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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Nikolai had a horrible feeling that he'd been given a false address for
the Staff Christmas Dinner and everyone else was at Nando's.

It's Christmas time and what better seasonal subject than home cooked food and lots and lots of chocolate? In fact when it comes to the chocolate, Viggo definitely has a bit of the Santa Claus about him...

I managed to catch some nice trout in the states of Washington and New Mexico, where the movie was shot. Only kept one, a badly hooked brown trout taken from the Chama, in Northern New Mexico. Had my fishing license, by the way, which I recommend to all anglers, be they beginners or veterans, fishing on public or private land. I ate the trout, fried with some onions and apple slices. Delicious. Thank you, Universe.

Viggo-Works Christmas Interview With Viggo
By Viggo-Works and Viggo Mortensen
14 December 2014

This myth of the poor lonesome cowboy, the guy who has no need of others to be happy, is it really a trick to attract women?

On the contrary! Each time I have tried to charm them with my poetic cowboy side, it's ended in total failure. To seduce a woman, food is more effective than poetry. I love to make complex dishes. That always works!

Viggo Mortensen
Grazia Magazine
Translated by Chrissiejane
December 2009

When we speak, Mortensen is in the kitchen of his home in Venice, California, drinking strong, green Argentinean maté tea, brewed from twigs, and cooking himself dinner (Korean dumplings).

Hot Actor - Viggo Mortensen
By G. E.
Rolling Stone
September 2003

"My kitchen is my studio. I don't have a real working studio. But it's nice to paint in the kitchen: while the canvas dries, I can take a break and eat something. I like cooking, especially for my son. I'm not sure that you'd like my cooking. It's not at all conventional ..."

Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002

"I like to live dangerously. Last night I was quietly at home, cooking a meal of chicken, onions and garlic, Cuban style, and then here I am today facing a pack of journalists."

Viggo Mortensen Talks About "Jauja" and "Far from Men"
By Martin Dale
7 December 2014

...when it came his turn to enjoy an executive producer's morale-buffing dinner invitation for cast members, the producer, Mark Ordesky, never got a chance to reach for his wallet.

"When I called Viggo, he said, 'Pick me up at 8,' " New Line Cinema's Ordesky recalls. "I get there and he cooks. He's a Renaissance man. He paints, he acts, he writes poetry, you could bounce a quarter off of him and he cooks the way our mothers cook -- from scratch."

Valiant Effort: A Late Substitution, Viggo Mortensen Dived into Rings.
By Irene Lacher
LA Times
21 December 2002

"I love to cook," he admits. "When we did Lord of the Rings, I'd help cook these big Thanksgiving feasts on the set."

The Renaissance Man adds, "I do all the trimmings plus even make pies."

Viggo Starring In Different Sort Of Psychological Thriller
By Cindy Pearlman
Chicago Sun-Times
8 December 2011

…he stashes chocolate on his person like a marsupial…

A History of Defiance
Daniel Mirth
Men's Journal
October 2009

"He's an unbelievable man. He brings chocolates to the set, expensive haute cuisine chocolates, and he hands it out in plastic bags."

Jason Isaacs
Jason Isaacs Loved Working With Chocolate Man Mortensen
1 March 2012

He… presents me with two large chocolate squares, one wrapped in pink paper that has a handwritten "Venezuela" on it, and another in orange paper that has a handwritten "Indonesia".

I am not sure whether he handwrapped them himself or whether they came from a hand-wrapped chocolate shop. I imagine him travelling the world with a suitcase of wrapped chocolates.

Sympathy for the devil
By Chrissy Iley
The Observer
19 April 2009

He gave presents every day.....An example of what Viggo Mortensen's participation in this Spanish project has been like is explained by Unax Ugalde: "When he knew about my big childhood fondness for Sugus sweets, one day I found on the floor of my dressing room the shape of my name all made out with sugus."

Unax Ugalde
The Court of Alatriste
By Rocío García, El País Semanal, 6 August 2006
Translated for V-W by Paddy

There was only one thing that I was irritated with: he was on a diet of chocolate, really dark chocolate and red meat. That's it. He brought all of these great chocolates from everywhere in the world and shared them with the crew. I'm still addicted to dark chocolate. I can't get away from it."

Hitting 'The Road' with Director John Hillcoat
Matt Mazur
22 November 2009

...there was never a day that he wasn't plying us with dark chocolate. It was ridiculous. Bags full. Bags full! Bacon–covered truffles. Where was he getting it? He was the chocolate crack dealer."

Renée Zellweger
The Great Dane
Men's Vogue
By Phoebe Eaton
March 2008

A few days later, as evening fell, he returned to Valdeteja bringing with him an enormous bag of goodies for the town's kids who by now know that Viggo never arrives empty-handed. There, in Anabel's bar, he resembled Jesus among the children. Scores of kids cavorted around him, watching eagerly as Viggo pulled out shirts from his bag, then candies, chocolates and caramels that he distributed like Santa Claus to each child, all under the astonished and pleased gazes of the customers who by now consider the 'American friend' as one of their own.

Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
Diario de León
20 August 2006
Translated for V-W by Margarita

Name six historical figures you would like to invite to a dinner party.

Again, far too many to choose from, but I can give you the first ones that come to mind at this moment: Albert Camus, Minerva Chapman, Buffalo Bill Cody, Karen Blixen, Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman, Clara Barton, Bertrand Russell, Alfredo Alcón, Padre Lorenzo Massa, Rosa Luxemburg, Noam Chomsky, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Alfonsina Storni, Rolf Krake, Ada Falcón, William Shakespeare, Wangari Maathai, Crazy Horse, Hannah Arendt, Gautama Buddah, Hypatia, Heidegger, Schopenhauer, Santa Teresa de Avila, Oscar Wilde, the Prophet Muhammad, Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Jorge Luis Borges, R. M. Rilke, Marguerite Duras, Leonardo da Vinci, Jesus Christ, Carl T. Dreyer, Maria Falconetti, Stefan Schweig, Sigmund Freud, Ludvig Holberg, Mohandas Gandhi, Howard Zinn, Saxo Grammaticus, Artemisia Genitleschi, Leo Messi and Allan Simonsen seated together... that's probably enough for a long table.

And what would you cook for them?

I would make a giant salad from my own garden, provide good home-baked bread, and, to be safe and not offend anyone, a big rice dish with options of meat and vegetarian, with lots of hand-picked forest mushrooms in both. Also oven-baked potatoes, carrots, garlic, turnips, onions. For those interested, I'd provide fresh-caught wild rainbow trout and salmon, grilled with a bit of lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blackberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, blueberries, huckleberries, apples, plums, wild grapes, and whatever else I could find in my ideal orchards and surrounding forest. Lots of good water from a spring, and plenty of red and white wine from Spain, Argentina, Italy, France, and New Zealand.

Viggo-Works 10th Anniversary Interview With Viggo
By Viggo-Works and Viggo Mortensen
30 May 2014

You will find all previous Quotables here.

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Viggo-Works Exclusive Christmas 2014 Interview with Viggo

The Christmas Interview

It's the holiday season and what better way to celebrate than to have Viggo answer a few questions from us here at Viggo-Works.
This is another wide ranging interview covering multiple topics with some eye opening responses from Viggo.
So ... enjoy this holiday gift a little early. This was one package that we simply could not wait until Christmas to open.

Hope you enjoy the conversation!

There is a saying that goes "never work with children or animals" but you've done both, and on more than one occasion. In Captain Fantastic you are taking on the role of a father with six children (and possibly some animals to look after) – how did you prepare for the character of Ben Cash? And what props have you brought to the set?

-Some aspects of this story I was well-prpeared to deal with, thanks to my particular life experiences and affinities. For example: living in a forest in the northwest of the continental U.S.A. land mass, knowing something about the local flora and fauna and caring about them. Knowing how to prepare and care for a vegetable garden, fish, hunt, having an appreciation for philosophy, poetry, science, intellectual discussion. Having had the experience of being a father raising a child on my own, being interested in the mental, physical, and psychological evolution of children. All of these pre-existing interests helped me prepare to work with Matt Ross and his team.

© Getty

After living in a city for several years how good are your bush craft skills these days?

-I believe I'm still fairly good at gardening, and at being in the woods, finding my way, loving the night and day and the winter and summer of it. Was a little rusty at identifying certain woodland plants, but that, too, came back to me. Although it was not part of the movie story, I managed to catch some nice trout in the states of Washington and New Mexico, where the movie was shot. Only kept one, a badly hooked brown trout taken from the Chama, in Northern New Mexico. Had my fishing license, by the way, which I recommend to all anglers, be they beginners or veterans, fishing on public or private land. I ate the trout, fried with some onions and apple slices. Delicious. Thank you, Universe.

In a recent interview David Cronenberg revealed that there will not be a sequel to Eastern Promises because you were unhappy with Nikolai's destiny in Steven Knight's script. You've clearly thought about where Nikolai was heading when the cameras left him sat at that table – please could you share your vision of Nikolai's future?

-I'd rather not say. Everyday we are new, and the challenges that we face are new. I do not know where 'Nikolai' should go, where he may want to go. These choices are very subjective, of course, but I simply was not sure that he ought to go where it seemed to me the sequel wanted to send him. Perhaps, too - and this had nothing to do with Cronenberg or Knight - I was happy to leave the fate of 'Nikolai' to the audience unless a really interesting continuation of his journey was proposed. As I say, these things are very subjective. I may have been mistaken in not jumping in and joining in the effort to set up a sequel. Who knows?


You have commented on how the script for The Two Faces of January is better than the book. Is there anything in the book that was omitted but you wish it could have been incorporated into the movie? And what are your views on Chester's demise in the book?

-As regards the character I played in "The Two Faces of January", there is nothing of value missing from the book, in my opinion. "Chester' is somewhat predictable in the book, and, by and large, pathetic. In Hoss' version he is pathetic, tragic, seductive, threatening, vulgar, noble, tormented, amusing, and enigmatic. That's what a gifted screenplay writer and movie story-teller can do for an audience, and for an actor.

You own the North American rights to Jauja - if you are unable to find a distributor who is interested in releasing it on DVD will you consider releasing it yourself through Perceval Press?

-Fortunately, Cinema Guild, a company with a great catalogue of ground-breaking international movies, has bought the rights to the USA. I hope that we at Perceval Pictures get lucky in Canada as well.

What is the slow song heard on the soundtrack of the Jauja movie? Is it a traditional song or did you compose it?

-Both tracks are from the album PLEASE TOMORROW, which is made up of recordings of compositions that came to me some ten years ago, made in happy collaboration with one of the world's greatest living guitar artists, Buckethead.

Lisandro Alonso has suggested you write a script for him based on an idea that you have discussed. Is script writing (for others) something that you are likely to consider in the future?

-I have not thought to write for others, to be honest. I have written a couple of screenplays, thinking I might make movies from them some day.

Crowd-sourcing is now a popular way of getting funding for projects. What are your opinions on sites like Kickstarter and would you consider using them yourself for Perceval Pictures projects?

-Not at this point. Things change, though. Who knows.


You have embodied some characters that have strong cross-cultural resonance. What do you think are the important life lessons you have absorbed from playing Frank Hopkins, Alatriste, Tom Stall, The Man and Sigmund Freud?

-We all suffer, and we will all, most likely, die one day, but we all have the potential to laugh at life, to enjoy it. Learn from it. Redemption will not necessarily result from an effort to share and rejoice in any sort of shared existence, but it is certainly more fun along the way. As far as cross-cultural aspects of characters go, this past year or two, with 'Ben Cash', 'Gunnar Dinesen', and 'Daru' (from, respectively, "Captain Fantastic, "Jauja", and "Loin des hommes"), I have been all over the map mentally and physically. Saying so is, I suppose, a sort of cliché, but these experiences have reinforced my pre-existing opinion that people are more alike than different, that it is easier to get along with than to fight the "Other".

Is there any character you would feel uncomfortable playing in a movie (and would probably turn down if you were offered a script)?


Is there any public figure from the past or present that you would like to play?

-Not necessarily. If pressed to think about it, I suppose I could name a person, but I would rather keep that to myself in case i get a good idea for a movie or a poem from thinking about that person.

You will be returning to the stage in Barcelona as part of the "Solos" series – do you already have a good idea of what you will be performing during your hour?

-I will read poems. A friend who is a gifted pianist, Raffel Plana, will most likely play that night as well, perhaps even some pieces I've recorded previously.

How do you feel about the use of photoshop technology to edit and manipulate images? Do you think it is still "art"?

-It is a matter of degree, like digital "fixes" and enhancements in movies. You have a shotgun, say, and limitless ammunition. How many ducks do you need to shoot, how many can you eat in one sitting?

©Nigel Parry

Do you ever purchase work by other artists? If so, what was the last artwork you purchased and why?

-Occasionally. There is so much clutter in my life, there are so many things I have collected over the years, that I can only find room for so many to be hung on the wall or displayed on a shelf. The rest is stored or given away. The last artistic objects I purchased were paintings by Minerva Chapman. I hope to one day present an exhibition of her paintings and drawings in order to help create greater awareness of her accomplishments as an artist.

If you could live in any painting which would it be and why?

-Very good question. So many possible choices. I would be happy, I believe, in any number of Georg Gu∂ni paintings.

What five songs do you regard as being the soundtrack to your life?

-Can't narrow it down that much. Also, further complicating any reasonable answer I might give, is the fact that the soundtrack, like the life and its inspirations, changes all the time.

Have you ever considered writing a novel?

-Yes, but I decided that I would rather make short stories and poems.

Is there any city or country that you haven't been to but you would like to visit someday?

-New Delhi, Ankara, Yerevan, Abidjan, Tripoli, Tbilisi, Nairobi, Kathmandu, Jerusalem, Islamabad, Baghdad, just to name a few capitals of the world. I'd like to get to know the north of Siberia and to sail across the pacific Ocean. Swim in every sea, climb every mountain, know every tree. I know that is impossible, of course.

©Jeff Vespa

In a recent Sobrevuelos column you mentioned Hokkaido – what was special about your experience there?

-Was it Hokkaido or Hiroshima? In any case, now I am thinking about Hiroshima. Its river, the bay, the mountains beyond, the sky that is no longer the sky that the atomic bomb fell from almost seventy years ago, the way that people continue to live their lives there. I also think of Nara and Kyoto, of the beautiful wooden houses that have been built the same way for centuries. And those houses make me think of the wooden ones that burned as a result of the U.S. Air Force fire-bombing Tokyo during World War Two.

Does your love for San Lorenzo give you an empathy towards your own fans? What are your thoughts on fandom in general?

-Like any human behaviour, football fan behaviour can be empathetic, respectful, peaceful, and joyful - or it can be indifferent, disparaging, violent, and disagreeable. There is a special, subjective bond I feel I have with Cuervos, but the same rules apply to them and to me, I feel, as regards human behaviour. I relate to those who respect their adversaries and know how to lose and win with dignity.

What are your views on Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup?

-A crazy idea. Humans can be ingenious, however. Perhaps it will be made to work, no matter how hot the temperature is on the field and in the stands. The disregard, thus far, for human life in the process of constructing the event's facilities is inexcusable, horrible, unforgettable.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being 'not very' and 10 being 'very') how disappointed are you with Obama's second term and why?

-10. As disappointed as I could be. He could have tried a lot harder, he could have made the difference he said he wanted to make. He was stymied by the Republican corporate shills and the Democratic mercenaries, yes, but he also made plenty of opportunistic and "safe" choices that had nothing whatsoever to do with the real interests of the people, or, certainly, the interest in world peace and understanding that he purported to be a proponent of. In the end, he is one more in a long line of warmongering, self-serving U.S. presidents, only, in his particular case, one with an unusual gift for speech-making and a good dose of personal charisma. The apparently inherent (and certainly self-proclaimed) promise of Barack Obama makes all the more disappointing his mediocrity as a two-term president. Business as usual, I'm afraid.

©Nigel Parry

And finally – Do you have a professional Bucket List? In other words, what professional goal/s do you still want to accomplish?

-No, or at least I cannot think of any at the moment. I'm open to new ideas and challenges, however. I manage keep an open mind most of the time, which is probably the greatest feat I can handle or aspire to managing.

Again ... our thanks to Viggo!


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First Images from Captain Fantastic

Found By: Wen
Categories: Captain Fantastic

LOL ... by the look of this first image ... there may be comedy in this movie.

Thanks to Wen for the heads up.

Images © Bleecker Street Films.

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Viggo in Barcelona (again)

Source: Cinemes Boliche.
Found By: Chrissie
Chrissie brings us news that Viggo will be attending a special screening of Jauja at Cinemes Boliche on 22 December 2014. Full details on this notice:

Images © 4L Productions/Cinemes Boliche.

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Loin des Hommes Interview Videoclip

Source: YouTube.
Found By: Chrissie
Many thanks to Chrissie for this clip from Paris Match which features both footage from the Marrakech Film Festival and a short interview with Viggo from the press presentation in Paris on 12.16.14.

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Last edited: 20 December 2014 09:23:24