Quotable Viggo 2018

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Quotable Viggo: 8 December 2018

Crows – we know how much Viggo loves them (I do to!) and I was thrilled to get another crow anecdote to add to my collection from all the Green Book promotions. Crows are the totem animal for his beloved San Lorenzo, of course, but he also loves them because they are survivors. And he has a massive tattoo of one proudly inked onto his arm so that he can always carry a crow around with him.

© Stella Pictures.

Here, on this flowering slope, moments after reaching higher ground to better witness carmine-lipped clouds begin to pale and shy away, I was surprised to find you, and nearly stepped on your dislocated wing. Your feathers still shine like running ink, and your eyes see through me in the fading rose light.

On finding a dead crow
From 'Moravia' by Viggo Mortensen

That morning, Ali says, Mortensen had decided to walk to set. "I see this little black thing wrapped in his jacket. He walks in the trailer, I'm sitting in the makeup chair, and I'm like, 'Oh, you got a cat.' And he's like, 'No, it's a crow.' And so everyone's looking, like, 'What the heck is Viggo doing with a crow?' And he's like, 'Yeah, the crow is not well.' Shortly thereafter, he goes back to his trailer. He gets out of his regular shirt, because he needs to be in a tank top to get his makeup done, and he walks back in with the crow, and I see he's got a tattoo on his arm. And I go, 'Viggo, what kind of bird is that on your arm?' And he goes, 'Oh, it's a crow.'" Ali let out a warm laugh. "I turned to his makeup artist, who says, 'Oh he does this all the time, he's always finding crows.' But, like, they just sort of come to him. This crow was on the ground, and it wasn't well. It literally died the next day. He tried to get it to some kind of vet — it didn't make it — but he's got this thing about him that is a little otherworldly. He's this guy with a crow tattoo who attracts crows."

Viggo Mortensen, the Unlikely Leading Man
New York Times
By Thessaly La Force
15 October 2018

For the part [of Nikolai], Mortensen studied with a voice coach, traveled to Russia, and read up on Russian jails. Fascinated by prison tattoos, he sent pictures of them to Cronenberg, who told him to run with it. In the film, he strips down repeatedly (attention, swooning Middle-earth fans) to reveal a ripped body covered in ink. Mortensen… says he realized that "there was a literate bent to some of these--phrases from Russian poems." His favorite is a picture of a black crow and "these words from a really old Russian song: 'Black crow, I'm not ready for you to take me yet.' This film is about survival. And Nikolai, he's not ready to die."

Tattooed Love Thug
New York Magazine
24 August 2007

"I really wanted to ask him about his movies, especially his performance as a Russian mobster in Eastern Promises, which I thought was remarkable," says Casas. "But we started to talk and we always ended up with San Lorenzo. 'Did you see the tattoo I had in that movie? It is a huge crow,' he told us.

The Lord Of The Books
El Argentino -Translation by Graciela
23 June 2009

Canuck the crow, the East Van bird who rides SkyTrains when he's not meddling in crime scenes, now finds himself flying in Hollywood circles. Canuck and I, a 2017 documentary that details the special bond between the crow and Vancouver resident Shawn Bergman, will be screened at the Snowtown Film Festival on Jan. 27 in Watertown, New York. The movie is being included in the festival as a loving nod to Viggo Mortensen, the Academy Award-nominated actor best known for playing the hero Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings franchise, who is native of Watertown and lover of crows.

Vancouver's Canuck the crow now a sought-after film star
Canuck the crow documentary will screen at New York film festival at the request of Viggo Mortensen
Scott Brown
Vancouver Sun
17 January 2018

Thursday, after the speech for the opening of the [San Lorenzo] chapel, he presented his relic: a bronze crow, a unique piece, life-sized, that he'd acquired in New Mexico a couple of years ago. He saw it while filming a modern western with his friend Ed Harris. He bought it, put a plaque on it with the Ciclón logo and presented it before fans and admirers. Those who adore him and see him as a kind of Chosen One, the Aragorn who will free the people (San Lorenzo) from their numerous sorrows, who will fulfill utopias and dreams and who will not be stopped by Sauron himself in all his dark power. Until the world championship is achieved, Viggo, brandishing his invincible sword, will not cease his quest.

Viggo Mortensen - "Above all, I'm a Cuervo... And a greater pride does not exist"
By Eduardo Bejuk - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zooey
April 2010

It was getting late when the Snowtown Film Festival organizers stepped onstage to say they had a couple of surprises in store. First up was a plaque honoring Mortensen with something called the North Country Inspiration to Artists Award. "Does that certificate mean I can go to Watertown Wolves games for free? No, I'm kidding," Mortensen quipped. "I'm kidding. I'm glad to have it". Then, local artist William Salisbury walked onstage holding an original sculpture of a crow. That's Mortensen's favorite animal and it just happens to be one of Watertown's most notorious pests — so, in other words, a little piece of home.

Days after Oscar nod, Viggo Mortensen comes home to Snowtown Film Festival
by Lauren Rosenthal
North Country Public Radio
31 January 2017

"When you were a kid, what'd you want to be when you grew up?"

"A crow was probably what I wanted to be most of all."

"Really? Why is that? What is it about crows?

"They're survivors. They can live anywhere. They're very self-sufficient. They're very resourceful. They're adaptable."

"That sounds like you."

"Yeah!" he laughed.

Viggo Mortensen: Making peace with the camera
By Tracy Smith
11 December 2016

"… and they are kind of treacherous; they'll steal from you," he said. "They are opportunists and they can handle anything. It seems like they are invincible … and they are beautiful."

Vancouver's Canuck the crow now a sought-after film star
Canuck the crow documentary will screen at New York film festival at the request of Viggo Mortensen
Scott Brown
Vancouver Sun
17 January 2018

Quotable Viggo: 1 November 2018

For what seems like forever Viggo has only been offered deeply serious dramatic roles, despite being a very funny guy and definitely up for playing in a comedy. But finally his moment has come in Green Book – a film which isn't strictly a comedy but where he and Ali have injected a huge amount of humour. But, of course, there was also some wry humour sneaked into Captain Fantastic and Appaloosa, and he managed to find even more of it in A Dangerous Method where he portrayed Freud with a sophisticated wit. It's great to see him finally given license to let loose those 'silly genes' that Aunt Tulle talked about.

© Universal.

'I've never been offered comedy and don't know why. But sometimes I subtly slip ironic touches into my roles.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Multi-talented Hero
Dominical, by J. A. - translated for V-W by NacidaLibre
27 August 2006

"Good luck talking someone into that: 'History of Violence, The Road – that guy? Forget it.'"

Viggo after the interviewer suggests a comedy
On the Road, signs of the apocalypse hit home
Johanna Schneller
Globe and Mail
27 November 2009

The role is a game-changer for an actor, whose dramatic chops are a given (see his Academy nods for Eastern Promises and Captain Fantastic) but proves he's got a real flair for comedy that feels revelatory. He and Ali could take their own double act on the road.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
12 November 2018

'This story was good on paper, but it's way better on screen. It was nuanced stuff that they came up with, that they tried, that I was like 'Oh my God, this is hilarious.' This is not a funny script, but it's a hilarious movie, and it's because of their performances.'

Green Book' Director Says Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali Turned Serious Story Into "Hilarious" Movie
by Alex Cramer
The Hollywood Reporter
11 November 2018

They're two supremely talented dramatic actors, and their performances here scream out, "Oh we got jokes too!"

Victor Stiff
The Playlist
12 September 2018

We seldom get to see Mortensen in comic roles, but his goofy, sideways smile seems perfectly suited to this one, making it hard — even when he's saying things that are nowhere near politically correct — to dislike the guy for long.

Peter Debruge
11 September 2018

"He's surprisingly hilarious. The first time I met him, he was reserved. It was in an elevator. I was like, 'Hi.' He was like, 'Oh, hi.' I learned later he was very shy. So I was nervous, even a little scared, to work with him. I thought, 'This is going to be intense.' Then I got the whole other side, which I don't think many people know. He should do comedy, I've told him that... I'm sure he wouldn't be happy with people knowing how funny he is."

Kirsten Dunst
By Ajesh Patalay
Harper's Bazaar
May 2014

Viggo and I tried to find the comedy in [A Dangerous Method], as much as possible. That was fun. I've always been a massive fan of him. He's an impressive human being.

Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender Explores A Dangerous Method with Movie Fanatic
by Joel D Amos
25 November 2011

I realized from the research is that [Freud] was very funny. He doesn't crack jokes in an obvious way, but he found a way to slip that wit and that irony into things, and in some sense, I guess that character is the comic relief in the movie. The humor helped make Freud feel like not such an impossible task to play…

Viggo Mortensen Wants the Oscars to Start Noticing David Cronenbe
By Kyle Buchanan
New York Magazine
22 November 2011

Mortensen gives a wonderfully subtle comic performance [as Freud]. He wears a complacent look under his mustache and goatee, and he waves his inevitable cigar like a scepter. He smiles benevolently at his young colleague but you can see tiny lines of tension around his mouth whenever Jung strays beyond the lines of his dogma…

Steve Vineberg
Critics at Large
27 February 2012

As always Mortensen – in his third film with Cronenberg after A History of Violence and Eastern Promises – dominates the film and brings a much needed sly humour to the proceedings.

Mark Adams
Screen Daily
3 September 2011

He's quite funny too, in a droll and sarcastic sort of way, savoring Freud's many witticisms. This is a Viggo you don't think of when you think of Viggo.

Joshua Miller
21 October 2011

Magnetic, charming and funny [in Captain Fantastic], as well as tenacious and kind, Mortensen easily leads this cast to greatness.

Brogen Hayes
17 May 2016

….a perfect, dryly comic Viggo Mortensen.

Appaloosa review
Tom Hall
The Back Row Manifesto
6 September 2008

Quotable Viggo: 24 November 2018

No film part Viggo accepts is ever a walk in the park – in Green Book Viggo had to eat his way into the role to play Tony Lip. So here is an occasionally slightly tongue-in-cheek look at some of the prodigious lengths he is prepared to go to for the sake of a good movie.

© Bleecker Street

Green Book – bulking up

"I became as fat as a tick."

Viggo Mortensen, the Unlikely Leading Man
New York Times
By Thessaly La Force
15 October 2018

Captain Fantastic – rock climbing

"When everyone climbed down for lunch, I was still standing up there," he said, laughing. "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

Loin des Hommes – learning Arabic

I worked for months and in Spain, where I live, I found someone who was from North Africa, and he helped me a lot. I looked at the whole script, and I made sure I could say it all in Arabic and made sure it was Arabic from that region.

Venice: Viggo Mortensen Talks Mastering New Languages
by Ariston Anderson
Hollywood Reporter
2 September 2014

Jauja – conquering wild Patagonia while inappropriately dressed

'Sometimes it was quite awkward and tiring to tramp around in that heavy greatcoat, wearing those slippery-soled riding boots, tripping over that saber. But I found that all of that helped me construct a sort of Danish Don Quixote, a man who has no idea how clumsy he seems in those landscapes, once he is off his horse.'

Mortensen plays a Danish engineer in Patagonia
by Pam Grady
San Francisco Chronicle
14 May 2015

Two Faces of January – coping with the crushing heat of Crete

"It was a vintage bus, a 1959 Mercedes bus, and the seats were red leather, beautiful seats. But it was so hot, and we were sweating so much that when I stood up, all the dye from the seats got on it, so I had this big red ass."

Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst Experienced the Downside of Wearing Vintage Costumes in The Two Faces of January
By Bennett Marcus
Vanity Fair
17 September 2014

Todos Tenemos Un Plan - playing twins one of whom becomes the other one half-way through the film

"You're playing a guy who doesn't play the other guy well. You're trying to do it in a way where you're not being overtly comical or exaggerating too much."

Viggo Mortensen: Why Don't Spanish-Language Films Get Any Respect?
By Lucas Shaw
Yahoo Movies
23 March 2013

A Dangerous Method – slipping into Sigmund Freud

"If I hadn't known that David was kind of crazy already I would have felt he was definitely insane…"

Viggo on being asked to play Freud
TIFF video interview
11 September 2011

The Road – surviving a watery Apocolypse

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

Appaloosa – taming a big honking gun

"When I first had it, I said, `Do you really need it to be an eight-gauge, Ed?' It's not that manageable, it's not going to be accurate at much distance. I said, `I'm not going to shoot that thing off a horse, because I'd get blown off the horse, realistically.'"

Mortensen Packs a Big Gun
By David Germain
Associated Press
17 September 200

Good – wearing THAT uniform

'I did not like it, I felt uncomfortable. The first time I tried it on, I told the costume designer: "Is the hat that tight, are the boots that stiff?" I realized I felt bad because of the meaning I assigned to that uniform.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Dark Side Of The Hero
By Walder & Castro - translated by Graciela, Remolina and Zooey
Marie Claire (Spain)
June 2009

Eastern Promises – running around naked in a bathhouse full of assassins

"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

Alatriste – bye bye Hollywood, hola España

"Some people in Spain thought it was strange that I came to do this story. In the United States, some people asked me why I was going to do this. I answered them that the script was very good, that it was the best thing I had ever read; that not only did I like the story of Alatriste, but also the period. It's a valuable project, an interesting character, a historical period that is very unknown outside the academic world. '

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

A History of Violence – going over to the Dark Side

"I dunno, maybe I'm channeling some barbaric ancestor or something."

Viggo Mortensen on his convincing performance
E online
22 Sept 2005

Hidalgo – hold your horses

"I've always liked to ride, and it sort of reminds me of when I was a little boy. When you're a kid, you're kind of fearless. You can get afraid of things, but you're not as conscious of your mortality or of getting hurt as when you're an older guy and you're kind of like, 'Well, you know, if I come off goin' full tilt...this is gonna hurt.'"

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

Lord of the Rings – the show must go on…

"On the fifth take, Viggo kicked the helmet, screamed, clenched his fists and dropped to his knees. I thought he was just doing some powerful acting. But then I noticed after I said 'cut' that he wasn't saying anything. Finally, he did the next scene limping."

Once they had finished filming, Jackson made the actor take off his boot.

"His toes were broken. Normally, an actor would yell 'ow!' if they hurt themselves, and stop the scene. Viggo turned a broken toe into a performance that's a great moment in the film."

Two Towers 'bloodier, more compelling'
New Zealand Herald
7 December 2002

Quotable Viggo: 17 November 2018

There has been so much Green Book publicity, so many articles, reviews, interviews, I expect we are all feeling dizzy (I definitely am!). So here is a little quotes round up, continuing on from the one I did when the film first came out. It's mixture of comments and reviews, and one thing is clear – Viggo and Ali are a comedy and acting match made in heaven.

© Patti Perret/Universal

"It is one of the finest original screenplays I've ever read," he states. "Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Pete Farrelly managed to balance sparkling dialogue, often very funny scenes, a road movie and a sociopolitical cautionary tale in an inspired, dramatically satisfying true story about an unexpected friendship. They made a very difficult writing task look easy. I feel fortunate to be part of this movie."

Viggo Mortensen
The Book of Viggo
By Shana Nys Dambrot
LA Weekly
1 November 2018

Mortensen said he had loved the script but at first had been reluctant to take the role, because he wasn't sure he could pull off an Italian-American character. "I wasn't sure I was the right guy, I thought it was a bit of a stretch." But in the same way David Cronenberg had convinced him he could take a risk playing Freud in A Dangerous Method, he believed in Farrelly's faith in him. "Sometimes it's good to get over yourself and realise it's not all about me and what I'm afraid of, this guy [Farrelly] has a vision and he doesn't want to make a bad movie. I had to trust that."

Peter Farrelly, Viggo Mortensen talk 'Green Book' at Zurich opening
By Wendy Mitchell
Screen Daily
28 September 2018

"He's Viggo Mortensen…it didn't even occur to me that he couldn't pull it off. I wasn't hoping he could do it, I knew he could do it."

Director Peter Farrelly
Peter Farrelly, Viggo Mortensen talk 'Green Book' at Zurich opening
By Wendy Mitchell
Screen Daily
28 September 2018

…once we had Viggo we had the pick of the litter because anyone wants to work with him. So we said, "Who do we want? How about that guy Mahershala Ali? He was good in Moonlight." Boom.

Director Peter Farrelly
Green Book: Peter Farrelly brings powerful story of an unlikely friendship to the big screen
By Sean Kelly
31 October 2018

"It honestly was just like having an extraordinary dance partner," Ali told me of his experience filming "Green Book" with Mortensen.

Viggo Mortensen, the Unlikely Leading Man
New York Times
By Thessaly La Force
15 October 2018

'This story was good on paper, but it's way better on screen. It was nuanced stuff that they came up with, that they tried, that I was like 'Oh my God, this is hilarious.' This is not a funny script, but it's a hilarious movie, and it's because of their performances.'

Peter Farrelly
Green Book' Director Says Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali Turned Serious Story Into "Hilarious" Movie
by Alex Cramer
The Hollywood Reporter
11 November 2018

[Viggo] spent time with the family of the real Tony Lip, especially with Lip's son, Nick Vallelonga, who co-wrote the script with Farrelly and Brian Hayes Currie. "I was like, 'What were his favorite things to do?'" Mortensen says. "Nick was like, 'He loved everything! He could dance with two women at the same time; he'd swim in the Hudson River; he never lost when he was playing cards. There was nothing he could do that he wasn't good at!' So then I asked, 'What was his favorite?' 'Eating and smoking.' 'Eating and smoking. At the same time?' 'Sometimes!'"

Viggo Mortensen, the Unlikely Leading Man
New York Times
By Thessaly La Force
15 October 2018

Peter Farrelly: "He gained 25 initially for the role because Tony Lip is supposed to be a bouncer, a burly guy. Plus, Viggo was pounding weights. You bulked up. He was up 25 when we started, but he kept eating and eating."

Blame the cuisine of New Orleans, where most of the film was shot. As Mortensen says, "It was a lot of fun putting it on, but less fun taking it off."

3 things to know before road-trip flick 'Green Book' pulls into town
By Susan Wloszczyna
Gold Derby
7 November 2018

"I became as fat as a tick."

Viggo Mortensen, the Unlikely Leading Man
New York Times
By Thessaly La Force
15 October 2018

"Maybe people who are a little bit racist will watch it and enjoy it and laugh and get the entertainment value, and maybe just a little tiny light bulb will come on…I think there will be people who will walk out of this movie who have prejudices that might change."

Viggo Mortensen
Director Peter Farrelly
Peter Farrelly, Viggo Mortensen talk 'Green Book' at Zurich opening
By Wendy Mitchell
Screen Daily
28 September 2018

"The movie says to me we all have similar needs. We all have a desire, a need to be respected for who we are, wherever we're from, whatever we look like, whatever our education level is," Mortensen said. "Everybody deserves a hearing."

Mortensen thought twice about bouncer role in 'Green Book'
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
28 September 2018

Mortensen, plump as a mortadella, doesn't so much transcend the ethnic clichés of the role as chew through them, emerging into a zone of vaudevillian poetry.

A O Scott
New York Times
15 November 2018

Mortensen is terrific, having beefed up by 30 pounds to play this bruiser with a Bronx honk and the dazed realization that his fists can't change a damn thing. Sure, Tony roughs up white hypocrites who applaud the musician onstage and then bar him from their restaurants. But don't mistake him for another white savior. The role is a game-changer for an actor, whose dramatic chops are a given (see his Academy nods for Eastern Promises and Captain Fantastic) but proves he's got a real flair for comedy that feels revelatory. He and Ali could take their own double act on the road.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
12 November 2018

While Farrelly provides the vehicle, the engine is the star power and talent of the Oscar-winning Ali and Oscar-nominated Mortensen. Together, they combust!

…Tony Lip is not Mortensen by another name. This is a committed actor giving the character his all — as usual. Whether he's playing fantasy hero Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, a Russian mobster in Eastern Promises or Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method, this hard-researching actor always strives for authenticity. He's funny. He's charming. He's passionate.

Why Racial Inequality in "Green Book" Resonates So Deeply Today
By Thelma Adams
7 November 2018

Ali and Mortensen are comedic revelations. Their chemistry is fantastic and both of them get a goldmine of great lines. Mortensen, in particular, is absolutely incredible here, completely disappearing into the role and making a very, very strong play for the Lead Actor prizes come awards season. It's the best he's been since probably Eastern Promises, bringing Tony to nuanced, three-dimensional life.

Jack Blackwell
One Room With A View
15 October 2018

And here's Viggo and we have Mahershala. What a pairing. You can't get better than that.

Peter Farrelly: There is no better pairing in the country, in the world. No matter what you think of the movie, no movie has two better actors than this.

I agree. Absolutely.

Middleburg Film Festival: Interview – Peter Farrelly and Viggo Mortensen On Green Book's Casting
Jazz Tangcay
Awards Daily
25 October 2018

Quotable Viggo: 10 November 2018

I loved Peter Farrelly's comment his week about Viggo being picky, saying that he wanted 'the picky guy'. It reminded me of a quote from the Playlist which said that Viggo was 'pickier than a five year-old at a salad bar'. Picky is good, it means that every film Viggo chooses to be in is going to be good because the only thing that can really seduce him is an interesting story, a new challenge and a great script.

© Shane Partlow.

Viggo Mortensen -- who is pickier than a five year-old at a salad bar…

The Playlist commenting on how selective Viggo is choosing films.
Kevin Jagernauth
The Playlist
29 June 2012

"As an actor, whether you're well-known or not, the only real power you have is to say no, thank you. There are more things to say no, thank you to if you're in a movie that does as well as Lord of the Rings."

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

"He reminds me of De Niro in his early career when he'd do a movie every three years or so. You couldn't wait and it was going to be an event. We were worried he was not going to do this movie. Our agents and everyone said we were going down a dead end. They said, "He's a picky guy?" and I didn't care. Did I want to go to someone who wasn't picky? I want the picky guy. The only reason the film got made was because we got him."

Peter Farrelly
Middleburg Film Festival: Interview – Peter Farrelly and Viggo Mortensen On Green Book's Casting
Jazz Tangcay
Awards Daily
25 October 2018

...he did something truly bizarre by Hollywood standards. He had the world by the balls, with his pick of roles—big studio stuff, Clooney kind of stuff, paycheck stuff. He turned all of it down, choosing instead to do what he wanted to do, little of which was lucrative. "I mean, how much ****ing money do you need?" he asks.

Why Viggo Mortensen Is Off the Grid
By Lisa DePaulo
25 May 2016

Viggo is highly selective and his dedication to storytelling is unparalleled. He's a rare artist..

Matt Ross
Matt Ross may play a greedy tech titan in 'Silicon Valley,' but in Berkeley he's just a regular guy
Frances Dinkelspiel
15 April 2015

"Sure, we thought he was going to make it after The Indian Runner," [Don] Phillips says. "Viggo's turned down quite a few things that might have made a difference in his life because he just didn't connect with them creatively. Viggo is his own man. He's not dictated by the Hollywood horseshit machine."

Don Phillips
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston,
Premiere 2003

How did you get Viggo onboard?

In my seduction of Viggo, who's very picky about his films, I flew to LA and one of the elements of the seduction was to discuss the political undertones of the movie. If you work with an actor like Viggo, the discussions go very deep and the anticipations of people's reactions to what you're doing is very deep.

David Cronenberg – A History of Violence
Chris in Cannes
Cannes Film Festival Report
15 may 2005

"Viggo was very deliberate and thoughtful before he chose to do this movie," points out producer Chris Bender. "He met with David a number of times. He really wanted to understand the script and the transformation his character undergoes, it was really about him falling in love with this character before he decided to do it."

A History of Violence - Cannes Film Festival 2005 Press Kit

Is it true that you almost turned down The Road?

Yes, I was very tired, and I did not want to accept the role unless I felt I was capable of giving it my best. But then I changed my mind because the story was really good and the topic is one everybody can relate to. Besides, my being exhausted fit the role perfectly. It is about a man who, in some sense, is dying of exhaustion, so the result was very interesting.

Viggo Mortensen Under The Spotlight
Selecciones Magazine
March 2009
Translated for V-W by Graciela

"We got a [Lord of the Rings] script to Viggo and his reaction was to say no! It took three more days to convince him. At the eleventh hour, Viggo Mortensen arrived in Wellington, joined the already bonded cast and stepped into filming almost as unexpectedly as his character, the mysterious and unknown Strider, appears in the story."

Executive Producer Mark Ordesky
LOTR - The Making of the Movie Trilogy
By Brian Sibley
Harper Collins

"If you are both really talented and, deep down, a very core artist like Viggo, in the end you cannot swallow the bile, the bad scripts, the rest of it," says Rhys-Davies. "Eventually you just have to say, I could make this dross work, but I don't have enough time left in my life to do it. And Viggo could earn his crust with his art, so he doesn't have to stay. How long this industry will be able to keep him is up to the quality of the material. We are very lucky to have him now."

John Rhys-Davies
Viggo Trip
by Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39, 2002

"For me, there was no doubt that Mortensen was going to have great career after the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. But he didn't wait for this saga to be excellent, he always made very good career choices, he always took very interesting options. Personally, I find him excellent in The Indian Runner. He is very fastidious in his choices and it is totally apparent in his roles, in a way that I admire… I wish only one thing for Viggo: that he continues to cut a path in this medium, because the medium needs actors of his caliber, who make films of course, for the public, but also for themselves, their own personal enlightening."

Elijah Wood on Viggo Mortensen
By Clément Cuyer, Allocine
14 novembre 2007

His contempt for actors who engage in superfluous acts of self-promotion… extends to actors who appear in dopey blockbuster movies, just for the paycheck. "Sometimes you look at a movie and you can see that the actor or actress said, 'I'm taking this onboard because I'm making a ton of money, and not because it's going to be something special,' " he said, sounding scandalized.

Viggo Talks and Talks
By Zoe Heller
T Magazine
2 December 2011

"I'm not in this to be famous, or to make lots and lots of money; I want every film I make to be a learning experience, something that makes me wiser and mentally healthier afterwards. If I'd signed up for the scripts I was being sent, I'd merely be wealthier, but I certainly wouldn't be healthier."

Viggo Mortensen
Long Live the King
by Paul Byrne
Wow.ie, 2004

Quotable Viggo: 3 November 2018

On November 10th Viggo will be given the Alexander Garrett Award for Service to Beyond Baroque, celebrating his long association with this literary and arts centre, which was established in 1968. Not only does Viggo have a long history of live poetry readings – his own and other poets' work - and exhibitions there (One Man's Meat in 1999), but he has given unstinting support when needed. I loved director Richard Modiano's comment that, to him, Viggo is 'a poet foremost'. I think it's a great way to sum up Viggo's artistic output because poetry doesn't just have to be about words. His acting, his art, his music, his photography all has the poetic about it – a sensitive narrative of life gracefully and sensitively interpreted.

Midnight Special Benefit Poetry Reading - Beyond Baroque 2003
© HB Carlos.

"Many funding sources had dried up and I reached out to Viggo for help — which came immediately. To me Viggo is a poet foremost — I know his work from the days of Cafe Iguana and the Onyx Cafe; and of course he polished his poetry chops in the Wednesday Night Poetry Workshops."

Beyond Baroque director Richard Modiano
The Book of Viggo
By Shana Nys Dambrot
LA Weekly
1 November 2018

Most of you out there are more than likely familiar with Viggo the actor, star of films like The Indian Runner, Crimson Tide, G.I. Jane, The Reflecting Skin, and Carlito's Way among others... but we here in Bumville know him as poet and angel. Viggo has been very actively involved in the reclamation of Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, Ca. for a few years now and has been an active voice on the L.A. poetry scene as well. When The Carma Bums kicked off their Twisted Tour of Words in '96 at Luna Park in West L.A., Viggo came to see the show and wish us all bon voyage and ultimately helped us with artistic assist of our video/film The Luxurious Tigers Of Obnoxious Agreement.

For The Carma Bums
Carma Bums

'A lot of people that were here tonight said something about their writing, but were too embarrassed by it. And I'd ask them about what they write and encourage them to pursue it. People sometimes seem to feel that poetry is just this little thing you do privately, like your diary. But in reality it's something that you can work at in many ways, that you can share, that you can take as far as you like.'

Viggo Mortensen at the Midnight Special reading
A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
by Scott Thill
Morphizm 2002

The author of two published books of poetry, Mortensen crafts spare, fine-tuned verses that end with the sharp report of a metaphor hitting its target. Most paint a languid picture of West Coast suburban life a milieu of cars, swimming pools and lovers' conversations; some ruminate on the life of the movie actor with surprising acuity.

The Man Who Would Be King
by Nick Dent
Black & White Magazine

'A teacher gave me the taste for poetry. I like the discipline it imposes, I like the reign of precision and the perfect word.'

Viggo Mortensen: "Travelling is the best anti-war weapon"
By Yetty Hagendorf - translated by Donna Marie
Le Soir (Belgium)
2 February 2015

'To write a good poem requires discipline, discretion and precision.'

Viggo Mortensen: "You must live your contradictions"
by Olivier Cariguel
Le Magazine Litteraire
March 2015

"For me, it's like taking apart an engine. You take all the pieces, you put them on a table and when you finish putting it together, you leave some of them aside."

Viggo on writing poetry
"Writing and acting are like being a kid again"
By Eduardo Bejuk
Gente Magazine – translated by Zooey
September 2009

"For me, music and poetry together mean something. When I feel something, I write. When I write, I think of a melody,"…

..he reads poems by Fabián Casas, like, for instance, "Sin llaves y a oscuras" [Without Keys and in the Dark], one by Bosnian poet Izet Sarajilic, or "Elogi de la discreció "[In Praise of Discretion], by Catalan poet Anna Rossell. With this last poem, the audience surrenders completely to the actor and applauds with great enthusiasm.

Romea Theatre poetry reading with pianist Rafel Plana
Viggo Mortensen Seduces at the Romea
By Griselda Oliver - translated by Ollie
26 February 2015

…in my performance [at the Romea Theatre] I read recent poems or some that I wrote years ago. Every time I read them, they come out in a different way. But I always remember where and how the poem in question came to be.

"Poetry is an art that will never disappear."
By Lluis Arcalis and Teresa Marquez translated by Ollie and Zoe
El Punt Avui
1 March 2016

'He kept a lot of his poetry inside his refrigerator,' says Cervenkova, 'which endeared him to me forever.'

Exene Cervenkova
Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997

To Viggo, poetry is a way to leave reality behind in order to reach another, purer reality, away from those commonplace moments and the difficult situations for which there's no apparent relief. Poetry, to him, is a way to put the world into perspective.

About Them... "I like a brave woman"
By Salvador Llopart - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zooey
La Vanguardia
14 March 2010

His poetry and prose are taut and gripping - the outpourings of a genuine talent, not a bored dilettante.

Understated A-lister Viggo Mortensen tells our reporter about his new cult hit 'Captain Fantastic' - and why it's impossible to be the perfect parent
by Ed Power
Irish Independent
31 August 2016

'I don't have to wait on other people as to whether I'm allowed to work, and it's up to me if I want to ruin it in the editing.'

Viggo Mortensen on writing poetry
Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997

"Poetry is an art that will never disappear; it will always exist."

Poetry is an art that will never disappear
By Lluis Arcalis and Teresa Marquez translated by Ollie and Zoe
El Punt Avui
1 March 2016

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Last edited: 8 December 2018 11:08:54