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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

11 March 2018 11:31:35
Found By: Iolanthe
Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

It was nice this week to learn that during the filming of Prison Viggo earned a stunt team t-shirt. Viggo has always done most of his own stunts, but also has a huge respect for the stunt teams who double for him or who, in The Lord of the Rings, formed the hoards of Orcs he spent days fighting with. Viggo seems game for almost anything so that the Director can get the perfect shot, even clinging to a cliff face while terrified of heights.

Mortensen's humble attitude and willingness to do his own stunts earned him the nickname "No-Ego Viggo" among the crew. "He was always taking out stuntmen and buying them beer because he hit them one too many times," says Orlando Bloom. "He just goes for it. Viggo's energy is endless. He knows no limit."

The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
January 2003


When casting saw roughly 80 actors to fill the lead role, the moment they saw Viggo Mortensen it was a done deal. A young star on the rise, Mortensen had the mysterious quality needed to play Burke, while making him likable enough for the viewer to want to root for. He also handled almost all of his own stunts, a move that would earn him a stunt team t-shirt by Hodder by the end of production.

Locked Up 30 Years Later: Kane Hodder in 'Prison'
by Meagan Navarro
6 March 2018

Captain Fantastic

"He looked perfectly natural and happy and fine up there," says Captain Fantastic writer-director Matt Ross when told of Mortensen's terror during the mountain climbing scene. "He kept it all to himself. I remember he didn't want to come down for lunch. He would say, 'I am fine. I'm fine,' I had no idea."

Dr. No: Viggo Mortensen Has Made Turning Down Roles Into an Art Form
By Oliver Jones
The Observer
6 July 2016

"The kids were like 'Viggo come down to lunch!' and I said 'No, just send a sandwich up!' I was absolutely terrified. I couldn't look down."

Viggo Mortensen on His Idealistic New Film "Captain Fantastic"
by Gillian Sagansky
W Magazine
8 July 2016

The Road

How was it to jump in the ocean?

It was very cold. I asked for another take, but they were terrified. They didn't want me to. They had ambulances. The water was 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and the wind was just really blowing. The air temperature was the same, but because there was howling wind, I was practically frozen. I think the air was probably freezing. It was so extreme. They had an ambulance and they had all these heaters on, and I just sat in there with a bathrobe and said, "Just tell me when you're rolling. I'm just going to run out and go."

Interview: Viggo Mortensen Travels THE ROAD
Christina Radish
9 November 2009


"He did things on the horse that the stunt man had difficulty doing. He fell off the horse, he rode bareback, he jumped on the horse at a gallop, which is difficult to do, and he you know, he fell off a few times and he got knocked down and he got kicked a few times, but you know, he also got right back up and wanted to do it again. I think he knew that if there was anything that was really life-threatening, he would come forward and say, 'I don't feel comfortable doing this.' But he never did."

Joe Johnston
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004

"I pretty much got to do all the riding," Mortensen says. "That's because I worked hard with the trainer, with Rex Peterson and with the stunt guy Mike Watson and with all the horses and because I rode as a kid, so I was comfortable, so they felt it was a worthwhile risk. I'm sure the producers sometimes were sweating it but sometimes you do take some chances in order to get something that you can't really buy otherwise, digitally or otherwise, especially with a movie like this which isn't a special-effects driven movie, you can follow me in one shot without cutting. You can be close on me and see what I'm doing. "

Viggo Mortensen
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004


"Some supposedly great stars doubt you and call you and say. 'Man, what are you doing?!' But Viggo went for the kill. He was the first one to throw himself into the cold water, into a filthy mud puddle, and the rest followed him."

Agustín Díaz Yanes
The Lord of Simplicity
By Ernesto Garratt Vines - translated by Margarita
Wikén - El Mercurio
30 March 2007

Lord of the Rings

"I was jet-lagged when I arrived in Wellington, and they drove me to these old army barracks. Inside was sort of a small gym. Against the wall, kind of vibrating and all tensed-up and sweating, was a whole group of people. It was the stunt team, some of them had real scars and they were very scary-looking, holding all of these rusty, blood-stained implements of destruction.

Bob Anderson, the sword-master, introduced them as the people I'd be fighting with for the next year-and-a-half or so. Then he gave me my sword, pointed me in their direction and said, 'Go.' They all came screaming, running at me. I didn't know quite what to do, so I sort of covered myself and they stopped right in my face, waving these weapons. Bob said, 'OK, good. You didn't run away, that's a start.' That's kind of how I got going on these movies. It was that way with everything."

MVP of Middle-earth
By Bob Strauss
U-Daily News
29 January 2004
U-Daily News

"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

"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!"

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

I did pretty much all my own stunts in the battle scenes, and the amazing stunt team played the enemy at all times. The battle scenes are very elaborate, people going berserk night and day. Even in the background, thousands of people going completely nuts. But even if I had 20 people coming at me, I could recognize them through their masks and armour; I got to know their body language so well. It was gruelling."

Viggo Mortensen
By Simon Braund
Australian Empire magazine
January 2002

"He had no knuckles," laughs make-up man Perez. "He'd been virtually slaughtered by everyone because he would not let anyone do his rehearsals'"

Jose Perez
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

Eastern Promises

"I knew it would be relatively painful, and it was. There's no pads. But the two guys playing my attackers were good - one guy was a Georgian who had been in the Russian military, and the other guy was a Turkish professional boxer. They were perfect, and perfectly painful."

Viggo Mortensen on the Bathhouse scene
Ties that bind
by Melora Koepke, Hour CA
13 Sept 2007

A History of Violence

David Cronenberg:
We didn't use stunt doubles. One of the things that these [self-defence] videos said was this: "You might think that if there is somebody there with a gun that you want to back away and be as far from the person as possible. But that's a mistake. You want to get close, really close to this person. From there you can do a lot of damage."

Viggo Mortensen:
And he wanted to do that with the camera.

David Cronenberg: And I wanted to do that with the camera to do a lot of damage.

Noah Cowan:
Did you get hit, Viggo?

Viggo Mortensen:

David Cronenberg: I would do that even when we weren't shooting.

Viggo Mortensen: It happens in all the movies we do, he hits me with the camera. Even when I'm having a cup of coffee…

Viggo and Cronenberg talking about the dangers of filming the Eastern Promises fight scenes
Listening in: David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortenson introduce AHOV at Tiff
14 January 2014

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