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"I share with Alatriste the fear of, either for pride or insecurity, expressing myself openly"

Translation by Paddy
Source: Europa Press

Our thanks to paddy for this translation from Europa Press.
Viggo Mortensen has got into the role of Captain Diego Alatriste, the character created by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, in Agustín Díaz Yanes' new film, which is released in cinemas this Friday. The actor, who has participated in more than 40 films, and had already worked in Spain with Ray Loriga and José Luis Acosta, explained that with this veteran soldier of the Tercios of Flanders who ekes out a living as a mercenary swordsman in the Madrid of the XVII century he shares "the fear of, either for pride or insecurity, expressing myself openly."

In an interview during the promotion of Alatriste in Madrid, Mortensen, who became world-famous with his role of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings saga, despite having worked before in movies like Witness and G.I. Jane, said that, although he doesn't "walk down the streets killing people" like Alatriste does, he shares with the literary character the fact of "being vulnerable."

"That is quite related to what it is being Spanish or Iberian. Pride made Spain win some great battles and also to be a leading country in art, literature... But pride is also a defect, with very sad results," said Mortensen, who read Pérez-Reverte's books to make up his character.

"Alatriste is a soldier who is loyal to the crown, to the flag and, above all, to his comrades," remembered the actor, who thinks that, in the present days, Alatriste could have been a marine who his colleagues called captain 'without being one."

Mortensen pointed out that, in fact, Alatriste could have belonged to any army of any empire, "especially in its decline." "In the United States they deny it, but they are starting to run out of the treasure of blood and gold," he emphasized, with reference to the soldiers who are fighting in Iraq, "they are like the veterans of Flanders: aware that they are not there for one flag, but to keep their promises to their comrades."

The bullfighting world

In order to achieve the image that Pérez-Reverte created for Alatriste and keep that "code of honour" which is closer to the one of the bullfighting world than to the XVII century, Mortensen asked the director to take him to a bullfight in order to "learn the manners, the attitude." He met some bullfighters outside the bullring and their manners helped him to capture "that bragging way" that hides "the fear". "All of them fear the bull and I thought that was interesting," he continued.

Mortensen, who speaks perfect Spanish with an Argentinean accent, admitted that the part of Alatriste could have been done by a Spanish actor, "they are very good", and said that he has been "lucky for playing this extremely interesting role." "It has been a great challenge," emphasized the actor, who worked with David Cronenberg in A History of Violence.

This versatile artist - he combines cinema with poetry, photography, music and painting - also praised Díaz Yanes' work, especially because "this project was very difficult to start up." "So far the Spanish hadn't told their version of history so well as Tano has done," he said.

Intelligent directors

Being asked about the differences between shooting this film and other super-productions, Mortensen explained that he has worked in more than 40 films in different countries, two of those films in Spain. "I've learned that it doesn't matter where you're shooting and that the most important thing is the example the director sets," he said, giving the names of Díaz Yanes or Cronenberg as an example of great directors. "They are intelligent directors who are always willing to listen to the actors," he pointed out.

In March the actor will start shooting Good, a film about Nazism, in which he'll incarnate a literature teacher. "It shows that the ordinary people can also be part of the horror, as it happened in Spain in the XX century, they supported something that wasn't the best for the people, and it's happening in the United States in recent years, although people are already realizing that and they want a change," he concluded.

© 2006 Europa Press.

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A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

Found By: Miguel & Benito
Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006 Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006
Thanks to our favroite Spanish columnist, Miguel, and his friend Benito, we have some photos to illustrate the scene in Madrid yesterday for the premiere of Alatriste. You see the premiere cue and the traffic jams, and the interesting head attire, and the unabashed plug for Diario de León.

Click on images to enlarge.

Images © Benito.

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The city council grants the province's gold medal to Mortensen

Translation by Margarita
Source: Diario de León
Alatriste Madrid Premiere 8.31.06
Alatriste Madrid Premiere 8.31.06
Image Carlos Alvarez.
© Getty Images.
Before Miguel sends us even more goodies let's catch up with a translation of the article he posted in yesterday's Diario de León. Once again we have Margarita to thank for this.

By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno

Díaz Yanes is now thinking of taking his movie to the Oscars, and he hasn't closed the door on a sequel

Tomorrow, coinciding with the premiere of the movie Alatriste, the city council of León will officially approve the awarding of the gold medal of the province to actor Viggo Mortensen.

The honor will be bestowed in public on a date yet to be agreed upon by the actor and the city council. It's another honor to be added for one who will, in just a few hours time, become an honorary Leonese.

We don't know the actor's reaction to these high honors yet, given the gruelling schedule he is currently undertaking in the days prior to the release of Alatriste, one of the most eagerly awaited movies by both the national and international communities. Nevertheless, knowing Viggo Mortensen's personality and the genuine affection he once again demonstrated for León during last Tuesday's recent press conference, we think he will accept the medal.

Debt of Gratitude

The Leonese mountains of the Curueño owes a great debt to this man. From his very first visit to the area, where he followed the footsteps of Alatriste while researching his role, the number of curious visitors from all around the world has grown considerably. Some internet pages, and even travel magazines, have included extensive reports on León and the region.

It's what happened in New Zealand after the filming of The Lord of the Rings. Curueño seems destined to become a new pilgrimage destination for the many fans not only of Arturo Pérez Reverte but, especially, followers of the charismatic actor.

The actor has taken his cues from the mountain region, adopting the mannerisms and speech of locals for the character of Alatriste. Perhaps he has seen in these people a certain pride that Viggo himself spoke of during a press conference last Tuesday, 'He's the one who teaches us to be great but also not to ever take a step backwards, to ask forgiveness or to say I love you.'

Nervous Yanes

Agustín Díaz Yanes, who was in Barcelona yesterday with some of the members of his cast for the screening of Alatriste, explained that just now he can't confirm a sequel to the adventures of the 17th century Spanish soldier, since that really depends on Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

Nervous about the imminent release of Alatriste, the most expensive movie in Spanish film history, with a 24 million Euro budget and which will have 450 copies distributed, the director of No Word From God has confirmed that 'the value of this economic adventure for Spanish film will not be wholly ascertainable until several months from now. Let's hope that if the movie does well, it will then serve to encourage future feature films backed by great resources,' he declared.

Díaz Yanes added that in Spain 'people are wealthy but movies are made on a shoestring budget, which doesn't allow them to compete internationally or even amongst Spanish audiences.' On the other hand, he added that the corruption of 17th century Spain couldn't happen in a government that counts José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as president. At the same time that he made his rounds of the press in Madrid, Mortensen insisted that 'the amount of money and the location don't matter, what's important is the director. Good films have no boundaries,' added the star of A History of Violence, who will work once again with director David Cronenberg when filming Eastern Promises, which will also star Naomi Watts.

Toronto, Rome and the United States will be among the international festivals which screen Alatriste, whose team is now in the middle of touring all across Spain.

Pending the official declaration of the 5 candidate movies which will represent Spain at Hollywood's Oscars, Díaz Yanes has said that it wouldn't matter to him if his film were among those chosen.

The premiere of Alatriste is accompanied by two exhibitions, Alatriste's Madrid, Madrid and the Golden Age ( La Casa de la Panaderia recreates Madrid's Golden Age with photographs, videos and costumes from the movie), and a photographic exhibit by Cesar Urrutia on the filming in FNAC. In addition, Ocho y Medio is publishing the movie script as a special edition that will include drawings from the story board, the sketches by artistic director Benjamin Fernandez and almost 50 pages of color photographs of the filming as well as of movie scenes.

The tickets for Alatriste's premiere in León (next Friday) can be picked up for free, for as long as supplies last, from Thursday on in the box office of the Emperor Theatre (at Santa Nonia Street). Only one ticket will be given per person, and in order to obtain the ticket, the coupon printed in the Diario de León must be presented. To reach as many people as possible, there will be 2 different screenings, one at 17:00 and one at 21:00 pm. Fans of the adventures of Captain Alatriste should show up at the box office on Thursday or Friday from 12:00 to 14:00 p.m., (make sure to bring your newspaper coupon), will be able to choose which screening they attend, until all seats are given out. Places are limited at the second screening because the actors and producers will be present, as will guests.

© Diario de León. Images © Getty.

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Swashbuckling Alatriste set to break hearts, records

Source: Reuters.
Found By: Chrissie
© Estudios Picasso / Origen Producciones.
Many thanks to Chrissie for bringing this to us.

By Elisabeth O'Leary

MADRID (Reuters) - Swashbuckling Spanish hero Alatriste, as played by a Danish-American heartthrob, is ready to conquer the box office just as the best-selling novels where he first appeared have won the public's affection.

With a 24 million euro (16.15 million pounds) budget, Spain's most expensive film to date stars Spanish-speaking New York actor Viggo Mortensen, best known as Aragorn in the "Lord of the Rings" series.

Mortensen's performance so impressed novelist Arturo Perez-Reverte, who created Alatriste, that he has incorporated his gestures into his latest novel.

It tells the story of a dashing but down-to-earth captain who cuts, thrusts and sulks his way through three decades in the 17th century, when Spain was a world superpower.

As for the producers of the film - Hispano Foxfilm and Telecinco - they are hoping the draw of a big star will help their work find success beyond Spain and Latin America.

Alatriste opens this weekend with the kind of "everywhere" publicity campaign usually reserved for Hollywood. The novels already set a precedent, and have been translated into 34 different languages.

But those involved in the project, including the author, are keen to stress that "Alatriste" is not just visual popcorn for the masses.

"I was afraid that (the character of Alatriste) would lose some of his toughness & but they've maintained his dark and human character (in the film)," Perez-Reverte told reporters.

Diego Alatriste is a soldier who is noble in his own unique style, brave and loyal to his friends - amongst whom he counts the poet Francisco de Quevedo - but who has a darker side, accepting work as a hired killer in times of peace.

He loves one woman, actress Maria de Castro, who attracts the eye of King Felipe IV with tragic consequences.

The film aims to deliver a faithful vision of Spain at the time, graphically portraying the chasms in society and the barbarities of the many wars fought for the empire.

"It's a profound story, about people made of flesh and blood," Mortensen said.


Shot on location with sumptuous sets and costumes, the film showcases Spain's "Golden Age" - the paintings of Diego Velazquez, the plays of Lope de Vega and the poems of Quevedo.

The supporting cast is solid, featuring some of Spain's finest actors, with Juan Echanove (Quevedo) and Eduard Fernandez (Sebastian Copons) as standouts.

Mortensen's portrayal of the brooding hero left its mark on the character, according to Perez-Reverte.

"Viggo has made Alatriste human," he said.

The actor, 47, has had a varied and long career but only recently achieved real fame playing Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings" series. His roles include the lead in David Cronenberg's sinister 2005 feature, "A History of Violence".

Mortensen's Spanish is fluent and distinctly Argentine after living in that country as a child. The role saw him grappling with a Castilian accent, which sometimes flounders.
The actor said the film taught him more about the Spanish character.

Alatriste has "Spanish pride, which pushes him to do many things, but he has difficulty taking a step backwards," Mortensen told reporters.

Director Agustin Diaz Yanes, whose previous films include the acclaimed 1995 thriller "Nadie Hablara de Nosotras Cuando Hayamos Muerto" (Nobody Will Speak of Us When We're Dead) crams all five books into 2 hours, 20 minutes.

A former history teacher, he says he hopes the film will pave the way for more movies based on Spain's volatile past.

"There's a lack of historic Spanish films firstly because of a difficulty with budget ... but secondly because we Spaniards are very much at odds with our history in a way that is not the case (in other countries)," he said.

The success of the books has been such that Perez-Reverte says he increasingly receives requests from historians, asking if Alatriste really existed.

"It's delightful ... it's every author's dream," he said.

Producer Antonio Cardenal says the film is more European than American, but he was uncertain how it would be received outside of Spain.

As for the movie's relevance to modern life, Mortensen has spoken extensively in interviews about the parallels between elements of "Alatriste", which depicts an empire on the verge of decline, and the role of his own country, the United States, as the last great superpower.

"There are similarities ... Those who are in power don't look after their citizens but they demand complete loyalty ... Alatriste today would be a sergeant in the Marines or in the Special Forces in Iraq," he told Spanish newspaper El Periodico.

© Reuters. Images © Estudios Piccaso / Origen Producciones.

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More Photos from the Madrid Premiere

Source: AFP/Getty

© AFP/Getty Images.

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Last edited: 16 September 2018 19:34:32