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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

As this is Aragorn Week, we are staying with Strider and the huge impact Viggo had on the production and everyone around him. Can anyone imagine the films without him? Certainly not the cast, production team and crew. Viggo became the glue that held the team together through tough times. The carer that cheered everyone up and encouraged them, a support to Peter and Fran through his dedication to Tolkien, and an inspiration to young actors with his incredible commitment to the film and his work ethic. If Aragorn is the hero who got the Fellowship of the Ring to the Black Gate, then Viggo is the hero who got the Fellowship of the Film to the end of filming.




We knew we were blessed in having Viggo - who is part-Danish descent - step into the role of Aragorn when he arrived carrying a copy of the Volsunga Saga that he had taken from his bookshelf! Viggo not only has an actor's sense of bringing his character to life, but also an innate understanding of 'the warrior code' and Tolkien's philosophy of heroism.

Philippa Boyens
The Making of the Movie Trilogy




'Viggo came late to the project, but he brought a dedication and an understanding of the role that became an example, particularly to the younger cast members. You have to remember that this was Orlando Bloom's first movie. Not only was Viggo valuable in his performance, but he was valuable as a leader of the cast.'

Barrie Osborne
The Lord of the Rings: The Untold Story
By Ian Nathan
Empire
December 2004




"He got this reputation as an eccentric because he would carry his sword around, but I found it quite inspiring. There was a glimmer in his eye - he was aware of how other people were perceiving him - but he really reawakened in me a sense of the possibilities of what it can be as an actor enjoying a role."

Sean Astin
A Fantastic Leap of Faith
by Brent Simon
Entertainment Today, 2001




"At the end of shooting one day, we went out and had a drink and Viggo was just so encouraging of everybody he'd worked with, including the extras. He always had a kind word to say to everyone. And I don't know anyone who has a bad word to say about him. He bought flowers for all the extras on one incredibly rainy day. He was just really generous with his time but he never talked himself up. He's quite shy about talking about his own achievements. They were really lucky they got him for this. He kind of makes the film for me."

Jed Brophy
Viggo Mortensen
by Desmond Sampson
Pavement #62, 2003




Mortensen's humility and generosity turned his Rings co-stars into some of his biggest fans. They tell you of the time when a snowstorm shut down production. The cast was being transported to safety when Mortensen seized a four-wheel drive vehicle and drove back to the set in order to save the hobbits' four-feet-tall scale doubles from getting snowbound.

The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere
January 2003




“There is quiet leadership to him, and it's not intentional, and I think it's simply because he takes care of the people around him."

Wood praises Viggo for quite some time, in these and other ways. Then he interrupts himself, concerned that he is not doing justice to the full complexities of his colleague's character. "We're talking about how much integrity he has and how brilliant he is," says Wood. "He's also completely insane."

Elijah Wood
The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine, 2004




"Viggo commits himself to a project with the same intensity as the filmmakers - which is rare for an actor," the director says. "After the end of a long day's shooting, when all the other cast would be either in bed or in the bar, [partner and co-screenwriter Fran Walsh] and I would be home grappling with the script for the next week's shooting. At midnight, a nine-page handwritten memo would come rattling through the fax from Viggo, outlining his thoughts about that day's work and the next few days to come. He would suggest passages from the book we should look at. This wasn't an exception - over 15 months it became the rule. In the small hours, it was actually comforting to know there was somebody else out there grappling with the same nightmare that we were."

Peter Jackson
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003




"For our love scenes, he would come to me the night before and say he wanted to change all the lines to the Elvish language. He was trying to make that connection stronger, and I thought it was beautiful that they'd speak Elvish to each other because it adds a layer to their history that you wouldn't otherwise see."

Liv Tyler
Mellow Warrior
By Anthony Breznican
South Coast Today
15 December 2003




“…as an actor you can't wish to work with anyone more truthful and more honest than him. He brings an incredible pathos to the role, and I was so pleased to be doing scenes with him."

Sean Bean
A Fantastic Leap of Faith
by Brent Simon
Entertainment Today, 2001




“I’ve been thinking about how much of an influence [Viggo] was on me. He’s so dedicated, disciplined and talented. He taught me a lot. And it was only afterwards that I realised it. It’s funny: you look back on these things 10 years later and ask yourself, ‘Who had a major impact on me?’ As an actor, it was Viggo. I was unpacking a load of boxes recently, recounting old memories, and I remembered how lucky I was that he was around me at that time.”

Orlando Bloom
April 2011
Shortlist.com




"I read an article that said, 'Finally, someone's found the niche for Viggo Mortensen: the rugged hero who has a deep intellect and a great humanity’. That's what Aragorn is, because Viggo has brought that to it. He's very like that as a human being."

Bernard Hill
It's Good to be "King"
by Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today, 2003




“I really don't know what happened myself, but I lost myself completely in the role. I am a man who likes to withdraw into solitude and take long hikes in the woods and mountains. So was Aragorn. We fitted perfectly together.”

Viggo Mortensen
The Lord of the Rings: The Untold Story
By Ian Nathan, Empire
December 2004




"One of the things that appeals to Viggo about Aragorn is that he's not just an action hero," Mr. Jackson continued. "In his own way, Aragorn is just as thoughtful as Viggo. There's a reluctance on his part to become the king he was meant to be. In a sense, that mirrors Viggo's reluctance to become a movie star."

Peter Jackson
The Man Who Would Just As Soon Not Be King
By Sarah Lyall
New York Times, 2003




"In a story like Lord of the Rings, whether the Ring and Sauron are evil is incidental to me. Even if we were not to get the Ring anywhere near Mount Doom. Even if we all died. It doesn't really matter," Mortensen says. "It's the fact that everybody got together and decided to go on this trip. That's the thing. That's the miracle."

Viggo Mortensen
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © New Line Productions, Inc.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

Hasn't it been wonderful to see the LOTR cast back together again for Josh Gad’s ‘One Zoom to Rule Them All’? But of course, Viggo nearly wasn’t amongst them. And I’m not talking about the Zoom reunion but the actual films. Trilogy fans could just have easily been watching them all joshing and reminiscing with Stuart Townsend. Luckily for Tolkien and us, Peter and Fran had the guts to admit a mistake and Fate was kind. After all, there is only One Aragorn to Rule Them All!





Shortly after filming began it was decided that actor Stuart Townsend had been miscast in the role of Aragorn. While mutually agreed, the timing of the decision to recast could scarcely have been worse: Stuart had been preparing with the rest of the Fellowship actors and filming was due to begin on the scenes in which the Hobbits first encounter Aragorn (as Strider) at the Prancing Pony in Bree.

Executive Producer Mark Ordesky takes up the story: "I was in London when I got the call from Peter... We had five days in which to find and cast the right person, make the deal and get him on a plane for New Zealand-for fifteen months! That is an inherently dramatic situation."

For Mark, there was only one contender for the role of Aragorn-Viggo Mortensen: "My wife had seen Viggo in Crimson Tide and pushed me and harangued me to track him down and meet with him. Viggo doesn't 'do lunch' with Hollywood 'suits,' but eventually I got to meet with him and afterward told Peter that I was passionate about finding an opportunity to work with Viggo."

A year later that opportunity arose, but it took brinkmanship to win the day: "We got a 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.

The Making of the Movie Trilogy
By Brian Sibley
Harper Collins
2002




"I guess in the end I did it because I would feel that I had been chicken shit really. I had to leave the next day, so I'm on the plane reading, looking at this gigantic book and thinking, 'What the hell have I done?"

Viggo Mortensen
The Man Who Would Be King
by Nick Dent
Black & White magazine 2001




We knew we were blessed in having Viggo - who is part-Danish descent - step into the role of Aragorn when he arrived carrying a copy of the Volsunga Saga that he had taken from his bookshelf! Viggo not only has an actor's sense of bringing his character to life, but also an innate understanding of 'the warrior code' and Tolkien's philosophy of heroism.

Philippa Boyens
The Making of the Movie Trilogy




"I started reading the Tolkien book on the plane the next day, and about an hour into it or so, I started to see the first signs of things that I recognized: archetypes and storylines, particularly from Nordic sagas. . . . That put me somewhat at ease, and realizing that I was going to get to be part of this saga and be some sort of Viking warrior - a heroic character with all the flaws and self-doubt that the best of those saga heroes had."

Viggo Mortensen
Playing the Hero Suits Mortensen Fine
Philadelphia Enquirer, 2002




And Viggo came on quite late. I'm sure you were designing for Stuart Townsend then?

It was terrifying. I didn't know Viggo. It had been a pretty difficult time working with Stewart and the original design for the costume of Aragorn - the costume when working with Stewart went through a number of radical changes. At the very end of that process, it became again the original costume. And that's only something you discover when you find those old drawings again.

It was something that I really loved. And suddenly, they were like, "Well, Stewart's gone - now we have this guy." So the week before shooting, Viggo walked into my covered wardrobe dressing room and neither of us was saying very much. He's a very quiet person and sometimes I'm a very quiet person - particularly over issues like that. We were like, "I'll get you to put this on and we'll see what happens."

I was standing there and my heart was in my mouth - I was willing to start the process again because I know how much it matters. You cannot act a role like that without feeling like you were in your second skin as that character. And I was certainly prepared to do it, but there was a part of me that was knew we were knee-deep in trouble.

Viggo paced up and down and said, "Do you think we could just put a few more ties on these boots?" And in that moment - I had known the first time he put that costume on that it was ten times better on him and that was actually to do with the amount of - just Viggo's experience and age and life. He imbued that costume with its own life. The terrifying thing for me was that I might have an actor who simply wanted to get rid of it, but he did not do that.

He just wanted to add to it. I was in love with Viggo from the beginning. (laughs)

Ngila Dickson
DVDFILE.com Interview




Who knows, perhaps it was because [Viggo] washed and repaired Aragorn's clothes himself that he so perfectly came to inhabit them-to a point, indeed, where the costume seemed almost to blend with his body. [pause] You know, I really do think that particular costume is incredibly beautiful. It seems funny, perhaps, to talk about something that is so worn and broken down, so darned and patched, as being beautiful-but it is to me.

Ngila Dickson
The Making of the Movie Trilogy




'When Viggo came in, he fitted the bill perfectly as Aragorn, and he also had great ideas. When he picks up the Hobbits in the first film, he has this small hunting bow and arrows, like someone who lived in the wild would have. But that's not something we had ever thought about designing for Strider. That was Viggo's idea. He came in and started talking about the character, and said, 'If I live out in the wild, I'd have a small hunting bow for catching food. It would never be a big deal, maybe you'd just see it while I'm making a campfire.' We said, 'Yes that makes complete sense, we didn't think of that, so let's make you a bow'. It was always great to have those kinds of discussions with the actors.'

Christian Rivers
Hail To The King
By Lawrence French
Starburst #305, 2003




I didn't envy [Mortensen] when he arrived. Viggo walked into a very tense situation, threw himself into his role amazingly and quickly won the respect of everyone on the crew.

Recalling Viggo's first day on set: The filming was going on at the far end of the [Prancing Pony] set when I noticed this figure in a dark hood, smoking a pipe, sitting in another corner of the set altogether. Then I realized: it was Viggo. He wasn't required in the scene, he was just sitting there, observing the vibe, he was actually being Strider, being the outsider, the lonely man in the corner that no one spoke to.

Costa Botes, Video Documentarian
Official Movie Guide




How do you 'dive' into fight scenes?

Well the first day I met the fight choreographer, Bob Anderson, who's been around a long time - he taught Errol Flynn to fence and represented the UK at the Olympics. I went into this room and there were all these stunt people standing there and screaming and yelling. He had them all pumped-up and he stood me in front of them and said "Okay, go!" And they all started running at me, and I was like, "Holy shit!" He said "stop" and they all stopped. Then he told me: "This is what you're going to be dealing with so let's get to work..." He gave me a sword and it was just, like, crazy for two days. The first thing I did on camera was swordplay and I liked it. It was fun.

The Ranger - Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
by Martyn Palmer
Total Film
2002




The first thing I had to do was a swordfight [the confrontation with the Ringwraiths on Weathertop]. Even before I spoke a single word of dialogue, I was forced to confront the physicality of my character. It was probably helpful to do something physical before speaking. More than for any other character, Aragorn's actions speak for him. His choices, the decisions he makes, his physicality, his body, tell you a lot about him. He's a man who throws himself into situations. Which is why it was good to begin my work with a swordfight.

Viggo Mortensen
Official Movie Guide




"I'm still shocked that that was the first thing he did," says Wood, who had an early dinner with Mortensen during which he found him hard to talk with. "But when he started working, there was no question. This was Aragorn, this was the man who was meant to play this role. We had an immense amount of respect for him being able to jump in so quickly."

Elijah Wood on Viggo shooting the Weathertop battle as his first scene
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003




…at least I didn't have much time to get nervous, which was probably good!

Viggo Mortensen
Official Movie Guide




'Ultimately, you create your own luck. Fate does step in. When we ended up with Viggo, fate was dealing us a very kind hand. Viggo, in hindsight, was the one person who was perfect for this film. He came out of nowhere, and suddenly there was Aragorn.'

Peter Jackson
The Lord of the Rings: The Untold Story
By Ian Nathan
Empire
December 2004



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © New Line Productions, Inc.

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More on the recent LOTR reunion from Showbiz Cheat Sheet


Found By: Chrissie



Thanks to Chrissie for the find.
Quote:

'Lord of the Rings': How Viggo Mortensen Impressed the Studio and Saved the Movies

ROTK: LA Premiere - 12.05.03
ROTK: LA Premiere - 12.05.03
Image L Cohen.
© Wire Image.
by Fred Topel

It's impossible to imagine The Lord of the Rings without Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn now. He was actually the last member of the Fellowship of the Ring cast. Stuart Townsend originally had the role but it didn't work out. After that, it really was all riding on Mortensen.

Josh Gad reunited the cast of the Lord of the Rings trilogy along with director Peter Jackson on his YouTube show Reunited Apart. The 50 minute conversation raised money for No Kid Hungry, and Mortensen and Jackson told the story of how he saved the trilogy.

Since Mortensen was replacing another actor, he didn't have much time to prepare. He says his son Henry convinced him to do the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"Well, I am grateful to Henry although he is kind of a pain in the ass," Mortensen joked. "I was worried a bit. You want to contribute so I was a little nervous. Then I started reading the book. I really liked it and I found some things that I could connect with. I was familiar wtih Nordic sagas and fairy tales. I've also read Celtic material and stuff so it wasn't that unfamiliar."

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy gave Mortensen some comfort. Jackson got him started with the scene where Aragorn fights the wraiths.

"I relaxed a bit as I started reading the book but then once I landed I got very nervous all over again," Mortensen said. "I didn't know what would be expected and how soon. Fortunately for me, the first things I had to do were physical, were nonverbal. There was swordfighting."

No one mentioned Townsend by name, but Jackson conveyed how desperate he was to cast Aragorn, having already started filming Lord of the Rings.

"For a moment, you are totally at sea," Jackson said. "You have no one playing this character. Then fate steps in and says, 'God, you stuffed this up but there's one guy who's going to be the perfect person to play this. Just follow me.' We were very lucky."

New Line Cinema took a big risk greenlighting three Lord of the Rings films at once. Jackson said they were rightfully breathing down his neck over the recasting.

"New Line were understandably nervous ,not because of Viggo but because this drama had happened," Jackson said. "We didn't have anybody and then we had Viggo. So we were under strict orders that the second the first day's filming with Viggo was over, we had to dispatch the rushes to America. They were withholding the permission to decide whether we got the right guy or not. Luckily it was fire, wraiths, flames and it blew them away."

This seemed to be the first Mortensen heard about that. Good thing he didn't feel the pressure in 2001.

"So I could've sunk the trilogy on my first day of work," Mortensen joked.

Jackson again called Mortensen's casting fate.

"Well, yeah, but fate was saying, 'For God's sake, don't do a boring dialogue scene. Do something cool that the studio are going to get excited about,'"

© Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Images © WireImage.


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Last edited: 16 September 2020 22:56:02