegraph 2002

'Viggo has no idea how attractive he is to women,' says friend Elijah Wood. 'He finds all the attention embarrassing. He is really not the celeb type, prancing around at fancy Hollywood premieres. Dear god - we're talking about a guy who runs around barefoot and speaks about spiritual art!'

Elijah Wood
Viggo: "I'm shy with women"
By - translated by Suzy
Vecko-Revyn #3
30 January 2003

'The "Blood Red" auditions at the Actors Studio were notable for one other reason: Viggo Mortensen came by every day—barefoot, with long, dirty blond hair—wanting to audition in the worst way for one of my Italian immigrants. His dirty feet and hair scared me just as much as his blue-eyed blondness wasn't right for the cast I was building. After days of just being rude to him, I finally threw him out of the studio and told him never to darken my casting door again. I have since apologized to him for my lack of artistic vision and behavior. It's the one truly bad casting mistake I ever made. He's such a talented actor; he could have played Italian or anything else he made up his mind to do. I often use him as an example of how one-pointed, dedicated, and willing to be rejected an actor has to be.'

Pamela Guess
July 2010

The executive producer insisted that the actor spent the entire day, "I think even the weekends, filthy and with his make up on, because he said that he had to feel as uncomfortable as the character in order to portray it correctly." The difference is that, when he wasn't shooting, due to doctor's advice, he would take off his boots and walk barefoot, "so in Seville he walked into a store and the owner, an old man who did not know who Mortensen was, gave him a pair of used canvas shoes."

"En España no hay suficientes actores jóvenes buenos para rodar 'Alatriste"
By L.M.-L. Alatriste conference in Murcia
El Faro de Murcia

Wandering around the gallery in bare feet sporting a Lord of the Rings shirt, Mortensen describes how one series of photographs on show were a bit of a fluke. Lost 1,2,3 and 4, he jokingly calls them, were taken when he was geographically challenged in the bush on the West Coast one night. The photographs were snapped so that the flash might give him light to get his bearings.

"I eventually had to lie down under a tree for a while till the moon came over me and I could figure out where I was."

Viggo Mortensen at the Massey exhibition, NZ.
Viggo Says Thanks in Pictures
by Bess Mason
Dominion Post, 2003

"He is so kind and playful and funny off set. He's almost like a hippie. We picked him up at the airport one time, and he wasn't wearing shoes. I still have no idea how he got through the airport barefoot."

Fran Walsh
On 'The Road' And Off, Viggo Mortensen Walks The Walk
By Scott Bowles
USA Today
3 December 2009

Barefoot and clad in a pair of sweats that have seen better days, Viggo Mortensen walks over to introduce himself. His hands and arms are covered with names and phone numbers he has scribbled on himself after checking his answering machine. And his hair is tousled and flecked with tiny bits of paint. None of this can hide Mortensen's deadly good looks.

Viggo Artist & Actor
By Jae-Ha Kim
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Los Angeles, CA 1 April 1999

Viggo Mortensen loves rituals. He never changes his habits, no matter where he goes. For example, he enters the villa in Deauville – made available by the French top jeweler Cartier – in bare feet, as if he is in his own living room.

In his right hand, he is holding a cup with his favorite beverage: maté – an herbal drink from Argentina, the country where he spent the majority of his childhood. He also remembered to bring a silver straw, the bombilla.

The actor explains why he always behaves the same way, no matter where he is in the world. "In this business you're travelling half the time. Sometimes I feel like a world traveller who doesn't know where he'll sleep the next day. I am exaggerating a little, but I do value my habits, so I can quickly feel at home. If I don't, it takes me too long to adapt to strange surroundings. That's very important for an actor. That way he can more quickly concentrate on his role."

Viggo Mortensen Goes To Bed With A Shotgun
By - translated by Airwin
Algemeen Dagblad
27 April 2009

'I'm not usually a suit person… You're lucky I'm wearing shoes!'

Viggo Q&A after accepting the Coolidge Award in Boston
Greendragon posting on TORn
6 March 2012

What some might see as LOTR affectation - such as rocking up to interviews barefoot - is actually the real deal. "No, I'm not doing a hobbit thing or a Peter Jackson thing," he told a reporter who queried his lack of footwear. "I'm doing a Viggo Mortensen thing."

The King and I
By Julie Hosking
Sunday Telegraph, 2003

We can only hope that there is room on the A-list for a shoeless poet looking for beauty in Hollywood's seedy patchwork, who is gamely making it up as he goes along.

Viggo Trip
by Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39, 2002

Quotable Viggo: 2 November 2014

This week I thought I'd take an overdue look at Two Faces of January with a roundup of the comments and anecdotes I've been collecting since last February. Along the way we find out where Viggo's influences for the character came from, how he nearly set fire to Kirsten Dunst and the fate of the beautiful cream linen suit which, according to critic, Leigh Singer, no one can 'rock' quite like him.

© StudioCanal.

After Viggo Mortensen committed to playing Chester MacFarland, Amini slightly tweaked his conception of the character. "Viggo looks heroic and there's an element of Gatsby in the character, which doesn't exist in the book so much," says the British-Iranian Amini. "I love that element of striking, handsome, charismatic men who are destined to be defeated somehow; Chester struck me as that sort of character, whereas in the book he is a little more wasted from the very beginning."

"The Two Faces of January" - Production Notes
February 2014

"Chester is kind of a slob, all sweaty and paranoid; he's crazy from the start, really."

Viggo Mortensen
Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Hossein Amini – The Two Faces of January
By Robyn Candyce
24 September 2014

How did you research to play Chester?

I was mainly interested in what kind of generation he was from. I spoke with my father's friends, men who came of age during the Great Depression and served in WWII, like Chester. And that informed how he'd wear his clothes, how he'd speak, his gestures and his attitude towards women. The one thing about these men that I found most interesting was that, even at their most downcast, their appearance was paramount. Every day, they ironed their shirts and smoothed their hair, no matter what.

Actor Viggo Mortensen
Vanessa Keys
Sunday Style Magazine
13 June 2014

"But there's another side, too. There was a certain intolerance of foreigners. And if you yourself had any kind of leanings or unusual interests — jazz, say — you could be a little suspect, too... It was interesting to look at all that, my father's generation, through a magnifying glass."

Viggo Mortensen on 'Two Faces of January,' LOTR and what his movies teach him
By Stephen Whitty
The Star-Ledger
21 September 2014

'...it's part of his con, the look, he wants to look like he came from money and all that. I don't think his origins are those clothes that you see.'

Viggo Mortensen on "Lord of the Rings" — and playing an American at last
By Andrew O'Hehir
24 September 2014

"I liked that suit because it's a great suit. It's an additional character in the story. It has its own transformation. By the time we get to the end of the movie the suit has its wrinkles, it's a little torn, a little soiled and it ends up in the dark and rain in Istanbul."

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

"[As an actor], you lie as well as you can, that's what you're paid to do. And in this case I'm lying about a guy who's lying about being this person who's lying about being another person. It's kind of like a hall of mirrors. Instead of looking in one mirror and trying to be that person as an actor, it's a whole series of mirrors. It's fun."

Viggo Mortensen
The many faces of Viggo Mortensen
By Karl Quinn
Sydney Morning Herald
5 June 2014

"Everybody's got their secrets; even the nicest, calmest nun has got the possibility to think strange things or have resentments. All these characters have their secret desires and resentments, and their own sense of morality. Chester's just an opportunist. No one's purely good or purely bad in this story."

Viggo Mortensen
"The Two Faces of January" - Production Notes
February 2014

'The people have these beautiful clothes and these idealized lives. You wish you could be them. And then it starts to descend rapidly. You go down this crazy wormhole. It gets darker as you descend. And by the end, you go from the sunny hilltop and this happy life to this sad life in the gutter, in the rain on some nameless street in Istanbul.'

Viggo Mortensen explains rooting for the bad guy in 'The Two Faces of January'
By Chris Lee
Entertainment Weekly
26 September 2014

...no matter how badly they behave you're on their side somehow. You don't want the cops to catch them."

Berlinale Press Conference
11 February 2014

"It was kind of fun to speak with an atrocious accent. He's speaking in a muddle of Greek and Italian; that was sort of a funny little touch."

Viggo Mortensen
The many faces of Viggo Mortensen
By Karl Quinn
Sydney Morning Herald
5 June 1014

That one shot when you focus on Viggo gripping the bed frame, was that inspired by Nicolas Winding Refn?

It wasn't really. That was something that Viggo did at the time. I found with the actors, with Oscar as well, the scene I have in the ferry when the two of them are staring at each other, I could see them working themselves up into moods and I'd always thought as a director you go in and tell them what you want. Sometimes I learned that it was best to stay away and see what they were going to try to do. That bedroom scene, things where he's squeezing the bed frame and also when he's ruffling the sheets and smelled his fingers, that was all really Viggo. We let the camera roll and watched him and then decided where to put the camera afterwards. There were days where it was much more discussion and whatever, but other days they're such great actors I think just watching what they come up with was really fascinating.

[I]Hossein Amini
The Two Faces of January: Hossein Amini on Adapting Patricia Highsmith
By Fred Topel
Crave Online
28 January 2014[/I]

Can you talk about that very fateful moment in the cave, or would you prefer not to spoil it.

KD: Well, Viggo had to illuminate that scene with a lighter, and he was holding it and he burnt me and he was wailing and being emotional, and I couldn't say anything. The light was out was out but it was still so hot. I think I still have a scar. I didn't want to mess with Viggo.

VM: Scarred her for life.

Kirsten Dunst & Viggo Mortensen Talk Bonding On Set, Paparazzi, & 'The Two Faces of January'
by Hillary Weston
Black Book
1 October 2014

"(Viggo's) such a goofball, that's what I was most excited about, he's very funny and just likes having a good time."

Oscar Isaac
London Premier Interview
Press Association
14 May 2014

"One of the first things we did, where it still had to be kind of neat and tidy, we were filming in a bus that travels around Crete," he said. "It was a vintage bus, a 1959 Mercedes bus, and the seats were red leather, beautiful seats. But it was so hot, and we were sweating so much that when I stood up, all the dye from the seats got on it, so I had this big red ass."

Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst Experienced the Downside of Wearing Vintage Costumes in The Two Faces of January
By Bennett Marcus
Vanity Fair
17 September 2014

Quotable Viggo: 25 October 2014

I loved David Oelhoffen's recent comment that it was 'difficult for things to go wrong when you work with Viggo Mortensen'. What a great professional compliment. We know that this is partly because once he's committed to a film he is totally dedicated to it, partly because he's a perfectionist and partly because he wants the best for everyone involved in the production. As Cronenberg so memorably said, when you get Viggo you don't just get a violin, you get a whole symphony orchestra. This is even more evident now that he is increasingly joining productions he believes in as Producer.

© One World Films.

'...it's difficult for things to go wrong when you work with Viggo Mortensen.'

David Oelhoffen
Q&A: Viggo Mortensen and David Oelhoffen on 'Loin Des Hommes'
By Roslyn Sulcas
New York Times
26 August 2014

"It takes me a long time to say yes to something. But once I do, I'm there."

Viggo talking about choosing his films
Adam Nayman
Globe and Mail
9 September 2014

'Viggo liked the story, and he saw we didn´t have enough structure to address it. He joined in because he backed it and believed it was worth it; for that, I will be eternally grateful. I think he is one of the best producers I've ever had in my entire film history.'

Lisandro Alonso, a well-known face at Cannes
by Pablo O. Scholz
17 April 2014

"Viggo is incredible. He has the triple role of actor, producer and musician and along with that, he was thinking about how to improve the film 24 hours a day. In addition he rigorously corrected every French, English and Danish subtitle."

Lisandro Alonso
The Lord of the Roles
By Pamela Biénzobas - translated by Ollie and Zoe

"He was incredibly gracious and generous — I hadn't directed anything," Amini says. "He said as long as it's done properly, as long as we shot in Greece, as long as there was a sufficient budget. He became almost like a partner, sort of a patron saint to the whole movie. That allowed me to go and get the financing."

Hossein Amini
New director turns to an old favorite, '2 Faces of January'
By Pam Grady
San Francisco Chronicle
1 October 2014

"...he phoned to make sure I was alright as soon as I'd arrived at my hotel, he walked to my hotel to meet me and took me out to dinner. He paid. He wouldn't let me pay. That's just an example of what a kind and gracious man he is. He made me feel very, very comfortable. I never felt like I had to prove that I can write or convince him to do it. We had an equal discussion of ideas."

Hossein Amini
Viggo Mortensen & Kirsten Dunst Open Up About New Movie, Paparazzi & Being Boring
By Dorri Olds
The Blot Magazine
26 September 2014

"It suddenly [went] from "this is too dark," "the characters are too unlikable and complicated,"- it was suddenly, "Well it's Viggo."'

Hossein Amini
Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Hossein Amini – The Two Faces of January
By Robyn Candyce
24 September 2014

"Any film he's in is a film I want to see. He's one of the greats. Getting to collaborate with him on Captain Fantastic is quite literally the best thing that's happened to me since my wife asked me to marry her."

Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen To Star In Electric City's 'Captain Fantastic'
By Mike Fleming Jnr
20 February 2014

"With the entry of Viggo, what wasn't viable became possible,"

Vanessa Ragone, producer, Todos Tenemos Un Plan
Local filmmakers use Hollywood stars as lure
By Charles Newbery
15 May 2011

"I kept working on [Ana Piterbarg] and said, "I want to be a producer. I've never done it before, but I want to do it." I wanted to make sure that whatever happened, her vision got to the screen. As a producer, I had a little more say, and I could say, "Well, let me see the script with subtitles and let me correct them."

Viggo Mortensen: Lay off the pope
By Andrew O'Hehir
20 March 2013

What's Viggo like to work with, honestly?

He's a little obsessed. He's a little bit of a perfectionist, but then so am I so that's ok!

Ana Piterbarg
Still Waters Run Deep
by Shelley Marsden
Film Juice
27 October 2012

'Without Viggo this wouldn't have been built up ever. Viggo could have done any film, especially after The Lord of the Rings. He fell in love with the project. He insisted on it and this could be done thanks to him.'

Arturo Pérez-Reverte talking about Alatriste
Mano a Mano
XL Semanal, 20 August 2006
Translation for V-W by Paddy

'We really trust each other's sensibility. I did talk to a director once who said, "You know this guy Viggo you worked with? I sent a script to him, and he sent me notes!" I said, "Yeah? Well, were they good notes?" He looked at me like I was crazy.'

David Cronenberg
'Dangerous Method' helmer talks working with Pattinson, Giamatti on 'Cosmopolis'
By Christy Grosz
13 December 2011

He's the kind of star directors dream about: professional, playful and eager to make a movie that doesn't wrap itself up in a neat pre-digested bow.

Viggo Mortensen on Everybody Has a Plan, Argentine Popes and His Beloved San Lorenzo
John Lopez
Huffington Post
21 March 2013

Quotable Viggo: 12 October 2014

With all the recent festivals, more movie critics have been commenting on Viggo's performances in Jauja and The Two Faces of January since I last highlighted them in June. Time for another round-up of reviews!

Image Guadalupe Gaona.
© 4L Productions.


...superb performance at the physical boundaries of acting.

Venniale Tribute publicity
August 2014

Anchored by a rumpled, naturalistic performance by the great Viggo Mortensen—who also produces, contributes guitar compositions to the score, and gets to speak in his native Danish—Jauja is a beguiling little head-scratcher.

Angelo Muredda
5 September 2014

"Jauja" will not appeal to everyone. But those willing to play by Alonso's rules will be treated to a gripping introverted turn from Viggo Mortensen and some truly fantastical imagery.

By David Salazar
Latin Post
27 September 2014

At the beginning... there is something intriguing enough in this story of a Danish military engineer pursuing his love-struck fifteen-year-old daughter, running away across Patagonia in the 19th century, while in the background a genocide of indigenous people is going on. Especially when the possessive and vengeful father has the unyielding face of Viggo Mortensen, as mysterious here as the Sphinx.

Jauja: Viggo Mortensen Lost in Patagonia
By Eric Vernay - translated by Donna Marie
Premiere (France)
19 May 2014

Sweating in layers of bulky long johns, and sporting a droopy, weeping mustache, Mortensen carries the film, his human grumbling and surprised, rageful violence conveying the sense of a nervous, basically average man caught on a journey into his own heart of darkness. Increasingly, as the other characters drop away, Mortensen has nothing to play against but nature and himself.

Mark Asch
Brooklyn Magazine
7 October 2014

The intensity of Mortensen's performance stands in sharp contrast to the non-professional actors Alonso previously cast as leads. Alonso's earlier protagonists spoke as little as possible and largely existed on screen as unknowable, primal mysteries, but Mortensen gets to shade in his part...
...Despite the lack of vanity in Mortensen's résumé, it's still surprising to see him in a mostly silent performance roaming the Argentinian wilderness, and it's equally fascinating to see how the pressures of this low-budget, minimally crewed shoot in remote locations gradually manifest in the actor's increasingly fraught performance.

Jake Cole
20 September 2014

Two Faces of January

If it's almost impossible to feel sympathy or compassion for Chester, who does unforgivable things, Mortensen accomplishes the difficult task of compelling you to respect him, even in failure and defeat.

Viggo Mortensen on "Lord of the Rings" — and playing an American at last
By Andrew O'Hehir
24 September 2014

Mortensen has always seemed to be an underutilized chameleon in film despite acclaimed and recognized performances in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and Eastern Promises. As Chester, he lavishes in a new type of slimy demeanor that stands out as one of the actors most dynamic. He enjoys the aura and demeanor of Chester, unrelenting and unwilling to compromise on an escape but driven by jealousy and rage, Mortensen displays some of his most authentic and creative ticks.

Clayton Davis
Awards Circuit
29 August 2014

Mortensen's elegant-until-cornered Chester is a layered character with quite a moral range, from nefarious swindler to a man able to make a grand redemptive gesture. He cuts an ugly but human figure vis-a-vis Rydal's petty con man. But as Chester points out, it's only a matter of time before the younger man turns into him.

Deborah Young
Courier Post
3 October 2014

Viggo Mortensen is excellent playing a drunk who's spinning out of control, and it's unlike anything I've seen him do before.

Neil Rosen
NY1 Movie
4 September 2014

Mortensen flexing his knuckles and jaw in ways that insinuate the ruthless steeliness beneath the pressed-suit sophistication...

Mike McCahill
Movie Mail
25 July 2014

Mortensen can transition from rakish to villainous with the slightest facial expression...

Stephanie Merry
Washington Post
3 October 2014

Quotable Viggo: 4 October 2014

You may have noticed (how could you not!) that we have had Viggo the Swordsman every day this week as our 'Good Day Viggodom' offering. I do like a bit of swash-and-buckle so I have been teasing you in readiness for a whole quotable of swordplay from The Lord of the Rings and Alatriste and, of course, from that true King of Swords, the great Bob Anderson.

© Estudios Picasso / Origen Producciones.


It is the return to the big screen of the king of swords...

The Soul of Viggo (El Alama de Viggo)
By Miguel Juan Payan, Accion magazine, April 2005
translated by Chrissie

In the darkness, Alatriste's sword glows like Luke Skywalker's lightsabre. By day, his steel blade would be the envy of The Three Musketeers.

Alatriste: The Great Spanish Hero
By Carlos Maranon - translated by Margarita
September 2006

What was the physical training like for this role?

I worked not only for the swords, including the "vizcaína", but also to get used to the character. I went to the sword fighting rehearsals with those boots, the hat, the cape, to get used to handling the cape, to swirl it around, just like the "gauchos", that's where it comes from.

Viggo Mortensen ZonaCinemania Alatriste Interview
By - transcribed/translated by Graciela
29 March 2007

I remember a practice session with Bob [Anderson] which was attended by several highly experienced fencers who were my opponents, including one who was internationally ranked. This man was attacking me with some ferocity when Bob suddenly halted the practice. He asked him to come closer, that he wanted to ask him something. Bob wasn't feeling well at that time; he had a lot of problems with his health, and was seated in a chair. He wasn't able to fight with us to show us how he wanted to put the sequences together. He remained seated, watching the practice, occasionally giving us instructions with absolute calmness and authority. He didn't miss a single detail. He asked the fencer if he felt comfortable. He said yes. Bob asked him if he wouldn't feel a little more comfortable if he slightly changed the way he held the sword, a matter of a centimeter. The swordsman said it wasn't necessary, that he'd done it that way for many years, and quite successfully. So Bob grabbed a sword that he had on the table beside him and asked the guy to put himself en garde. "Are you ready, sir?" asked the master fencer. "Yes, always," said the swordsman with a small smile, probably thinking that Bob was joking. "Are you really ready?" "Yes, sir." With a light but very quick movement of his wrist, Bob struck the man's sword, and it flew some 10 meters. The swordsman stood there amazed and a little upset. We were very still, amazed..

Warrior Geniuses Sought For 2012
By Viggo Mortensen - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro
17 January 2012

'Enrico Lo Verso was there, a great discovery for this film, a tall guy who plays the baddie, and Unax Ugalde and Viggo. They were rehearsing and I saw it: they were sweating like pigs, he insulted them and beat them with a stick..."You're a sissy, this isn't done like that! You would have been killed already, you son of a bitch! Come on, do it again!!, Do you want to kill?. You can't kill s**t!!. You're a mug!!' Do not expect "ornate postures" in the duel scenes, because you're looking for the right moment to move in (for the kill), because if you make your move too early you'll lose. That's what Bob Anderson transmitted to the actors, that's how it was done in the Golden Century.'

Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Talk About Alatriste at the Alatriste y su mundo exposition
By Luthien 66 (transcription) - translation by Paddy
4 April 2006

The Lord of the Rings

... Mortensen... has already entered into cinematic folklore as one of the great screen swordsmen of our time.

The Reluctant Hero,
by Douglas Andrews
Sunday Express 2002

Well the first day I met the fight choreographer, Bob Anderson, who's been around a long time - he taught Errol Flynn to fence and represented the UK at the Olympics. I went into this room and there were all these stunt people standing there and screaming and yelling. He had them all pumped-up and he stood me in front of them and said "Okay, go!" And they all started running at me, and I was like, "Holy shit!" He said "stop" and they all stopped. Then he told me: "This is what you're going to be dealing with so let's get to work..." He gave me a sword and it was just, like, crazy for two days. The first thing I did on camera was swordplay and I liked it. It was fun.

The Ranger - Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
by Martyn Palmer
Total Film magazine

Mortensen's facility with the sword became immediately apparent. "The people who were teaching him said that he was insanely talented," says Miranda Otto, who plays the Lady Eowyn, who falls for Aragorn. "There's one scene [at the end of] the first film where a knife is thrown at Aragorn, who clocks it with his sword. One of the stunt guys who was meant to be his double said, 'I've been practicing that and I've never been able to [hit the knife] once, and Viggo hits it on the first take. I hate him.'"

Miranda Otto
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

Bob Anderson once called Mortensen as good a fencing student as he'd ever instructed.

A History Of Defiance
By Daniel Mirth
Men's Journal
October 2009

'...I had to get a sense of not only what it was like to fight, but also to walk around with a sword around your belt. Just getting the physical baby steps of the character helped.'

Lord of the Horse
By Anne and Lynne Huddleston
Manawatu Evening Standard
8 December 2003

"It was very important to me to make everything as believable as possible. That's why, even when I was exhausted, I always fought with the [heavy] steel sword rather than the lighter one," he explains. "I wanted to make sure the fight scenes were realistic. I shouldn't be able to just throw my sword around like Errol Flynn did, especially when I'm really tired. It should be hard to fight with it! Even when I was just walking around, I'd still wear the steel sword because it was heavier and it affected the way I moved."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen
by Desmond Sampson,
Pavement #62, 2003

Mortensen... has already entered into cinematic folklore as one of the great screen swordsmen of our time.

The Reluctant Hero,
by Douglas Andrews
Sunday Express 2002

'I was given the ranger sword, not the re-forged sword, but the one that I used on my first day of shooting in October of "99 that was really well worn and that I kind of took care of and used throughout.'

Viggo Mortensen on his end of filming gift
Journey's End
By Patrick Lee
Science Fiction Weekly #348
December 2003

One day he suggests we go to a beautiful place he knows, Huntington Botanical Gardens, in Pasadena. He picks me up in his hybrid, clearing a scattering of CDs and a small ornamental dagger of Henry's from the passenger seat. Only later, when we park, do I notice the full-size fencing sabre across the shelf by the back window.

The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine
April 2004

Do you prefer fighting with a pistol or a sword?

"I'm not such a big fan of fighting, I prefer to try to work things out."

Two-Minute Interview
By Anwar Brett
Ultimate DVD magazine, 2004

Storytellers and stories change, but the opportunity to do well or ill by others and ourselves will always be present. The right to choose how we coexist is ours unless we willingly surrender it. There can be no quick fix, no easy or permanent answer to the troubles of today or tomorrow. A sword is a sword, nothing more. Hope, compassion and wisdom born of experience are, for Middle-earth as for our world, the mightiest weapons at hand.

Viggo Mortensen
Introduction to The Two Towers Visual Companion

Quotable Viggo: 27 September 2014

With all the recent Festivals I think it's time for a Quotable on Loin Des Hommes (Far from Men), and a round-up of some of the comments and reviews that have been coming out since August. Reading back over them all one thing is very clear and that's how this is so much a 'Viggo' film with its wide landscapes, inward and outward journeys and the bringing together of two very different people who have to learn to adapt and live together.

Image Michael Crotto.
© One World Films

'I had dreamed of bringing Viggo Mortensen on board; his singularity made him the perfect fit for the role.'

Director David Oelhoffen
21 August 2014

Q. Was the Camus story a strong influence on how you conceived of your character?

A. Both David and I referenced the story as much as possible. I have always admired Camus and thought he didn't get a fair deal from the left in France. History has proven him right; he spoke truth to power and paid a heavy price for it. He thought people should find a way to live together, whatever their differences of skin color or language. I think the character in the story in many ways represents who Camus might have become if he had stayed in Algeria.

Q&A: Viggo Mortensen and David Oelhoffen on 'Loin Des Hommes'
By Roslyn Silcas
New York Times
26 August 2014

"I think Camus would have been Daru -- his point of view in terms of violence, and his moral stance in this story, dealing with each situation in turn, and not having a blanket rule -- this is who I am, this is my point of view -- I deal with each person, each situation, and I don't always have an answer but I try to be honest with myself -- all of that is very much Camus."

Viggo Mortensen
TIFF Q&A – transcribed by Topaz
14 September 2014

How long did it take you to master the French and Arabic?

I think I worked a lot. I worked for months and in Spain, where I live, I found someone who was from North Africa, and he helped me a lot. I looked at the whole script, and I made sure I could say it all in Arabic and made sure it was Arabic from that region.

Venice: Viggo Mortensen Talks Mastering New Languages
by Ariston Anderson
Hollywood Reporter
2 September 2014

"In a way, it ended up being more of a job to work on my French for the film, and change my accent, which was a bit Québécois. Before filming, I mostly worked on the Arabic because I had to learn that from scratch. I learned the basics before we started and we had an Algerian teacher who worked with both Reda and me on the set. There are differences between Algerian Arabic and other strands, so we had to be careful and accurate about that. I actually spoke a lot more Arabic in the film originally, but we cut quite a lot of crowd scenes to focus on the isolation and the two men."

Viggo Mortensen
Q&A: Viggo Mortensen and David Oelhoffen on 'Loin Des Hommes'
By Roslyn Silcas
New York Times
26 August 2014

'Sometimes I asked people I met on the street or in the cafes about things that could help me to finish building the character in the film we are soon going to shoot in the Atlas mountains. Specific things about phrases or historical references in our script - trying out my very limited Arabic vocabulary, mixed with the French that I'm refining for the shoot - but in general just seeking out human contact, to go along touching, even if it was only ephemeral brushing against, the history of the many cultures that have passed through this city. The character that I'm going to play grew up here and I want to imagine his childhood and adolescence as best I can. I've always liked research like this, letting places, the weather, people and my own physical condition inform the adventure.'

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

"...the landscape pushed us together, and we're really small... I like that David chose to do several shots where we're so small, that you really have to look, even on a big screen -- we're that tiny -- when we're leaving the school..."

Viggo Mortensen
TIFF Q&A – transcribed by Topaz
14 September 2014

"It's a story that shows that people can overcome prejudices they didn't even know they had. Both men have to make an effort to understand something that they thought they knew and in the end they are more alike than different."

Viggo Mortensen
Q&A: Viggo Mortensen and David Oelhoffen on 'Loin Des Hommes'
By Roslyn Sulcas
New York Times
26 August 2014

"The title applies to Daru at the beginning, to the way he lives, keeping away from people as a way to protect himself... but the story catches up with all of us. At the end of the film the title no longer applies to Daru, because he comes back to where people are, but rather to Mohammed, who goes into the unknown into the wilderness."

Viggo Mortensen
TIFF Q&A – transcribed by Topaz
14 September 2014

...from the first scenes of Viggo Mortensen, playing a teacher running a school and teaching local kids to read and write in 1954, you realize that he packs all the qualities of the archetypal strong and silent man as he has been constructed in the mythology of classic American westerns.

2 September 2014

Daru's war veteran turned pacifist has something of Henry Fonda's nobleness and Mortensen is one of the few actors working today (Mads Mikkelsen is another) who can make straightforward goodness into a rich and interesting character

John Bleasdale
Cine Vue
1 September 2014

...this is Mortensen's film. As with Lisandro Alonso's exquisite Jauja, which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival back in May, Far from Men finds Mortensen inhabiting the kind of enigmatic, erudite character you wouldn't hesitate to follow under similar circumstances. In many ways it's one of his less conspicuous, more lived-in roles, although he is given the chance to add a couple of strings to his multilingual bow, confidently switching between Arabic and French.

Adam Woodward
Little White Lies
1 September 2014

Mortensen is eminently watchable as the craggy-faced Daru (it's a face that paints a thousand unknown memories)...

1 September 2014

The warm candle light extending rapid strokes of red and orange in the dark, as in a painting by Georges de La Tour, outlining Daru´s (Viggo Mortensen) chiselled and beautiful profile and that of his young and unpleasant (at least initially) guest Mohamed (Reda Kateb).

Alessia Pelonzi
Bad Taste – translated by Ollie
30 August 2014

'...it's difficult for things to go wrong when you work with Viggo Mortensen.'

David Oelhoffen
Q&A: Viggo Mortensen and David Oelhoffen on 'Loin Des Hommes'
By Roslyn Sulcas
New York Times
26 August 2014

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Last edited: 3 January 2015 13:11:06