'Next to León, Madrid isn't anything.'

Source: Diario de León

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Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006
Alatriste: León Premiere 9.1.2006
Image Norberto.
© Diario de León.
 
'Excuse me for saying the following, but, compared with this, Madrid isn't anything.'

Viggo Mortensen became a son of León in his own right yesterday, in part because of his knack of knowing the right thing to say - and compelling way of voicing those thoughts - over the course of the filming. But he definitely gives as good as he gets. He demonstrated this once again on the stage of the Emperor Theatre, where he gave an eloquent speech from the heart, full of sly winks at the Leonese people.

Viggo Mortensen assured us that, in spite of his Argentinean accent, he carries León in his heart - "nobody has treated me better," he said - and says that he would love to return next year to screen the new movie he is about to start filming. 'I would like for it to be here, in this beautiful theatre.' He spoke slowly, dragging out each word in a rhythm like a slow tango, and he recalled the day when he missed a meeting with his producers in order to chat with Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno and confirm that, indeed, he had come all the way here to learn to emulate the Leonese accent. 'I came to Castilla and León and I felt at home here in your country. And my character felt even more comfortable than I did.'

Viggo climbed onto the stage waving a handkerchief that he had kept with him throughout the filming. 'Some things are more important than they appear to be...I realized almost at the end of the movie that these colours were the same as the ones in León's flag,' he remarked.

The director of Diario de León, Fernando Aller, thanked Piva Pinar, the sponsor of the event, for all the tireless labour, and he also expressed his gratitude to those he declared 'the real stars of the movie, Agustín Díaz Yanes, Viggo Mortensen and Elena Anaya. Thank you for making León the focus of the world's attention,' he said. The director recalled how mentions of Viggo became a regular feature in the newspaper, how a phone call one day alerted him to the actor's presence in León, how the actor and Nepo had become great friends.

Fernando Aller told the audience about the hopes of the journalist waiting in San Marcos, the evasiveness of those responsible for the Parador, the sudden instinct that made Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno turn around and see the star of Hidalgo descending the stairs, the trip to Uclés, and details about the actor's time in León. He recapped everything, until arriving at Viggo's famous promise, followed by Agustín Díaz Yanes' own declaration, 'Wherever Viggo goes, I go.'

Diario de León's director especially thanked them both for this gesture and then reminded the audience that yesterday's events coincided with the 100th anniversary of the newspaper. 'Thanks for making us feel like you were one of us,' he said, and after he would be asking Arturo Pérez-Reverte about whether he would have Diego Alatriste born in León in his forthcoming sixth novel.

The actress Elena Anaya was also onstage and thanked the audience for their incessant applause before lauding the tireless work by director Agustín Díaz Yanes. Each speech held high praise for the movie. 'It's a movie that the province should feel proud of,' said Viggo. Fernando Aller took things further by predicting that Alatriste would become a dividing line - a before and after - in the history of Spanish movies.

After the speeches ended and shortly before the movie began, Javier García Prieto, president of León's city council, informed the actor that the council had voted to award him the province's gold medal. The president also commented that he hoped the actor would be able to attend the official award ceremony.

'I'll return soon to honour the commitments I have made to you,' the actor promised as the lights dimmed.
Last edited: 17 September 2006 13:19:24
© Diario de León. Used by permission.