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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

This week has been Hidalgo Week – all these lovely photos of Viggo and TJ posted by Elizabeth remind us that Viggo just looked terrific in this film, despite being mostly upstaged by a horse with a big personality. Hidalgo is an old-fashioned easy-viewing film with a heart and a message about personal challenge, endurance and tolerance which, really, should have done much better at the box-office. As one member of the preview audience said, 'What's not to like about a forty-foot tall Viggo Mortensen?'.





There's a great deal to like about "Hidalgo," Disney's horse adventure film set in 1890. Besides an exciting story beautifully shot, there's the charming Viggo Mortensen, the inimitable Omar Sharif and Hidalgo himself, one of the most engaging animal characters outside a Disney cartoon.

And did I mention Viggo Mortensen?

Finding the History in "Hidalgo's" tall tale
By Cathy Schultz, Ph.D.
2004




"I found out a while back that I'm related to Buffalo Bill - distantly, on my mother's mother's side of the family," he says. "It's true: I went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, and saw the records that prove the connection." Mortensen finds J.K. Simmons' performance as Buffalo Bill "terrific" - and it gave him an interesting opportunity to play in scenes with a distant relative.

Viggo Mortensen: The Straight-Shooting Star of the New Western
By Joe Leydon
Cowboys & Indians
April 2004




'I saw this picture with Diane Lane called A Walk on the Moon. And there was something about his performance in that film that told me that this guy could be Frank Hopkins. I hadn't seen the first Lord of the Rings before we cast him, but I figured anybody that could sell blouses to Diane Lane out of a truck could do anything.'

Joe Johnston
Staci Layne Wilson
American Western Magazine
March 2004




'It was one of those things that, once it's done, no matter how much you try, you can't recast it in your mind. He really became the character. People say that all the time, but with Viggo, it's really true. And all that stuff they say about him - "No-Ego Viggo,' "he's not a star, he's an actor,' - that is so true. He's such a class act.'

John Fusco
Viggo, Ego and Hidalgo
By Brett Buckalew
FilmStew.com, 2004




Viggo Mortensen is not about the words. He's about being... present. .......
......Mortensen's an actor I'm content just to watch: Those riven cheeks, taut against blade-sharp cheekbones, features that gift golden hour. He quietly inhabits the role of Frank Hopkins....

Ray Pride
Movie City News
4 March 2004




'Viggo Mortensen was an absolute joy to work with. He slept on the roof of his trailer with his saddle and bedroll. We had to constantly keep him late and call for him early and he never complained. He came with no entourage and drove himself to location. When his stunt man fell off the horse and jammed his elbow, Viggo did the stunt himself, riding bareback at full speed.'

Joe Johnston
Joe Johnston Sketchbook
Oct 2014




There's a part of the body that we weren't aware of called the 'nacho'. In other words, it's sort of right in the middle, it's not your, uh, you know, up front and it's not your...and that got pretty sore. We got a nacho pad, but it was a little too late.

Viggo Mortensen on riding bareback
'King' Star Returns To The Screen, Riding High
by Todd Camp
Star Telegram
6 March 2004




Is it true that you and your British co-star, Zuleikha Robinson, could have been killed while shooting Hidalgo?


That was scary! We were both riding this horse, and it just took off and headed for this really high wall. I knew that there were trucks and equipment on the other side, and two huge storage jars on top. I was sitting behind Zuleikha, just hanging on. Somehow we stayed on, but Zuleikha lost the reins and I jumped off and grabbed them, and miraculously no one - not even the horse - got hurt. We could easily have been killed. Zuleikha was giggling - I think the shock hit her later. It wasn't caught on camera, but it would have looked like a great special effect. It was unbelievable!

Our Kiss Was Just a kiss
By John Millar
Hot Stars
27 March 2004




"He wanted to eat a real locust," Johnston says. "The locust he eats is made out of sugar. He said, 'You know, I can eat a live one.' I said, 'Let's eat all the fake ones first. If we run out, you can eat a live one.' "

Joe Johnston on filming Hidalgo
A Man of Many Parts
Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post
2004




"It's based on a real person and a real horse," Mortensen says. "But we take some liberties, for a good reason. Myth-making is a way of dreaming out loud or dreaming in public. . . "

Viggo Mortensen
A Man of Many Parts
Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post
2004




'A couple days ago, there was this hail. And everybody's just sitting there, kind of setting up the scene with clothing from 1890 and a herd of close to a thousand horses. And the waiting is almost like a ritual, like preparation for a religious moment where something might happen. You have words for the ceremony, the vestments, and all the elements and you're hoping that something good happens. So it's still interesting, the group getting together and doing it.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
by Scott Thill
Morphizm
2002




'It is good to have a movie that's old-fashioned and treats cowboys with respect. But all that can get lost when you get the 'Oh, I heard it's not true' comments. I can't believe that I had to spend half my time on the press tours dealing with that. My job became primarily to defend the movie's right to exist! It's a movie based on a true event, not a documentary. And it is a hell of a ride. That ought to be good enough - is for most movies - few of which can hold a candle to Hidalgo.'

Viggo Mortensen on the Frank Hopkins controversy
A Visit With Viggo
By Marianne Love,
Sandpoint Magazine
2004




'This is really very subversive coming out of Hollywood,' says Mortensen, pointing out how rare it is to see an active effort made to fairly portray Arab culture in mainstream films. 'We made a movie that's entertaining, it moves along, it's beautiful, it looks right, it's well cast - yet it contains so many more things in it, and it's done in a subtle way.'

Viggo Mortensen
Hidalgo: A Filmmaking Journey to the Middle East
By Zaki Hasan
Q-NEWS Magazine
2004




It takes a thoroughbred star like Mortensen to make the bond between man and horses believable, and to keep Hidalgo from straying too far into fields of corn.

From hobbits to horses
Jennie Punter
The Globe and Mail
5 March 2004




….as one woman at a preview screening said to her girlfriend looking up at the big screen: 'What's not to like about a forty-foot tall Viggo Mortensen?'

Cowboy and Mustang Meet Arabian Nights
John P. McCarthy
reeltalkreviews.com 2004



You will find all previous Quotables
here.


© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Touchstone/Buena Vista Pictures.

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Hidalgo Cinematographer Comments on Viggo's "Ghost Dance" Photos


Source: Instagram.
Found By: Chrissie
Our thanks to Chrissie for bringing us this post by Shelly Johnson, the cinematographer on Hidalgo, has had some interesting things to say on Instagram about Viggo's ghost dance photographs.
Quote:


An interesting photo made by Viggo Mortensen. We were shooting a very rarely photographed "Ghost Dance" by our amazing tribe members who participated in the film. Viggo, a renowned still photographer, had forgotten his camera that day and asked our unit stills photographer, Richard Cartwright, if he might borrow a camera and some color neg film. The unit photographer gave Viggo his Hasselblad panoramic camera... the 15 perf 35mm version. Viggo snaked around the set with the shutter open and he was amazing to watch. His movements were very similar to that of the Native American Ghost Dancers and he captured these incredible handheld abstract time exposures. Absolutely amazing. Fast-forward about 6 months and my phone rings. Viggo is on the other end and invites me to a gallery show featuring some Native American photos, music and poetry that he has authored during the making of "Hidalgo". When I arrive at the gallery, I see the show is entirely composed of marvelously printed images from the ghost dance... amazingly saturated and 8 feet wide. Stunning! At the show, I run into Richard, who loaned Viggo his camera to shoot these same stills. I ask him; "Did Viggo borrow only one roll of film?" Yes... only a single roll. Well, the show was comprised of 16 photographs that were double wide (15 perfs instead of 7) which meant that the collection represented nearly every photo that Viggo shot that day. 16 of the 18 total exposures from the single film roll. Mind blowing.

© Shelly Johnson. Images © Viggo Mortensen.

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Omar Sharif Passes


Categories: Hidalgo

All of us at Viggo-Works express our sadness at the passing of the wonderful actor, Omar Sharif.




May he rest in peace and may all those who knew him be comforted by sweet memories.

Images © Touchstone / Buena Vista Pictures.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo



While looking for interesting new Viggo vids I came across the beautiful one below which celebrates Hidalgo. It's a while since I watched the film and I was struck all over again by what a great horse TJ is (and all the other horses that played Hidalgo) and also what a treat it always is to see Viggo acting with them. So I thought I'd do a whole Quotable celebrating the brave little horse that crossed the Ocean of Fire. Let her buck!




By the time the cameras rolled, head animal trainer Rex Peterson had selected five paint horses to play the role of the plucky mustang Hidalgo. TJ, RJ, Oscar, Doc and DC each had their special talents and enough of a resemblance that makeup and hair specialists could create one seamless character....TJ demonstrated the greatest bond with his co-star Viggo Mortensen... RJ proved to be the most agile trick horse; Oscar the best ride for actors; Doc took the lead as the main chase horse; and DC was the ultimate endurance racer.

Hidalgo - Animal Action
American Humane Association
March 2004




[Viggo] was on the Morocco set of Hidalgo, his western adventure that opens today, and he felt it necessary to remind director Joe Johnston and the rest of the crew who the star of the movie is.

It's the kind of primadonna move you might expect of a guy who has come off The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, one of the most profitable movie franchises in history..... Except that the usually self-effacing Mortensen wasn't demanding more attention for himself. He was speaking up for his horse T.J., the cream-and-sorrel nag who plays the title mustang of Hidalgo.

"People kept saying, 'Frank this and Frank that.' And I'd say, `Well, last time I checked, the movie is not called Frank Hopkins. So let's keep in mind that the horse needs to be (front and centre)."

A New John Wayne: Viggo Mortensen Saddles Up for Hidalgo
By Peter Howell
Toronto Star
5 March 2004




"[TJ's] a very small horse, you know, technically he's a pony. I mean he's about 14 Hands 2, I guess. And 14 Hands 3 and up is a horse and below is a pony, technically.

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
FilmForceIGN
By Spence D, 2004




"They're sort of unruly these horses and they're already a pretty high-strung breed and we're all packed together knee and once the horses realize what we're up to, they're all wanting to go and they're all wanting to kill each other. I'm on this little horse, which is effective visually because he's strong, but even though he's little he's got all this personality. He's a stallion who thinks he's pretty tough so he's wanting to pick fights. It was really the most worrisome moment in a way of the whole movie, was that, not this full-tilt stuff that was kinda scary at times.'

Viggo Mortensen on the start of the race
Singin' in the Reigns
by Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review, March2004




"He's very smart. He's good at pretending he didn't hear you. He's very lazy. He definitely had a personality! I thought, "This is going to be a chore!"

Singin' in the Reigns
by Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review, March 2004




'You're not going to be able to lie to that horse. You need to ask nicely.'

Singin' in the Reigns
by Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review, March 2004




"On his own, he just came up with one reaction after another that was totally appropriate; whether it was jealousy, or possessiveness, or annoyance, or nagging me, or guilting me."

Interview with Viggo Mortensen
By Jeffrey M Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
11 February 2004




"...it's amazing to me, he picked up all these tricks and did all these things. Even the acting of being really fried and then falling down, a lot of horses wouldn't just fall like a sack of potatoes, they would go down slowly and protect themselves. And then once down, once you're fussing around and there's cameras and this and that and there's a gun and there's all this movement, they wouldn't stay there, you know what I mean? And for a stallion on top of that, they're just gonna be more touchy. And a stallion whose never worked in the movies before. It's incredible what he did. I mean we were really lucky there. It could have been a lot harder."

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
FilmForceIGN
By Spence D, 2004




Of course, this is not to say that the success hasn't gone to the horse's head. "We would finish a scene - I got off T J, and he would follow me around, to make sure he got his close-up," Mortensen laughs.

Hidalgo - Production Notes
Touchstone Pictures
2004




'He wasn't afraid or worried about the lights, camera, or anything. He was totally calm. You know that comic strip Andy Capp? That guy with his hat? I just think of him like that. He would just be there like, 'Whatever.'''

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
FilmForceIGN
By Spence D, 2004




Mortensen was fascinated with the David-versus-Goliath nature of the story. "The odds are stacked against Frank," he continues. "Compared to the Arabian horses, the mustang Hidalgo looks like a little dog. A pony, next to their steeds. But though the race is his redemption, it's not winning the race that's important - it's that Frank is there at all.

Hidalgo - Production Notes
Touchstone Pictures
2004




'He was just a fascinating individual and I wanted to stay in touch with him,' Mortensen says.

Viggo on why he bought TJ
'King' Star Returns To The Screen, Riding High
Star Telegram
By Todd Camp
6 March 2004




Mortensen arrives at the Stephen Cohen Gallery caked in mud, having just been riding T.J., who plays the title role in Hidalgo ….and then washing him and giving him a conditioning treatment. "We don't do that all the time," Mortensen says. "He's not a pretty-boy horse."

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Source: Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004




'I've been lucky with both the horses and the people that I have worked with. The same thing applies to the people as to the horses: if you ask politely and earn their trust and respect, the job is a lot less strenuous and you get better results.'

Viggo Mortensen
Our Kiss Was Just a kiss
By John Millar
Hot Stars
27 March 2004



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© VIggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo



You may have noticed that to amuse myself I've been posting Western photos all week. Maybe because Viggo looks so darned good in Cowboy gear. So to continue the theme I thought I'd take another look at Appalooa (still one of my favourite Viggo films) and Hidalgo (West meets East with horses). All together now.... Yee-ha!





Appaloosa


Are there two more stronger, silenter types in modern movies than Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen?

Richard Crouse
CTV.ca
6 September 2008




Viggo Mortensen follows a classic cowboy code in the Western "Appaloosa": Speak softly and carry a big honkin' gun.

Mortensen Packs a Big Gun
By David Germain
Associated Press
17 September 2008




With his chiseled, windburned, mustachioed face, Mortensen is a dead ringer for men you'd see in an actual frontier photo.

Jim Vejvoda
IGN
18 September 2008




Mortensen's performance is flawless – so real that the film seems more like a look into the past, rather than a fictional slice of entertainment. You can see his power, his strength, and his intelligence as easy as you can see the all-prevalent dusty wind.

Monika Bartyzel
collider.com
8 September 2008
Early Films




"I like characters who find themselves at the brink of change. Everett is in the centre of the transition from anarchy to civil law in America. My characters always stand for crossing a ford. Years ago, Everett studied at West Point but I love imagining him as the black sheep of the family because he has gone West, looking for adventure and he has found it."

Viggo Mortensen
Appaloosa - 5 Questions For Viggo Mortensen
By Antonella Catena - translated by Ewa
Max
16 January 2009




"It's not a revisionist Western," states Mortensen. "It's not a movie about 1882 seen through our eyes as much as it is a picture that's without judgment of people as they seem to have behaved back then. The standards of behavior were very different. In some ways, there were higher standards of politeness and chivalry, but in other ways, people were much more direct and brutal towards each other."

Viggo Mortensen
Appaloosa: Shooting Ed Harris' Western
Emmanuellevy.com
August 2008




Watching Viggo Mortensen positioning himself in grand style in the preparation for the climactic shootout offers visual pleasure as well as reaffirmation of a code of honor that may be too mythical but helps maintain the tradition of the Westerner as a gentleman guided by strong inner conscience and sense of self.

Emmanuel Levy
Emmanuellevy.com
7 September 2008




…as the scene unfolded, Mortensen stood rock solid, waiting to draw his Colt .45. And then his hat went flying away, a Frisbee on steroids. Harris reset the scene, and then cinematographer Dean Semler ("Dances With Wolves") ran out of film. "That's why I like to shoot digitally," he muttered to Harris.

Filming the final scene of Appaloosa
Ed Harris ramrods unconventional western 'Appaloosa'
By John Horn
Los Angeles Times
7 September 2008




Hidalgo


Mortensen was clearly chosen for the role in Hidalgo for more than just his acting skills. He is genuinely concerned with things being done correctly, respectfully, and honestly---and it shows...It is a tribute to the creators of Hidalgo that they chose Viggo Mortensen.

Native Voice Interview with Viggo
by Lise Balk King,
Pine Ridge Reservation
South Dakota
December 2003




'It is good to have a movie that's old-fashioned and treats cowboys with respect. But all that can get lost when you get the 'Oh, I heard it's not true' comments. I can't believe that I had to spend half my time on the press tours dealing with that. My job became primarily to defend the movie's right to exist! It's a movie based on a true event, not a documentary. And it is a hell of a ride. That ought to be good enough - is for most movies - few of which can hold a candle to Hidalgo.'

Viggo Mortensen on the Frank Hopkins controversy
A Visit With Viggo
By Marianne Love
Sandpoint magazine
2004




"I found out a while back that I'm related to Buffalo Bill - distantly, on my mother's mother's side of the family," he says. "It's true: I went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, and saw the records that prove the connection." Mortensen finds J.K. Simmons' performance as Buffalo Bill "terrific" - and it gave him an interesting opportunity to play in scenes with a distant relative.

Viggo Mortensen: The Straight-Shooting Star of the New Western
By Joe Leydon
Cowboys & Indians
April 2004




There is a genre knowingness to a claim like "God didn't make all men equal, Mr. Colt did," but I have to love a movie that lets someone say, "Easy, boys, it's a long way to Damascus." This is not the tin-eared grit of the misbegotten The Missing. Marvel at how Mortensen can all but whisper his lines: "Ain't no money worth a man's life, the way I see it"; "Nobody hurts my horse." He plays tired real good. Idealism resonates all the way through.

Ray Pride
Movie City News
Review Date: March 4, 2004




While the film can waver from itself, Mortensen is steadfast like a throw back to the old school smoldering actors that paraded about the prairies, years ago; sexy and very iconic American cowboy.

Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review
2004




'This film will help shape what people will think about the Old West, the Ghost Dance and Massacre at Wounded Knee, etc., into the future. You've got to be careful. Ten years from now this movie will say more about how we looked at things than it will about the historical things that are touched on in the story of Frank T. Hopkins and Hidalgo.'

Viggo Mortensen
An Interview with Viggo
by Lise Balk King and Frank J King
Native Voice
January 2004



You will find all previous Quotables
here.


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


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Last edited: 14 November 2018 09:47:41