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Viggo Mortensen: A Dangerous Method Webchat

Source: Empire.
Found By: mums
Many thanks to mums for alerting us to this webchat event at Empire.
© Hanway/Lago.

He's played the King of the West, the nameless survivor of a global apocalypse, and a mild-mannered cook with a penchant for secrets. Now Viggo Mortensen is back on our screens as Sigmund Freud himself in David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, opposite Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender. But now for his greatest role yet: the multi-hyphenate actor-artist-photographer-poet visits Empire to answer your questions on reuniting with Cronenberg, working in Middle Earth and his favourite sandwich. Join us on TUESDAY JANUARY 31 at 1pm (GMT) for the return of the king...

© Empire/Bauer Consumer Media. Images © Hanway/Lago.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

The Oscar Nominations this week set me thinking again about a role where Viggo should definitely have been left clutching one of those little statuettes - Tom Stall in A History of Violence. Rather than just concentrating on his performance, I thought I'd take a more general look at the creation of a film which astonishes me more and more every time I watch it, and which I believe will be seen as Cronenberg's masterpiece.

'It's like a great thoroughly satisfying and complex piece of music to me, this movie.'

Viggo Mortensen
Teen Hollywood

Olson said he pictured Mortensen in the role of Stall, something the actor found "flattering and disturbing at the same time." Just to keep the star in line, Cronenberg told him Olson hadn't really written the role for him. "You were second to Brad Pitt."

Cannes Press Conference
National Post Cannes Review, by Chris Knight
17 May 2005

"Viggo's my kind of actor," smiles Cronenberg, who likes to work with actors who are not just leading men, but also character actors. "First of all they tend not to be afraid because they're not trying to protect some image they see of themselves as traditional leading men, but also it gives them a much bigger palette to paint from because they have all kinds of edges. I need a kind of eccentricity that is more typical of a character actor than a leading man, and yet still has a leading man presence and charisma."

David Cronenberg, Director
Cannes Film Festival 2005 Press Kit

"The challenge in preparing and playing Tom Stall was to be thoroughly honest and specific with behaviour, to lie as truthfully as possible. But that's what actors are always ideally trying to do anyway."

Viggo Mortensen
V-Life magazine, Jan 2006

'Identity is another important aspect of A History of Violence. I play someone who's escaped from somewhere to become someone else and create a new identity. It is one of the basic acts of human existence that we create an identity. It's not a genetic thing that's given to us as an absolute like the colour of our eyes; it's something we are involved in creating as we live our lives by the choices we make.....'

Viggo Mortensen
Ol' Blue Eyes is Back, by Marianne Gray
8 October 2005

Mortensen played two parts at once-a simple family man with a set of barely tamped-down killer instincts and urges. In maintaining that balance, Mortensen says he tried 'to give a very detailed performance.' You see it most in his placid poise behind the diner's counter, during the still seconds before he lashes out. 'A lot of people don't trust those details to come through, but I've always believed that the camera and the audience can see a lot more than a lot of directors-and even actors-give them credit for.'

Viggo Mortensen
New Yorkers of the Year
New York Magazine
19 Dec 2005

Mortensen's commitment translated to a collection of artifacts he purchased in the Midwest on his travels, which included ducks and a bank in the shape of a fish head that says 'fishin' money' on it and is set on the diner's cash register, posters of Birds of North America, some landscapes, a small ceramic eagle and other animal sculptures for his daughter's room which he thought Tom's character would have in his home."

"Viggo has been very active in helping to create the surroundings that his character will emerge from. That is unique," says Cronenberg.

Cannes Film Festival 2005 Press Kit

"I want to say it was an intense shoot. It was some days. I had some of the hardest scenes in my life, Viggo and I had to do. I'm not a very nervous actor. I find that if I work from a very joyful, a playful place, it's easy and it's fun. But I had some days when I came to set literally just shaking, thinking, 'I can not possibly do this scene.' I was just terrified because it was quite, quite intense. But we just sure had fun. David Cronenberg was an incredible leader/father figure."

Maria Bello
January 2005

'......even though emotionally there was a lot of difficult days on the set, you know, uncomfortable. There was always a lot of joking going on. It was a lot of fun making this movie. He has a very good sense of humour, maybe a very dark sense of humour, [laughs] but a good one.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen - Cannes Interview
ARTE TV, by Lionel Julien, transcription by Chrissie
16 May 2005

'He continues what he's always done, which is taking people apart, almost like they were a machine or an engine, but now more taking their brains apart than their bodies, I suppose. It's more a psychological autopsy and the results are always a little disturbing. Not because he's disturbing, but because we are. As an audience and as a subject.'

Viggo on Cronenberg
Viggo Mortensen, Actor, poet, photographer
Philip Matthews
New Zealand Listener
March 18-24 2006

"It's a simple narrative on the surface," Mortensen explains. "The setting, certainly. And there are certain things that remind one of genre imagery that you've seen before, whether it's action movies or crime movies or Westerns. There are a lot of elements that look familiar. But it's kind of like the family itself. Everything that looks normal, in the end, isn't really. And like a lot of David's movies, at the end you say, 'Well, is anyone really normal?' "

Hurt's so good
LA Daily News
26 September 2005

In the end, do you think that this is ultimately a hopeful movie?

I think it's whatever anyone thinks it is. But for me, that day...we'd spent three months together and it did feel like a family. David said, 'I don't know what this scene is going to be. You guys have been in these characters for three months; you figure it out. When he walks in the door you'll know.' And it's true. As soon as we heard the door slam, Ashton (Holmes), Heidi (Hayes) and I kind of jumped and just immediately like welled up, all of us. And to look up and see his sweet face, this man who we've loved for three months, as Viggo and as this character, to be so unsure and to still love this person, yes I think there is a hopefulness in that.

Maria Bello on working with Viggo, by Thomas Luepp
27 September 2005

" the heart of it, it's a complicated love story between Maria Bello's character and mine, and it is as it's called 'a history of violence'. But it's also a history of anti-violence, or of at least one man's effort to find another way to deal with his problems. And just because you want to change the way you are, doesn't mean it's going to be easy, and it certainly isn't in the story. But there's one thing that the story says that I think is valuable and true, and that's that it's never too late to change the way you look at the world, the way you behave, the way you treat others. Whether you're an individual or whether you're a nation, you can change your ways, you can improve always. And any relationship takes work."

Viggo Mortensen
X-Press Online
8 March 2006

As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © New Line Cinema.

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"A Dangerous Method" - One of the Best

Found By: Chrissie
Many thanks to Chrissie for compiling this set of comments where ADM is mentioned in "best movies of 2011" end of year movie lists.

As 2011 fades into the distance it's time to look back at some of the people who included A Dangerous Method on their end-of-year Best Movie lists:

Was it the clear sunny sky set against the pristine Swiss mental hospital setting that entranced me from the start? Was it Keira Knightley's brave, bravura performance as a 'mad' woman redeemed by the dawn of psychoanalysis? Or the complex interplay that Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) develops with his patient as he breaks away from his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen)? Whatever the reason, Christopher Hampton's brilliantly adapted screenplay and Cronenberg's steady helming made this exhilarating and engrossing from start to finish.
- Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald

David Cronenberg's portrayal of the rivalrous friendship of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) is a thoughtful film of ideas clearly articulated, with a frisson of kinkiness involving their mutual patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), with whom Jung (in the movie) had an affair. Even if Mr. Mortensen's Freud is nothing like the father of psychoanalysis -- who would know? -- it is dramatically persuasive.
- Stephen Holden, New York Times

For the first and probably only time, I liked Freud thanks to Viggo Mortensen's substantial yet understated performance. This Freud-Jung tug-of-war is literate and sumptuous, with a dark, pure-Cronenberg undertow.
- Caryn James, IndieWire

As artistically precise as a Zeiss lens.
- Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

Adapted by Christopher Hampton from his play The Talking Cure and John Kerr's eponymous book, David Cronenberg's tragicomedy explores the rift between Carl Gustav Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), the catalyst being Jung's affair with the Russian medical student Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), who in 1904 had come to him in Zurich as his first analysand, her hysteria induced by the sexual excitement she took in being thrashed by her father. With Freud as Jung's repressive Oedipal father, Spielrein as his Oedipal mother (who flees to Freud for analysis when Jung dumps her), and the psychoanalyst Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) as the movie's libertine id, A Dangerous Method is a shrink's wet dream. The mood is thoughtful -- notwithstanding the spankings Spielrein craves and Jung administers -- yet this is one of Cronenberg's most moving films.
- Graham Fuller, Art News Worldwide

Consummate classical filmmaking, A Dangerous Method has an exaggerated Masterpiece Theatre patina that is regularly fissured by geysers of desire (as well as dreams and ideas) and ultimately blown away as Spielrein, Freud, and Jung meet their respective fates.
- J Hoberman, The Village Voice

Keira Knightley acts up a storm as a hysterical psychiatric patient, but it's Michael Fassbender who reconfirms his talent as the rigid, agonized young Carl Jung. Viggo Mortensen is an imperious side dish as Sigmund Freud.
- Ty Burr, Boston Globe

David Cronenberg delves into the early history of psychoanalysis, and finds a very creepy professional triangle between the aging Sigmund Freud (a serenely authoritative Viggo Mortensen), his heir apparent, Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), and a patient-turned-analyst (Keira Knightley). A fascinating, illuminating historical drama, complete with spanking scenes.
- Phil Nugent, Nerve

Delving into the human mind can sometimes be a tricky topic for film, but David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method does it very, very well. The film explores the topic of psychoanalysis and the effects that the past can have on someone's future. It does this by taking an interesting perspective on the relationship between history's two most famous psychologists, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and there relationships with Sabina Spielrein.

Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley are the ones leading the charge here and they all give tremendous performances. Though the film is about the relationship between Freud and Jung, Spielrein is the main focus of the film, as the catalyst and the common ground between Jung and Freud's relationship.

Knightley's performance as Spielrein is really the engine of the film. The young actress is downright frightening as a broken woman who evolves from a patient with severe mental issues to someone in a position to form her own analysis of others. It's interesting to see the character come full circle and Knightley really does great work with the role, truly pushing the boundaries.

Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen also craft fantastic mirrors of Jung and Freud. Throw in some wonderful supporting performances by Vincent Cassel as a sex addict psychiatrist who has a large impact on Jung and his work and Sarah Gadon, who plays Jung's faithful wife and you have one very well acted film.

The film's direction is also exceptional with Cronenberg really diving deep into the minds of all the main characters and exploring the effects that relationships can have on people. A Dangerous Method is a wonderful and at times, very interesting film that left me very impressed.
- Blake Dew, We Got This Covered

David Cronenberg's period piece about Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and a sexually deranged patient, is a masterfully executed clash of intellects, egos and desire in the early days of psychoanalysis. Michael Fassbender as Jung and Viggo Mortensen as Freud deserve Oscar nominations.
- Clint O'Connor, The Plain Dealer

Keira Knightley is just brilliant as a temporarily insane woman who has an affair with her psychiatrist, and that psychiatrist just happens to be Carl Jung (masterfully played by Michael Fassbender). Viggo Mortensen does an impressive turn as Sigmund Freud in this spellbinder from director David Cronenberg.
- Bob Grimm, Reno News Review

Cronenberg's third collaboration with Viggo Mortensen is now becoming as successful as the Scorsese/De Niro partnership at its height. Mortensen plays Sigmund Freud alongside Michael Fassbender's Carl Jung charting the birth of psychoanalysis, their friendship, and eventual battle over ideas and Jung's patient Sabina played by Keira Knightley. Knightley easily holds her own against two of modern cinemas greatest actors, aided by a director of Cronenberg's stature who teases the dry humour out of every restricted frame.
- Mark Farnsworth, Global Comment

Images © Hanway/Lago/Lionsgate.

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A Dangerous Method London Premiere Update

Thanks to Chrissie for bringing us this London Premiere update.
U.K. Quad Poster
U.K. Quad Poster.
© Hanway/Lago/Lionsgate.
The London premiere of A Dangerous Method on 31st January will be at the May Fair Hotel where they have a private screening room. Red carpet arrivals are expected to be between 5:15 and 6:15 pm. Viggo will attend. If there are any changes we will post updated information.

Images © Hanway/Lago/Lionsgate.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

'Icy', 'ocean-blue', 'frost-bite blue', 'peaceful', 'piercing', 'melancholy', 'bright', 'intense'.... you already know what I'm talking about, don't you? Last week's Quotable was all about revealing the soul of a character through the eyes alone. This week I thought I'd follow it up with some reactions to Viggo's amazing peepers when he's just being Viggo.

Viggo Mortensen was bare-footed, with loose dark pants and a large shirt that makes him look both small and newly awakened. His left hand is decorated with stuff to remember and phone numbers all the way up his arm and a stubborn bit of tape has attached itself to his sleeve.

The bright eyes are at the same time quick and thoughtful and it is as if he exists in a parallel reality, with a different rhythm, speed and profundity. And yet he is present.

Caught In His Own Picture
By Trine Ross - translated by Rebekka
28 June 2003

It is difficult to recognize the sexy star because of the mighty moustache that fills a lot of his face. But the ocean blue eyes shine through as usual.

Viggo On His Way To Denmark
Billed-Bladet #24 - translated by Westfold
June 2005

He seduces us with a threat of danger, his chiseled Nordic physique and stunning blue eyes. Never over the top, for Mortensen, less is more. His performances are slow reveals of hidden information and emotion.

Viggo Mortensen Talks The Road
By Anne Thompson
Indie Wire
13 September 2009

Mr. Mortensen has bladelike, Slavic cheekbones, the most jutting movie chin since Kirk Douglas's and icy blue eyes that can seem soulful one minute and menacing the next. He also has a compact, chiseled physique that looks great adorned with Russian mob tattoos.

Big Gun Takes on the Apocalypse
Charles McGrath
New York Times
10 September 2009

Though blond and chiselled, Mortensen isn't your typical Hollywood actor. His intense features and sly eyes convey an edge that eludes your Brads, Leonardos and Matts. The actor also exudes intelligence, whether he's playing a magnetically sadistic Navy SEALS officer in "G.I. Jane" or a genteel suitor in "The Portrait of a Lady."

Sensitive Side of Psycho
by Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun Times, 1998

The planes of his face bespeak both peril and sensitivity -- a romantic who could be caddish with your heart but rueful about it. His cleft chin, pale, almost milky, eyes, soft-spoken tone, and laidback manner complete the picture but he's more than matinee idol handsome. He has that incurable, unbearable, enigmatic eroticism of a three in the morning dream you've just awakened from.

Talking With Viggo
George magazine

Viggo Mortensen is a smolderer. He opens those intense, I-know-how-to-build-my-own-kitchen eyes, and he wins my girlfriend over every time. Obviously, I want to hate him because anyone that ruggedly handsome has to be despised on principal alone, but like Paul Newman and his absurdly delicious salad dressing, there comes a day when you just have to admit a dude's alright.

20 Actors Who Deserve Your Support
By Josh
Cinema Blend
22 August 2010

"There was only one boy that recognised me the whole two weeks I was wandering around [Russia]. And that was my last day there. It was just a freak thing. He looked at my eyes, and I think he'd seen Lord of the Rings 500 times, and, even though I didn't have the long hair and the beard, he was sure."

Viggo on being recognised in Russia
Q&A with Viggo Mortensen
By Neala Johnson
Melbourne Herald Sun
8 March 2007

...the first impression that you get from the New York actor with cosmopolitan roots (his father is Danish and his mother is American), is very different from that of the vigorous and strong hero that we have always seen on the big screen. Instead, Mortensen is a calm, serene, and very reflective man. His blue eyes reflect the inner peace that he has managed to maintain in spite of the Hollywood craziness...

Top Men - Viggo Mortensen
By - translated by Graciela
September 2006

The frostbite-blue eyes snap onto mine for a split second. If the brow is a two-way mirror to the soul, his is cracked in several places by Despair and Inner Torment. Mortensen is justly celebrated in Hollywood for how he telegraphs both, which are reading in his face right now. A face rendered (almost) unrecognizable with that distracting droop of a Wild West moustache, the familiar starburst cleft in his chin forested over by a neat beard.

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

Later, during a break in filming, I shake hands with Viggo, stained with special effects blood. We chatted for a while and then went to eat underneath the tent that protected us from the sun, while I observed his soldier's moustache, his scars, his doublet covered with dust and blood, his light and engrossing eyes that looked only like those of veterans, more beyond life and death. He wasn't an actor, I suddenly thought. He was the rigorous image of the tired hero

Viggo, The Captain
By Arturo Pérez-Reverte - translated by Elessars Queen and Astarloa
El Semanal, Diario de León
20 July 2005

Before we meet, in London, I see him in the street, outside the Charlotte Street Hotel. He's crouched over his phone. He's wearing the navy and red football shirt of his team, San Lorenzo, from Argentina. He grew up there. "So these are my heroes. The one group of people or thing I support unconditionally. They can do no wrong," he says with a half-smile and sits down in the cosy-chaired library. His hair is long. His eyes are piercing, kind. Full of fun, full of melancholy.

Sympathy For The Devil
By Chrissy Iley
The Observer
19 April 2009

'You know, for me to look each person in the eye and listen to their question and answer them, and get their name right and be respectful---that takes a certain amount of energy for complete concentration. Unless you're just someone who doesn't look at somebody, who doesn't deal with it. At the end of the day you don't have anything left, sometimes, for yourself. You have to find ways to hide out, that's all.'

Viggo Mortensen on meeting fans
Native Voice Interview with Viggo
By Lise Balk King,
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
December 2003

As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.

© Star Line Productions. Images © Viggo-Works/Iolanthe.

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Last edited: 13 January 2019 19:28:51