Sometimes I wonder if Viggo missed his calling. He would have made a terrific Librarian. Books are an essential part of his life - he not only reads pretty much everything (is there a book he hasn't read yet?), he also publishes them, and it was great to see Perceval Press recently honoured by the Spanish Geographical Society for Hijos de la Selva. Books are also essential part of his preparation for roles. Heck, he also makes sure it's a part of fellow actor's preparation too, almost bringing a mobile library to the set.
Image Gregory Smith.
© MK2 Productions.
He publishes books—not just one or two every now and again, but consistently, through an actual publishing house he founded 15 years ago and continues to run.
Viggo Mortensen and the Art of Deliberate Living
By Michael Dunaway
3 August 2016
We just put out the books we want to. It's a kind of," he pauses searching for the word, "thoughtful anarchy."
Viggo Mortensen on Perceval Press
Little Press Shines With Star Power
Susan Salter Reynolds
Los Angeles Times
Last Wednesday the star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and one of my favorite movies, Hidalgo, donated a set of books to each of the 350 Sandpoint High School seniors… Each senior received two books written by Mike Davis: Land of the Mammoths and Pirates, Bats and Dragons. In addition, they received two bookmarks and a handwritten copy of a note from Viggo wishing the students well.
C-P reporter Becky Garrison talked with several students who were moved by the gift.
"I think it's great," said senior Nichole Rench. "I would hope it would be an inspiration. I thought it was really exciting to see him do stuff for our community."
Mortensen's Gift of Books Inspires Sandpoint High School Seniors
By David Keyes
Bonner County Daily Bee
10 February 2006
Mortensen -- in a well-tailored plaid jacket (no grunge look for him) and looking slighter than he does on screen -- leads the way upstairs to the poetry room. He immediately heads for the used-books bin. "I might find something out of print or something I haven't noticed before," he says, perusing titles with experienced eyes.
King of the big screen a champion of poetry: Blake's poetry makes an impression on Mortensen
By Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
20 February 2004
"Viggo is such an amazing guy. He's the gentlest, kindest person you'll ever meet. All the 'family' members got along but I think the strongest bonds that were made were between the kids and Viggo. He would come on set every day with different books for all the kids to read. I ended up having about 10 books that I've never gotten around to reading. He really is a generous, amazingly kind man."
Captain Fantastic and the Sundance Kid
By Matthew Lowe
20 January 2015
'I tend to bring things to films. I find things that are useful for a movie and I usually end up getting along well with the prop man, or the designer. In this film, for example, there are the books that Chester finds in the market... I brought those books.'
Viggo Mortensen talks The Two Faces Of January, singing with Fassbender and throwing a nappy at Al Pacino
By Tom Ward
16 May 2014
'It was such a crazy experience. There were things that were not in the script and you were asked to do on the day, like improvising with Viggo Mortensen [who plays Old Bull Lee], which is quite crazy. He's a very cerebral man. He turned up with these beautiful old antique books from the time, like Baudelaire, and things that his character would have had. He had a bag of goodies that he brought with him and a hat, a tie and a shoulder holster. I thought, 'this guy is f**king cool.' I was quite intimidated.'
Sullivan on Cinema: Sam Riley
By Chris Sullivan
9 June 2011
What did you think of the Beat Generation before the film? Had you already read the book?
"Yes, in the '70s, when I was 17-18 years old and living in America, on the border with Canada. On the Road was an initiation book for many adolescents of my generation, even for me. Much later, I discovered other writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Céline, Rimbaud, Camus ... But I find that Burroughs was the most original, an outsider, a pioneer of the language."
Viggo Mortensen: "Do I look sexy?"
By Simona Coppa - translated by Ollie
9 October 2012
"Viggo will bring props to the set. I mean, he basically does his own set decoration. He'd come in with these rare books — editions that Freud actually had in his own study — and the production designer would say, 'Where did you find these?' "
Viggo Talks and Talks
By Zoe Heller
2 December 2011
How exactly does spending ages hunting down books Freud might have had in his library help his performance?
"It doesn't really help you act, but it helps you make believe. It's a more sophisticated way of doing what a child does when it says, 'I'm going to be a prince', or a milkman. A child doesn't have to be prompted – it has to be for real. As an actor, you have to find a way to believe it for yourself so that others can."
By Lucy Kellaway
10 February 2012
"I arrived on set and there was a library in my trailer."
Charlize Theron, The Road
By Holly Millea
"I read and re-read lots of German authors that someone would have read at the time. Not just German writers, but authors who a literary professor like John Halder might have taught at the time: Proust, Hamsun, American writers. In the movie, you see him in the classroom teaching Proust. I also spent time in Berlin, where I found all the books that you see in John Halder's house and office."
Viggo Mortensen talking about 'Good'
Play It As It Lays
By Philip Berk
"Viggo discovered a set of books called Russian Criminal Tattoo and a doc called Mark of Cain, which was about the tattooing subculture in Russian prisons, and when I saw them my mind was blown completely."
Ties that bind
by Melora Koepke, Hour CA
13 Sept 2007
He was the one who read the most about the Golden Century's history. He sent books and CDs for all his casting colleagues to savour that time - "not to seduce or control what the others did, but to share what I had found out," Mortensen informs.
The Court of Alatriste
By Rocío García, El País Semanal
Translated for V-W by Paddy
6 August 2006
"Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realise how important it is to use the time I have. I respect people who want to do that by watching television. I happen to want to read books." He sighs and looks a bit sad. "But I know I can't read all the books or watch all the movies in one lifetime." Does he find that frustrating? Mortensen fixes me with his intense blue gaze. "Mostly no," he says. "If we could run out of books and movies, then we would be bored."
Viggo Mortensen is lord of all things
24 May 2013