Quotable Viggo 2007-2009


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Quotable Viggo: 3 February 2008

It's time for some more of our weekend quotes from our Quotes Pages and following Viggo's meeting up with Christopher Walken at the SAG Awards I thought I'd start with our favourite devil . Plus, a lovely comment from our good friend Miguel and one journalist's reaction to Viggo's casual dress style. Enjoy!

© Neo Motion Pictures/Overseas Film Group.

His participation in this movie was agreed at a moment's notice. It went all so quickly that he read the script while flying out to Arizona, where the scenes in which Mortensen appears were shot. "I accepted, in part because I had always wanted to work with Christopher Walken," the actor says while sitting on the sofa's edge. His face lights up when saying Walken's name. It's evident that Christopher Walken is a cult actor for many young actors nowadays. "I would do any movie with him, no matter what [it was]."

On "The Prophecy'
Viggo Mortensen: A Very Devilish Devil In The Prophecy
by Ferran Viladevall
La Opinión 1995

Viggo Mortensen is not about the words. He's about being... present. .......

Ray Pride
Movie City News
March 4, 2004

'Many actors tend to think of their work in terms of career - this strange sort of concept that acting is like climbing up a mountain, that they get bigger with each job - and art doesn't move like that. Viggo knows that instinctively.'

Philip Ridley
Super Natural
by Anna David
Daily Telegraph 2002

He doesn't need to wield a sword to be recognized. For those who can see beyond that, his personality stands out from the rest with no need of spotlights. He has his own light.

Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León
by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
translated by Paddy
26 June 2005

"People who are creators create," he says. "People say to me all the time, 'Why don't you just focus on one thing?' And I say, 'Why? Why just one thing? Why can't I do more? Who makes up these rules?"

Viggo Mortensen
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

Viggo bursts through the swinging front door of L.A.'s oldest Irish pub around 11.30 in the morning, wearing a faded blue-and-white-striped button-down shirt and no-nonsense gray pants that a plumber might wear to unclog a drain.

Eats Roadkill, Speaks Danish
by Amy Wallace
Esquire magazine
March 2006

Quotable Viggo: 27 January 2008

With this week's Oscar Nomination it has to be Nikolai, Nikolai and more Nikolai . So here are just a few reminders why this year is Viggo's year:

© Focus Features.

"Viggo is a brilliant actor - beyond what people realize - and I believe that with Eastern Promises that is going to be more evident."

David Cronenberg
Eastern Promises Production Notes
20 August 2007
Source: Focus Features

.....keep your eyes on Mortensen. You could make an entire movie about the way that guy just stands in a room and quietly scans the atmosphere for even the slightest molecular disturbance.

Come to think of it, Eastern Promises may be that movie.

By Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
6 Sept 2007

It's a watershed role for Mortensen and, such is the commitment he offers, it's not too rash to compare his performance to Robert De Niro's Oscar-winning turn as the young Don Corleone in The Godfather Part II.

I've taken on too much...
by James Mottram, The Independent / UK.
23 October 2007

"I think people should see it just for his performance alone."

Naomi Watts on Viggo
Good Morning America
6 Sept 2007

Viggo Mortensen dares you to take your eyes off of him.

Jan Stuart
14 Sept 2007

"Viggo Mortensen gives a great screen performance.........He's completely inside his imaginative world, creating a character using invisible technique. There's a great kind of personal stamp that's idiosyncratic for the character. He explores extreme parameters within the character on his own terms and therefore creates someting entertaining and thrilling for an audience to get involved with on their own imaginative level."

Actor Geoffrey Rush after seeing the film at Tiff
Naked Viggo Mortensen: artist at work
By Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post Film Critic
14 Sept 2007

Viggo Mortensen has one of the most incredible faces in the world, striking and amazingly versatile. His rough-hewn, chiseled visage allows him to inhabit any character he wants to, regardless of background or ethnicity, and we buy into it unconditionally.

Through physical appearance alone, Mortensen can be both 'Lord of the Rings'' rugged warrior and noble king and 'Hidalgo's' half-Lakota cowboy. He was even entirely convincing as an everyman with a shady past in 'A History of Violence.'

It's no surprise then that his turn as a Russian gangster in 'Eastern Promises' is yet another triumph. What is surprising is just how fantastic he is in the role.

Although his acting chops have never been in doubt, what Mortensen accomplishes in the role of Nikolai Luzhin, the driver of a Russian mob family, goes beyond simply good acting - it's a complete transformation. With his flawless Russian accent, tattoo-covered body and a face so sharp it looks like it could cut diamonds, he becomes nearly unrecognizable, even without the use of prosthetics or heavy makeup.

Nikolai is arguably Mortensen's most deeply drawn and accomplished character to date. It's a performance worthy of the highest praise and one that will surely catapult him to the top ranks of in-demand actors...

Andrew Smith
Charleston Gazette
29 Sept 2007

"Viggo's cheap, he's available and he's obedient!" laughs Cronenberg. "And he's got a great chin.'

David Cronenberg
Ties that bind
by Melora Koepke, Hour CA
13 Sept 2007

Quotable Viggo: 20 January 2008

I'm back this week with my selection of quotes from our Quotes Pages after a week's break. I've found some topical ones to go with the recent appearance on Ebay of one of Viggo's old paintings, a 2005 comment on the call to impeachment which tells us all we need to know about why Viggo took the red eye to New Hampshire, an insight into our favourite Walker and my all time favourite reason why we're all hooked on Viggo . Enjoy!

© Miramax Films / Village Roadshow.

'I know that some people are describing Walker as a hippie, but he really wasn't. He was a little older than that generation and probably more influenced by jazz and the beat generation, so that made him maybe a little more open to things. It wasn't just about Woodstock for him.'

Viggo Mortensen on A Walk on the Moon
Viggo Artist & Actor
by Jae-Ha Kim
Cleveland Plain Dealer 1999

'...this doesn't have to do with left wing, right wing, it doesn't have to do with democrat, republican, it's about honesty.'

Viggo Mortensen on his call to impeach Bush
In Contention
Chris Tapley's In Contention blog
6 October 2005

'I played a painter and I needed to have all of this artwork around me, so I asked if I could do some paintings myself. I just went crazy. I couldn't sleep. I did about 45 paintings in two weeks.'

Viggo Mortensen on A Perfect Murder
The Hot New 39-Year-Old
by Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine, 1998

'If I have a day off, I'm not at a Hollywood party. I'm not the type of actor who lives in the press. I'd rather be home in shorts and a T-shirt surrounded by paint brushes, a blank canvas and have a few candles burning as the day fades into the night.'

Superstar Viggo's a serious soul at heart
by Cindy Pearlman,
Chicago Sun Times
9 Sept 2007

Most actors will agree on the value of appearing enigmatic. But there is enigmatic and then there is Viggo Mortensen...

On Viggo Mortensen
By Ryan Gilbey
4 December 2007

He has that incurable, unbearable, enigmatic eroticism of a three in the morning dream you've just awakened from.

Talking With Viggo
George magazine 1999

Quotable Viggo: 6 January 2008

More quotes this week from our Quotes Pages. We have a little snippet on the casting of Tom Stall, an insight into Viggo's flowery side and, on a much more serious note, a couple of quotes on compassion and responsibility that all world leaders would do well to take on board.

© New Line Productions Inc.

Olson said he pictured Mortensen in the role of Stall, something the actor found "flattering and disturbing at the same time." Just to keep the star in line, Cronenberg told him Olson hadn't really written the role for him. "You were second to Brad Pitt."

Cannes Press Conference
National Post Cannes Review
by Chris Knight
17 May 2005

"One of the most valuable things I've been reminded of [working on LotR] is the value of compassion. The importance of mercy. Especially towards people that you don't understand or you have differences with. Understanding that even the smallest person matters. Let's say we're sitting in a restaurant and we're talking about compassion and humility and how bad prejudice is, and the waiter comes over, and you say, 'go away, we're busy talking, can't you see that?' you've blown everything you just said. So it does matter how Merry and Pippin talk to each other. It does matter how I treat my son. It does matter how I deal with a waiter or anybody. It's what each person does and how they react, that's what makes community, what makes a society. It's obvious, but what else is there? and that's what the story tells you."

Viggo Mortensen on LotR
by Emmanuel Itier

"I think it should almost be a requirement that leaders in our world have self-doubt, that they display a certain hesitation in certain situations. I mean, the price of acting rashly in our times, because of the weaponry involved and because of the amount of people involved, is great. And if you don't hesitate or if you don't consider the effects of your thoughts and your actions and your words on others around you as an individual or as a leader of a nation, then it's a dangerous thing."

Viggo Mortensen
A Sense of Finality
by Markus Tschiedert
Green Cine, 2003

"Immersion is essential for me. I consider each film like a new school."

Viggo Mortensen the Insatiable
By Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine
November 2007

Mortensen has a disposition towards an archaeology of emotions, of things that are buried, weathered but surviving along with the rest of us

Kevin Power
Viggo Mortensen: A Life Tracking Itself
Singlanguage 2002

PA: If you were a flower, viggo, what kind would you be?

VM: Today, I'd be one of those spiky little red bottlebrush trees.

Interview with Patricia Arquette
Interview magazine, 1995

Quotable Viggo: 30 December 2007

I'm rather behind with my selection of quotes from our Quotes Pages this weekend. My head really has been elsewhere! But I hope it's not to late for you to enjoy them.

I've started with an interesting insight into our favourite bad boy, Frankie, and ended with confirmation that Viggo looks good anywhere (well, we knew that of course ). In between you'll find my favourite piece of Viggo's writing, musings on inspiration and how to find it and an anecdote about the Finnish and Swedish Winter Olympic teams . Enjoy!

© Westmount.

'Hopefully what will come across is that he does things he does because he's pure, pure good and pure bad,' explains Mortensen. 'I mean, compared to me and most people I know - we kind of have little controls and little ways of limiting our behaviour and our reactions to people. Frank doesn't really do that.'

Sean Penn Bites Back,
By Christopher Connelly
October 1991

The typical Hollywood leading man travels with an entourage between his palatial homes, five-star hotel suites and luxury trailers. He does not disappear alone for two weeks to meet the Russian mafia in the name of research.

Actor joins the underworld's shadowy cast
Ben Hoyle
The Times
October 17, 2007

'Inspiration is a notion, an impulse that has its own shape, before you stumble onto it. If you're in too much of a hurry, you try to tell it what it is, instead of having it tell you what it is. And I think if you do that, you're gonna miss out.'

Viggo Mortensen ('80) Remembers
By Macreena A. Doyle
St. Lawrence University, 2003

'Words were everywhere I looked, filling dreams, giving me names for everything. It was all I could do to keep up with them, catch a few as they drifted through me, fell now and then from clouds, from my eyes to the table, onto my lap or became tangled in horses' manes. Most of the words got away, as they usually will, but at night I regularly managed to gather them in bunches.'

Viggo Mortensen
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading
Houghton Mifflin, 2004

Rove: I know you used to be a translator with, I think, the Swedish Hockey Team in the Winter Olympics?

Viggo: Well, I was meant to be a translator for the Danish Olympic Team but nobody showed up. Literally. And they said "Well, can you understand the Swedes?' I said "I probably can. I'm not sure they can understand me.' But it became...what I really got to do was go to a lot of hockey games with drunken Finns and Swedes...'

Rove Live interview
February 28 2006

....even sitting in a plastic chair under the unflattering glare of fluorescent, in a drab office at Miramar Productions' headquarters in New Zealand, Viggo Mortensen is by far the dishiest bloke ever to have donned a crown.

The King and I, by Julie Hosking
Sunday Telegraph, 2003

Quotable Viggo: 16 December 2007

It's time for more quotes from our Quotes Pages . This week we've got thoughts on acting and the story of how poetry got into GI Jane. Plus my most favourite comment on that Red Suit. Finally - for another point of view on how to sum up Viggo's appeal - Viggo's own description of himself .

© Hollywood Pictures/Trap-Two-Zero.

"I've... seen advertised, teachers saying, 'I'll show you how to not only win in auditions, I'll show you how to win every scene.' You can't win every scene. That's not even a goal. The goal isn't to win anything. The goal is to be there. That's how you tell a story. And so when you're thinking in terms of results, then you're skipping the reaction part, the foundation of good acting."

Viggo Mortensen
Good Fellow
by Jamie Painter Young
Backstage West, 5 January 2004

For Mortensen's first scene, in which his character addresses some 40 prospective SEALs, Scott was looking for something more unusual than a normal drill instructor's spiel. Mortensen brought in a short D. H. Lawrence poem ('I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself...') that the director says showed richer and more intriguing sides of a character whose ensuing act of violence are so horrific that many viewers may not get past them. The poem, in fact becomes a crucial part of the film. For a key scene in which Mortensen's character gives a copy of the book to Demi Moore's character, the actor used his own dog-eared copy.

Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997

"I like to take care of my own problems, shoulder my responsibilities. I don't have a bevy of people assisting me and filtering what I hear or what I say. I'd rather be overworked and underslept and have a good idea of what's going on."

Viggo Mortensen
Q&A with Viggo Mortensen
by Neala Johnson
Herald Sun (Australia), March 8 2007

He speaks with a softness and strength at the same time. The depth of his tenor and the thoughtful, unhurried way in which he expresses himself makes his words a visual, spoken poetry.

Native Voice Interview with Viggo
by Lise Balk King
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
December 2003

"To be an artist is to remain conscious of your surroundings, and I believe that we all have that capacity. Children have it and, as they grow up, they lose it."

Viggo Mortensen
I wouldn't look the Alatristes of today in the eye
By Oskar L. Belategui, translated for V-W by Margarita
Hoy Sociedad
3 September 2006

'Why, it's Aragorn Powers: International Middle-Earth Man of Mystery!'

Comment on the Red Suit
Life&style Magazine
October 2007

When Star asked the actor what he makes of being called a sex symbol, he joked, "I think you should ask Orlando Bloom that question!" Mortensen, it seems, considers himself more geeky than sexy: "They call me the 'Dork of New York'".

Could Viggo Mortensen Be The Perfect Man?
by Nathan Cooper & Mike Glynn
Star, 2003

Quotable Viggo: 9 December 2007

Time for some more quotes from our Quotes Pages . I'm starting with a old review from Robert Ebert which nails one of Viggo's acting talents and gives us a taste of Cronenbergian things to come, plus a great Viggo quip and a thought provoking statement which should challenge all of us.

© Warner Brothers.

Viggo Mortensen undergoes an interesting transformation in his key scene with Douglas; we believe him when he's a nice guy, and we believe him even more when he's not; he doesn't do a big style shift, he simply turns off his people-pleasing face.

Roger Ebert reviewing 'A Perfect Murder'
Chicago Sun-times
June 5, 1998

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 on playing Aragorn
Official Movie Guide

"In the beginning everyone was very obsessed with getting my name changed. 'Viggo Mortensen - that's too long and too strange', they said. I suggested as a joke to change it to "Vic Morton'. That sounds like one of those movie private investigators in the 40's... "Vic Morton, private eye'. No, my name is Viggo Mortensen, I am Viggo Mortensen, and Hollywood will have to live with that'.

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo from Hollywood
by Poul Hoi, M/S (Danish magazine), 2001

Me: We have to talk about women, because you are the sexiest man alive.

Him: So there are a lot of dead men who are sexier?

Eats Roadkill, Speaks Danish
by Amy Wallace
Esquire magazine
March 2006

'He's never different,' the guitarist says. There's a long silence. 'He doesn't seem like he belongs in this time.'

Buckethead on Viggo
Eats Roadkill, Speaks Danish, by Amy Wallace
Esquire magazine
March 2006

'Not speaking something that you know or think is the truth is complicity.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Other Mortensen, by Mariana Enriquez
translated for V-W by Margarita
Página 12,
20 November 2005

Quotable Viggo: 2 December 2007

After our first peek at Hitch and Cole I've got cowboys and horses on my mind so I've come up with a cracking horsey one-liner from Viggo and a reminder that when Hidalgo came out he was seen by some as the successor to the great Western actors of old. That and a treat for closet Carpenters fans.

© Touchstone / Buena Vista Pictures.

When there's action to be had, Mortensen looks like a real pro. He's got the cowboy drawl down pat; shoots a Colt .45 with confidence; delivers sharp one-liners like a kinder, gentler Clint Eastwood; and has a great seat on a horse. Even when the movie gets a little slow--and it does, a 3000-mile desert race will do that to a movie--Mortensen's onscreen appeal saves the day.

Leigh Johnson

It's not as if we haven't seen movies like "Hidalgo" before -- the cowboy, the horse, the hat -- and yet there's something fresh about it all the same. Part of it comes from Viggo Mortensen, an actor who has the measured pace and steady gaze of a Cooper or a Stewart.

Wild West to wild Mideast
Mortensen saddles up as former cowboy racing across desert
Mick LaSalle
Chronicle, 5 March 2004

'...they're terrible at writing, but I look forward to seeing them soon.'

Viggo on his horses in New Zealand
'Ordinary guy' role a treat for Mortensen
By Russell Baillie
New Zealand Herald
March 18 2006

Q: Didn't you live in South America for about nine years as a kid?

A: Yeah, I was 11 when we moved back to the States. I couldn't believe the swear words, the slang, the music - all the kids were into Blue Oyster Cult and Grand Funk Railroad. I was a closet Carpenters fan. I'd sing 'Top of the World' to myself on the way to school, but when I got close to campus I'd shut up.

The Hot New 39-Year-Old
by Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine, 1998

'According to my mother I never went anywhere as a child without a pencil, and I drew all the time. Recently she gave me a notebook with some of my old drawings. I especially noticed one I drew when I was 7 - it was rather wild. On the top it said: 'Little Red Riding Hood', and then there were a lot of oil colours mixed together, almost abstract. I really liked it. But across the drawing it said with a red pen - and underlined: VERY BAD! Some teachers still think that is motivating...'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo from Hollywood,
by Poul Hoi, M/S (Danish magazine), 2001

....despite his serene composure, you sense an invisible thread of unrest hanging off him, just waiting to be pulled. That unrest may be why he paints, writes and takes pictures, and a similar unrest drives his movie counterpart, Aragorn.

A Man Apart
by Ingrid Randoja,
Famous, 2003

Quotable Viggo: 25 November 2007

Here's our regular weekend dollop of tasty quotes from our Quotes Pages. You can tell I've just been cooking, can't you ?

We start off with a glimpse from The Portrait of a Lady and a well-known comment from Sean Penn that has turned out to be true, but which has probably taken a lot longer to come about than he could ever have imagained!

Courtesy of Viggo's Celluloid Haven.
© Polygram Filmed Entertainment.

Jane Campion, who directed The Portrait of a Lady, says Mortensen was shy at first. "Nicole [Kidman] and I had to beat him up. We called him Kiddie just to try and get him to treat us like pals. Of course, eventually we warmed him up so much we couldn't control him."

The Virtuoso Bad Boy Takes a Gentlemanly Turn in The Portrait of a Lady
by Jodie Burke
UK Premiere Magazine 1997

"I remember Sean saying to me on about the sixth week of shooting," Indian producer Phillips recalls, "'Don, Viggo's going to be a humongous star.'"

Don Phillips
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston, Premiere 2003

'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
by Steve Pond, US Magazine #236, 1997

Right now there is a resurgence of the hero but invested with those qualities we are most devoid of. Quite often, most of the time, they are fictional characters that have been wrongly embellished with those things we wanted to see. But at other times, occasionally, the flesh-and-blood hero emerges, stationed on a corner, wandering the streets or simply sharing fragments of his existence. Viggo Mortensen occupies that place of the ultimate present hero.

Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León
by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005

"I am what I am and there is nothing I can do. But I have never changed a bit of myself because of my work or, worse, because of the success I have reached."

A Latin Man Comes From The North
By Riccardo Romani - translated by Cindalea
GQ (Italy), May 2007

Quotable Viggo: 18 November 2007

Time for our weekly quotes and I'm kicking off this selection from our Quotes Pages with a reminder that Cronenberg's relationship with Viggo isn't the first time a director has found him an understanding collaborator who's really prepared to go that extra mile:

© Fugitive Features/Hauskunst/Keytsman Productions.

'Viggo is one of the few people I've worked with who, I feel, is a true kindred spirit. From the moment we first met - when I was casting The Reflecting Skin in Los Angeles - it was as if we'd known each other all our lives. He understands my work totally. By the time we were doing Darkly Noon I hardly had to give him a word of direction. He knew instinctively what I wanted. Just as well really. Because Viggo - being Viggo - decided that, as he was playing a mute, he wouldn't speak at all for the duration of making the film.'

Philip Ridley talking about The Passion of Darkly Noon
Tokyo International Film Festival
From "The American Dreams: Two Screenplays by Philip Ridley'
Methuen 1997

'Viggo himself is a man possessed of both great creative integrity and strong, lucid political conviction. That he has used the fruits of his success as an actor to found Perceval is an extremely rare sort of endeavor but absolutely true to the man himself. There's a paradoxical quality to Viggo - he's a fiercely individual entity with an enviable creative output, but he simultaneously possesses a strong sense of community responsibility. I think Perceval is just one manifestation of that drive to illuminate work by others that might go unnoticed. It's a very, very positive quality, in my opinion.'

David Newsom, Author of "Skip'
Mark Thwaite, March 10 2006

SC: I read somewhere that you had the best walk. What's that about?

VM: Really? (Laughs) I don't know. How do they know? I guess people are standing behind you. Yeah ... watching me walk. What's a good walk? I stay in a straight line, I think. That's a good thing to aim for.

Leggo My Viggo
By Suzan Colon,
Jane magazine 1999

"A movie set is like a ritual, with all the trappings and preparation. I feel like when we go to a set and we rehearse - or not - and we're wearing these costumes and saying these words, it's like an invocation, an invitation to magic, to the unexplained, to let the unexpected to enter into our lives."

Viggo Mortensen
A Fantastic Leap of Faith
By Brent Simon
Entertainment Today, 2001

Why are you an actor?

To fight against forgetting.

I wouldn't look the Alatristes of today in the eye
By Oskar L. Belategui
translated for V-W bu Margarita
Hoy Sociedad
3 September 2006

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Last edited: 15 February 2010 09:13:03