Creating a role in a film is a two way thing - overseeing your work as an actor is a Director, and everything you do is in his or her hands. Will they let you be spontaneous and go off script? Will they see those small moments and - more importantly - make sure the camera catches them? Will they provide a safe and stimulating environment in which you can take risks? Will it be your character on screen at the end, or their take on it? While so much can go wrong, in some cases everything can be very right.
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Are you a disciplined actor, one of those that just obeys the director or are you one of those that asks many questions, constantly needing notes from the director?
Of the second kind... Any time of the day or night. I fry the director.
A Multi-talented Hero
Dominical, by J. A. - translated for V-W by NacidaLibre
27 August 2006
You supply the blue and they supply the other colours and mix them with your blue. And maybe there's some blue left in the painting and maybe there isn't. Maybe there wasn't supposed to be any there in the first place. So have some fun and make a good blue, and walk away. I try to do that. Sometimes I succeed.
Viggo Mortensen on acting
St. Lawrence University
1 March 2003
Are you in the cutting room with your directors?
No. It interests me and I have learned a lot watching how what is done is portrayed on the screen; what remains of yourself, what doesn't. It's quite common that they spoil things, it's sad but true; there's a lack of talent, vision. But I don't get involved.
Viggo Mortensen: "I put the alfajores aside"
By Pablo O Scholz - translated by Ollie, Sage and Zooey
21 May 2010
Some directors will encourage actors to go wherever their whims take them; others, Hitchcock perhaps most famously, are more concerned with capturing a specific look than with "motivation" or "spontaneity."
"I've worked with those type of directors," Mortensen says, not naming names. "I try to be sympathetic toward them, but it's not a very effective way to do things. It shows a lack of courage and imagination, in my opinion. Even if Hitchcock is very smart, he would have made better movies if he would've allowed his actors a little more freedom. Who knows? They wouldn't be the movies that they are."
By Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out Chicago
13 November 2009
"I am not a fan of directors who use scenes that depict violence to show off their camera moves and display their callous immaturity. I find their work unrealistic and generally a waste of time and talent."
A History of Defiance
"That man will never sell out," he enthuses, "because his vision is unique."
Viggo on Philip Ridley
Viggo Mortensen: A Method Actor in Middle-Earth
by Ryan Gilbey
What memories do you have of working with Jane Campion, on Portrait of a Lady? Was that special?
- Oh, yes! How I loved working with her! Her way of rehearsing, of discussing before shooting ... At the same time, she demands much more than you think you can give. I've rarely met anyone as demanding, but it's something an actor appreciates.
Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
"I enjoy working with iconoclasts, like Gus van Sant. He is an iconoclast, as is David Cronenberg."
My painful decision to fight in the nude
By Will Lawrence, Daily Telegraph
19 October 2007
"...as always, with any job I do, the other director is my own conscience. I felt a connection, as well as a responsibility, toward a lot of Tolkien's source material, particularly Nordic sagas and Scandinavian literature..."
Viggo talking about LotR
Holding Court with the King: Viggo Mortensen heralds the return of the renaissance man
By Gregory Weinkauf
East Bay Express
3 December 2003
"The kind of directors I like to work with most are people like David Cronenberg who are always meticulously prepared, but he also sees what happens. If something odd happens [in a scene] another director would say 'cut', but he lets it roll and lets it happen.
"There's a magic involved in making movies in a way. The lights are lit. The table is set. There's a ceremonial aspect to it."
Viggo: I Got Lucky
19 February 2008
"A lot of the information you get about the way a character is thinking and feeling is very subtle," Mr. Mortensen says. "It's a look or a hesitation before saying something or a blink or not looking at someone. You need a director who loves those details and pays attention to them as he's shooting and during editing. Otherwise characters played that way seem very flat and one-dimensional. With David, you know you're in good hands so you feel safe to play big or small."
Behind the banter, 'Eastern Promises' actor and director offer serious insights
By Chris Vognar, Dallas News
12 Sept 2007
What similarities are there between the directing styles of David Cronenberg and Agustín Díaz Yanes?
It doesn't tend to normally happen, but both directors take advantage of what an actor can give. If those things are lost, they don't reach the audience. That's to say, the director is responsible for the final result of a movie. Many times actors are blamed for bad quality movies, but in a lot of cases it's because of the director who wasn't intelligent enough to value the subtleties of a character.
"I'm not going to do anything to distance myself from Aragorn"
By Gema Eizaguirre - translated by Margarita
31 October 2005
Did you work close to the script or was there room for personal contribution?
There was enough for everyone. I see that Tano (Díaz Yanes) has a way of directing similar to that of David Cronenberg, another director I like a lot. The truth is that they are both good for me and I think for the other actors too.
Alatriste Carries A Load: Three Million Readers
By Oscar Ranzani - translated by Remolina, Ollie, Rio, Sage and Zooey
Pagina 12 (Argentina)
31 March 2007
'When you are used to filming in the U.S., the way things are done in Spain may feel like a great chaos, because there is a more relaxed atmosphere. But you soon realize that it is something that has to do with the culture, and I loved it! In the long run, this style makes you feel more relaxed, and it creates a unique way of working together and of camaraderie. Tano (Díaz Yanes) encourages team work, makes you feel at peace, and he lets you make suggestions about your own view and approach to the character...'
Top Men - Viggo Mortensen
By - translated by Graciela
"I feel safe bringing things to David that weren't on the page, because he knows it's good for the movie to make people feel safe and like they are truly collaborators."
Cronenberg chuckled. "Yes, essentially I am very lazy, and I only hire people who will do all the work for me."
"And then he can take credit for it," Mortensen said, deadpan.
Mortensen, director discuss their noirish
By Dixie Reid, Sacramento Bee,
12 September 2007
Are there any directors you are dying to work with?
There's not very many. But if there was someone who has passed away, I would say Carl Dreyer: a great Danish director, directed movies like The Passion of Joan of Arc, Gertrud
and Day of Wrath
Identity And Process: An Interview With Viggo Mortensen
By Greg Kaczynski
26 December 2007
"I'm a big fan of Dreyer's work. There are very few directors that I would say I like everything he's done - he's definitely at the top of the list. He was so ahead of his time in a way and he was so subtle in a lot of ways. He broke rules in obvious and not so obvious ways and he had such a searing realism to his work."
What's In Your DVD Player, Viggo Mortensen?
By Sean Axmaker
26 September 2007