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 mostly being 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?'.
© Touchstone/Buena Vista Pictures.
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.
"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
'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.'
Staci Layne Wilson
American Western Magazine
'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.'
Viggo, Ego and Hidalgo
By Brett Buckalew
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....
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 Sketchbook
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
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
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
"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. . . "
A Man of Many Parts
'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.'
A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
by Scott Thill
'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,
'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.'
Hidalgo: A Filmmaking Journey to the Middle East
By Zaki Hasan
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
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