Quotable Viggo 2007-2009


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Quotable Viggo: 31 July 2009

We're finally getting nearer the release of The Road and anticipating all those interviews where Viggo will give us his distilled thoughts on the film, what it means to him and what he hopes it will mean to the audiences that watch it. I'm guessing it will centre around the agony of parenthood in a dangerous and changing world, along with the message that we should take care of the world we have for our children's sake. Going back over past film interviews they always gravitate around a central point that sums up the film. For Good it was "pay attention', for Appaloosa it was "trust', for Hidalgo "common ground between cultures', for Alatriste the key word was "pride'. In A History of Violence it was the whole complexity of concealment. For me, the quotes that follow are those that really get to the heart of each film.

© Focus Features: Image Brigitte Lancombe / Interview Magazine / TFI / Estudios Picasso / Origen Producciones.

The Road

'It's an extreme version of what every half-way decent parent goes through, worrying about their children's well-being, that they will grow up to be adults and take care of themselves, so you can leave the world knowing your kids are going to be safe. It's more extreme here, but it's the same worry. If I go, this kid is completely alone. It's every parent's nightmare.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen: A Man Apart
Dave Calhoun
AnOther Man
Issue 7 Autumn/Winter 2008


"When we put the frog in hot water, it will jump out of it; but if we put it in cold water and heat it up slowly, the frog will be cooked before it notices. This is what happens to Halder; and it could happen to all of us if we don't pay attention,"

Viggo Mortensen
17 December 2008


"I think Cole trusts Hitch more than anyone else in the world, specifically because Hitch is very honest with him, even when it's difficult to bring certain things to Cole's attention," says the actor. "That is my definition of a good friend: somebody who is brave enough to tell you the truth even when it's not what you want to hear."

Viggo Mortensen
Emmanuel Levy
August 2008

Eastern Promises

'To me it's a movie about kindness and compassion and self-sacrifice,' he said. 'Nikolai is a man who holds hope and compassion next to his despair and fear. In this increasingly complicated and confusing world, there are people even in the darkest realms who will nonetheless do the right thing.

Just because it is the right thing.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Violent Tour De Force
By Robert W Butler
Kansas City Star
15 September 2007


"If I had to pick a word that sums up the movie and the characters and their trajectories and dilemmas," says Mortensen, "it's pride. It's true of the country, of the characters, of the complicated relationships. They are beautiful for their pride and they are tragic for their pride."

Viggo Mortensen
Mortensen immersed himself in 17th-century Spain
By Philippa Hawker
theage.com.au, March 2, 2007

A History of Violence

"The Stall family is monstrous because it's too normal. That effort to make everything work well, of being extra careful...there's always a little power game. There's a great deal beneath what one appears to be as a parent, a couple, a son. It's the effort to conceal that is disturbing."

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


It is clear that for Viggo Mortensen, his experience in the Middle East while filming Hidalgo holds a special place in his heart. 'There's so much violence happening in the world right now, it's harder for people to reach out and understand...I personally think common ground exists between all of us all the time. It's there.' The actor pauses, 'You're not obligated to find out what you have in common with others, but it's worth it!'

Viggo Mortensen
Hidalgo: A Filmmaking Journey to the Middle East
By Zaki Hasan
Q-NEWS Magazine (www.q-news.com), April 2004

The Lord of the Rings

'In the end, I think that the most important theme in the story for Tolkien was the exercise of free will, choice. And even though Tolkien was a devout Christian, the cosmology of this story is like Nordic mythology, in that there isn't a promise of a heavenly reward for doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is its own reward, even if others are not aware of it.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Human: Viggo Mortensen
Pavement magazine #50, 2001

Quotable Viggo: 25 July 2009

In previous Quotables I've quite often looked at Viggo's relationships with fellow actors and directors. But there are other people involved in film making - the stuntmen, bit players, extras, makeup-artists and those that just take on any job that needs doing. To his eternal credit Viggo never forgets how valuable their input is and he never overlooks them. They share the gifts, hospitality, attention and courtesy he gives to everyone on set and, quite often, find themselves on the receiving end of unexpected help. If ever an actor deserved at Haka at the end of a long shoot, it's Viggo. Remember that moment from the end of the RotK extras? Admit it. You cried.

From: My Fairy Tale.
© Fon Chansenthor.

Each time the tracks in the street were swept away rapidly by the crew including Dennis 'the horseman'. All of a sudden Viggo Mortensen apppeared, grabbed a big broom and started sweeping vigorously alongside the crew Now that was different. Viggo Mortensen is definitely not afraid of hard work and dirt.........

Blogengeezer daflikkers.blogspot.com
24 October 2007

'A lot of those jobs, particularly the factory work, were physically hard and mind numbing. But having that background of menial jobs and manual labour gave me an appreciation for the people who show up to a film set before I do, leave after I do and only get paid a fraction of what I do.'

Viggo Mortensen
By Angus Fontaine
Time Out, Sydney
9 April 2009

Men who, some of them being faithful to his call, follow him without batting an eyelid, from the plains of New Zealand or the American coasts up to the torrid plains of Cuenca, like the cordial José Luis Pérez, his make-up assistant, a man of elegant bearing and chivalrous manners, whose paternal roots are deep-seated in the Leonese village of Sahelices de Sabero, and whom he had met five years ago during the shooting of Lord of the Rings.

"Viggo is amazing. A real gentleman," he tells us. "I met him there and worked with him for three years. Then, one fine day he called me so that I could come to work on Alatriste and I had not the slightest hesitation."

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

In addition to his charm and normalcy, Mortensen had given t-shirts designed by himself, mate and trinkets - every day he would arrive on set with bags of caramels, gum and more - given to the members of technical and artistic crew.

Alatriste Fights in the Streets
By Rocío García
EL PAÍS 1st Aug 2005
Translated by Elessars Queen

"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

"There was virtually no distinction between stunt players and extras and principal actors. We were all in that same soup, and we were all exhausted and sick."

Viggo Mortensen on filming the Battle of Helm's Deep
Good Fellow
by Jamie Painter Young
Backstage West, 5 January 2004

Mortensen's humble attitude and willingness to do his own stunts earned him the nickname "No-Ego Viggo" among the crew. "He was always taking out stuntmen and buying them beer because he hit them one too many times," says Orlando Bloom. "He just goes for it. Viggo's energy is endless. He knows no limit."

The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
January 2003

I'm surprised how he was continuously obliging and polite, following everyone's needs closely and sometimes getting ahead on what we needed at that specific moment. The extras and the rest of the crew were equally showered with identical attention, even though these were as simple as the one in which an extra who was still wearing his dusty battledress, shyly goes to him in order to ask him for an autograph for his wife and daughter, whom he had left in Chile. "But of course! Sit with us for a while and have something," was the Captain's warm response, once again he was taking care of his men.

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

Once they had to shoot a scene in a wood -- she's the only woman among other casts, and there were other two 8-yr-old kids, and during shooting, they had to walk up and down the mountians and through the thick forest. She felt so exhuasted, but didnt complained. When they finished shooting, Viggo came to hug and carry her back to their tent, and she's surprised why he did that.

However, she said nothing until they reached their tent, but thought why he didnt carry the other kids instead of her. When they arrived, Viggo said to her, "I know you're tired, Fon." and she almost cried when she heard that.

He explained to her why he didnt carry the kids because they were New Zealand natives, so they got used to weather and surroundings, but she didnt. She didnt ask him that question, but he seemed to understand what in her mind. She nodded and felt overjoyed, and thanked him.....

Filming Lord of the Rings
Taken from: My Fairy Tale.
By Fon Chansenthor.
posted by vecrabanion on Live Journal

When we said goodbye to Viggo the other day inside the Golden Hall of Edoras, the stunt crew, veterans with him of every bloody battle, danced the haka, a welcoming, challenging, life-enhancing Maori tradition. And then hobbits singing, more haka, more praise for Viggo and his make-up colleague Jose and his son Henry Mortensen - and for Bernard Hill who having had his own farewell two days before, nipped back for a second helping of adulation!

The White Book
Ian McKellen
15 July 2003

Before Viggo Mortensen turned away in the brightly lit, night street of Appaloosa, he unexpectedly reached out, grabbed my hand, looked directly into my eyes and said, "Thank You Very Much for your help". 'The Carpenter' gratefully replied, "Thank you sir, it is an Honor having worked with you". Viggo Mortensen smiled, then slowly turned to walk to his 'ride'.....and it truly was an Honor, thats no lie.

Blogengeezer daflikkers.blogspot.com
22 November 2007

Quotable Viggo: 18 July 2009

Our next Movie Night will be David Cronenberg's masterpiece A History of Violence so this is a good time to remind ourselves what a superb and complex piece of cinema this is and how Viggo took the critics by storm in the role of Tom Stall. When the film came out everyone could see that Cronenberg and Viggo were a cinematic marriage made in heaven. Oscar "eat your heart out' this film will be up there among the very best as long as people love great films.

© New Line Cinema.

How did you get Viggo onboard?

In my seduction of Viggo, who's very picky about his films, I flew to LA and one of the elements of the seduction was to discuss the political undertones of the movie. If you work with an actor like Viggo, the discussions go very deep and the anticipations of people's reactions to what you're doing is very deep. But there's a part that is mysterious and not controllable, because movies, if they are alive, surprise you. They sometimes take on a life of their own and if they do that, they end up meaning things that you sometimes aren't aware of.

Chris in Cannes
Cannes Film Festival Report
15 may 2005

"It's like a great thoroughly satisfying and complex piece of music to me, this movie."

Viggo Mortensen
Teen Hollywood

"Viggo Mortensen probably gave the best performance I have seen in a motion picture in as long as I can remember in A History of Violence .... Bill Hurt got a nomination for a rather bizarre, overly done performance in that film, but Viggo Mortensen is probably the premier actor in the business."

Dale Olson, publicist
Oscar, You Insensitive Lout
by Sara Vilkomerson, New York Observer,
February 2006

"David doesn't tell you what to think,'' muses Viggo Mortensen. "He opens a door, you walk into a room, but he doesn't answer questions. It's easier when a filmmaker tells [an audience] what to think, but it's more rewarding when you think for yourself.''

David Gritten
TheDaily Telegraph
September 24, 2005

"He continues what he's always done, which is taking people apart, almost like they were a machine or an engine, but now more taking their brains apart than their bodies, I suppose. It's more a psychological autopsy and the results are always a little disturbing. Not because he's disturbing, but because we are. As an audience and as a subject."

Viggo on Cronenberg
Viggo Mortensen, Actor, poet, photographer
Philip Matthews
New Zealand Listener
March 18-24 2006

"I think in the end the movie says, to me anyway, violence exists. It will always exist. But as a human being you have a choice to reject it, in the end you do have a choice, and that's what it's about."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen - Cannes Interview
ARTE TV, by Lionel Julien, transcription by Chrissie
16 May 2005

Fantastic performance from Viggo Mortensen.....he is absolutely a brilliant actor, he is the Robert de Niro of his generation, the Marlon Brando of his generation, the man is a genius.

Mark Kermode
BBC Radio Five Live
30 September 2005

One of the great strengths of this movie is the performances. Viggo's got a lot of his plate here, playing a character almost constantly at war with himself, and he nails it. There's no stupid tricks, where he changes his hairstyle or something when he goes back to being Joey. It's all done with the set of his shoulders, and his walk, and the look in his eyes, and it's chilling.

Anton Sirius
Ain't it Cool News
15 September 2005

And finally, there is Viggo Mortenson. If anyone has ever been more perfectly cast than he is here as Tom Stall, I haven't seen the film. His performance is the tricky switch on which the entire History flips. His star turn is a master class in minimalism and exactly what the movie needs at every juncture.

Nathaniel Rogers
Film Experience
September 2005

A History of Violence is right up there with The Shawshank Redemption for me; I've watched parts or all of it close to a dozen times on cable, never failing to marvel at the eight-minute showdown between Mortensen's character of Tom Stall and his loopy bro' Richie (William Hurt).

Validation for Viggo
Richard Horgan
22 January 2008

"I dunno, maybe I'm channeling some barbaric ancestor or something."

Viggo Mortensen on his convincing performance
E online
22 Sept 2005

In the end, do you think that this is ultimately a hopeful movie ?

I think it's whatever anyone thinks it is. But for me, that day...we'd spent three months together and it did feel like a family. David said, 'I don't know what this scene is going to be. You guys have been in these characters for three months; you figure it out. When he walks in the door you'll know.' And it's true. As soon as we heard the door slam, Ashton (Holmes), Heidi (Hayes) and I kind of jumped and just immediately like welled up, all of us. And to look up and see his sweet face, this man who we've loved for three months, as Viggo and as this character, to be so unsure and to still love this person, yes I think there is a hopefulness in that.

Maria Bello on working with Viggo
JoBlo.com, by Thomas Luepp
27 September 2005

In the film, Viggo Mortensen stars as an owner of a small-town diner who attracts the attention of mobsters when he prevents a robbery. If the idea of Aragorn playing lord of the onion rings seems an outrage, Mortensen didn't think so. After the shoot, he gave Cronenberg an autographed 3-D LOTR character card. It read "Thank you for the best moviemaking experience of my life." Peter Jackson, eat your heart out - but not literally.

Premier Magazine
by Denis Seguin
July/August 2005.

Quotable Viggo: 11 July 2009

In 2007 James Mottram of The Independent wrote a piece about Viggo called "The Invisible Man'. Re-reading it last week I must admit there was nothing in it about Viggo's incredible ability to vanish but the title did get me thinking about how one of the most striking actors in the business can just disappear. As a shy child he could disappear behind his camera. Starting out as an actor he vanished from various films after unkind edit. For a long time he gave outstanding character performances while still being "unknown'. Even after the spotlight of The Lord of the Rings hit him he still managed to do a disappearing act - being so completely absorbed in his roles that Joe Johnston not only saw him vanishing into his character but he "seemed like a different person playing the different characters.' Even when he's just being himself, his un-showy, quiet approach to people has meant some reporters have completely failed to recognise him. But is he so invisible that if he were to walk down the street without being famous 'I assure you that nobody would turn and look.' (Lecturas Magazine, August 2006). Nah...

© Focus Features.

"In my first three movies I got cut out, among others in Woody Allen's 'Purple Rose of Cairo' and Jonathan Demme's 'Swing Shift'. It's a little embarrassing when you drag your friends of family along to the cinema and tell them that 'just watch now' - and then you've landed on the editing floor. Therefore I've stopped telling them in advance to pay attention to this or that scene. Because you never know if it's in."

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

Mortensen says he started taking pictures as a teenager, although he wasn't "really serious about it." For him, the camera not only offered a sense of control over his surroundings but a kind of veil to help him feel invisible from a world he found both intimidating and inspiring.

The Other Side of Viggo Mortensen
By Paul Young
October 2003
Variety Life

"For Viggo, I think it's the experience of doing the work and achieving his high standards that are his measure of success," Diane Lane says. "It's nice being able to morph and disappear and morph again and reappear. He's like Hollywood's secret weapon. The only problem for Viggo might be that it's not a secret any more."

Diane Lane
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

Viggo Mortensen is missing. Yes, that actor on the screen looks like him-and he certainly possesses the same quiet assurance when he speaks and physicality when he fights. But more like a magician than actor, he has disappeared into the world of Eastern Promises.

Finding Viggo Mortensen
By Susan Thea Posnock
Awards Daily: Oscar Watch
12 December 2007

"... I saw Viggo yesterday for the first time since we finished the film and it was like a whole different person. I almost didn't recognise him.'

Naomi Watts
Matt Mueller, Total Film
October 2007

When he appears, getting out of a black limo, in front of a Russian bath situated in a small London street, I can't recognise him. The actor is one those perfectionists who works on his roles to obsession. In order to immerse himself in his character, a fearsome mafioso, he spent his summer holiday in Russia. He came back slimmer and transformed. He is so scary that all the clients from a bar ran away in a panic the minute they noticed the tattoos on his hands.

Cronenberg and the Russian Godfather
By Serge Grunberg - translated by Celine
Studio, May 200

I must admit that I didn't recognise him. In the middle of a not yet finished exhibition a young blond man is standing who, after shaking my hand and mumbling something as a greeting, seems relieved to have a practical task: to get me a glass of water. He brings it to me with all the hidden greatness that makes him as perfect as he is in the role of Aragorn.

Caught In His Own Picture
By Trine Ross - translated by Rebekka
28 June 2003

....if you have the opportunity to meet him in person and see how different he is from his role as Aragorn, you begin to appreciate that he is a true actor. He even morphs himself into his characters' physicality to the point where you might not recognize him when he is simply 'Viggo.'

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

'He has the charisma of a leading man but the temperament and talent of a character actor,' he enthuses. 'He's, therefore, capable of and not afraid to disappear into a role."

David Cronenberg
Cultivating a history of creativity
By Curtis Woloschuk, Westender.com
Sep 13 2007

To fail to recognise one of the biggest film stars of the millennium, in arguably the most momentous trio of movies yet made, is a staggering oversight. But Mortensen's physical transformation from Aragorn, his superhero alter-ego, to his own, humble self is extraordinary - as is his exceptionally un-star-like personality and poise.

Viggo Mortensen
By Desmond Sampson
New York City, NY
Pavement #62, Summer 2003-2004

"He went home in his wardrobe, you know, he camped in the desert with the horses and the wranglers, and I was amazed when I did see the Lord of the Rings films that not only did it seem like... I mean, it was obviously a different character, but it seemed like a different person playing the different characters. He made a complete transformation. Now I know I him as Viggo Mortensen playing Frank T. Hopkins. When he takes on his next role, whatever that is, he'll probably become unrecognizable to me. He'll make another transformation."

Joe Johnston
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004

"If I were walking down the street without being famous, I assure you that nobody would turn and look."

Viggo Mortensen
"I'm permanently dissatisfied
by Amelia Enríquez, Lecturas Magazine
30 August 2006
Translated for V-W by Margarita

'If you go out with a big bunch of people, in a big fancy car, then you're essentially still the face on the side of the bus and you're inviting attention. But I try to stay low-profile and keep moving. You just have to be more nimble.'

Viggo on avoiding recognition
The happy trails of Viggo Mortensen
Xan Brooks
The Guardian
18 April 2009

Quotable Viggo: 5 July 2009

I was fascinated by Viggo's comment in his interview with Diario Crítica de la Argentina that, when it comes to choosing what to read, he leaves it to "luck, to whatever crosses my path'. But I'm not surprised really as Viggo seems to me to be a master off the serendipitous - allowing space for the magic of the unexpected to enrich his life. I think this is Viggo in a nutshell, having "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident' (def: serendipity) and having faith that just around the next corner (if you care to walk around it) there may be something astonishing.

Image courtesy of Cindalea.
© Estudios Picasso / Origen PC / NBC Universal Global Networks Espana 2006.

'I read everything I can; I leave it to luck, to whatever crosses my path.'

The Hidden Side of Viggo Mortensen
Fernanda Nicolini
Diario Crítica de la Argentina.
Translated by Graciela, Remolina, Sage and Zooey
1 July 2009

'I believe in luck and in the thousands of ways attracting it. I can go into a Mosque, or into the San Isidoro of León Collegiate Church, and sit there until things happen. I love visiting temples, churches, places that are supposed to be sacred, and that includes a cinema or a theatre. Where there's acting, there's communion."

Mortensen Code
By Sol Alonso - translated by Remolina
Vanity Fair (Spain)
November 2008

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

"I think I'm essentially hopeful and the reason that I paint or photograph or listen to someone who is speaking to me is that I hope something might happen."

The Man Who Would Be King
By Nick Dent
Black & White magazine 2001

He lives his way and gets entangled in whatever he finds in his path.

Viggo's Other Look
Diario de León
By María Dolores García - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005

So does chance guide your life?

Like everybody's. What you hope for isn't worth anything. I complain and protest: my son has to go to school; I have to finish reading this book, go shopping, wash the dishes. Sometimes you have to skip those chores for a change. Not too long ago a friend visited me and asked if I was free to go to dinner. I had a lot of work: my publishing house takes a lot of my time. I was on the verge of saying no, but not sleeping enough one night isn't the end of the world. Sometimes, you have to say yes. To trust in chance and in destiny, because it's the unpredictable, strange events that shape our lives. It's better to travel with hope than with the intention of reaching a specific destination.

"I wouldn't look the Alatristes of today in the eye"
By Oskar L. Belategui - translated by Margarita
3 September 2006
Source: Hoy Sociedad

Mortensen believes there is order in the chaos. "You know, there are freakish and unexpected events that make up our lives. You have to be open to suffering a little," Mortensen says. "There's the philosopher, Schopenhauer, right? He talked about how out of the randomness, there is the apparent intention in the fate of an individual that can be glimpsed later on. When you're an old guy, you can look back, and maybe this rambling life has some through-line. Others can see it better sometimes. But when you glimpse it yourself, you see it more clearly than anyone."

The glimpse is essential. It is why he photographs, paints, runs himself ragged - and why he is an actor.

The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
January 2003

'Each part asks different things of you and it's not always what you expect, and I think the things that end up being the most interesting and sometimes the most difficult are things that you can't foresee, you know, if you remain open to what might happen.'

Viggo Mortensen Talking To Janet Maslin at C.U.N.Y.
By - transcription by Chrissie and Tatiana
New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend
6 January 2006

"I listened to music, looked at paintings, trying to find my face in those pictures. Walking down streets that you wouldn't have walked down. And you never know where that's going to take you. You're lost. I didn't have people with me smoothing the way, because then I wouldn't have learned anything."

Viggo doing research for Good in Germany
The happy trails of Viggo Mortensen
Xan Brooks
The Guardian
18 April 2009

"Everyone can get lucky, but it is what you do with that luck that matters.'

Capable Of Many Things
By Hanna Björk Valsdóttir - translated by Ragga
30 May 2008

'I've been lucky, but I realise that luck is ephemeral, and there are different ways of making something out of luck. One, you can go and make lots of money. The other thing that you can do is try to be challenged and tell interesting stories and learn something along the way. That's what I try to do.'

Play It As It Lays
By Philip Berk
April 2009

His work is a trace of his own adventure, lived openly and exploratively, with curiosity and a constant sense of surprise.

Kevin Power
Viggo Mortensen: A Life Tracking Itself
Singlanguage 2002

Quotable Viggo: 27 June 2009

You know the phrase "The eyes are the window of the soul'? Well, when it comes to eyes, Viggo's are the window to a whole galaxy of souls. He can convey the tiniest shift of emotion in the characters he plays and they are probably his greatest tool as an actor. A good director knows to keep them in his sights as he can mirror the inner thoughts of everyone from Nikolai to Aragorn without moving a muscle. This hasn't gone unnoticed by critics and interviewers who have called them, by turn, innocent, cruel, glowing, deep, warm, sly and piercing and several different shades from aqua to crystal-grey. Whether acting or being himself we know who has the world's most beautiful peepers, don't we?

© New Line Productions Inc./ Estudios Piccaso/Origen Producciones / Dimension Films / Touchstone/Buena Vista

Mortensen's power comes directly from his eyes. They speak much more than any line he delivers in the film and offer an astounding glimpse into the psyche of his character.

History of Violence Review
Christopher Childs
May 31, 2005

Nikolai remains eerily still until he's moved to act; then he glides forth with reptilian grace. Yet something still glows at the bottom of those half-lidded eyes - enough to suggest the cobra has a soul.

Ty Burr
Boston Globe
14 Sept 2007

Everett says very little and spends a lot of time just watching the other characters, so Mortensen's performance resides almost entirely in his eyes, which register tiny, unmistakable nuances of surprise, suspicion and amusement.

These are what make the movie worth watching.

A O Scott
International Herald Tribune
18 September 2008

That look of Alatriste... the audience is going to forget anything else about Alatriste and remember the eyes of Viggo, that are the eyes of Alatriste"

Diario de Cadiz, October 2004
translated by Vicky

Viggo Mortensen succeeds in presenting this human schizophrenic with those innocent blue eyes that can equally hide infinite cruelty.

Cronenberg's Violence
GLZonline Cannes HoV Review
by Gidi Orsher, translated by Natica
May 2005

With his aqua blue eyes and chiseled jaw, he is every bit the American film hero - a Harrison Ford or a John Wayne, but with a darkness lurking beneath.....

Sasha Stone
Santa Monica Mirror
28 September 2005

... the harsh trace of life, which clouds yesterday's glowing eyes, has given them in exchange a deep and warm expression where we find the courage to meet our own fears.

Viggo's Other Look
Diario de León
by María Dolores García - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005

The very first moment he is glimpsed-silently sitting in the shadows inside the Prancing Pony inn, his eyes shielded by the hood of his cloak-signalled the arrival of a New Hollywood Hero, a dynamic man of mystery, action and romance.

The New Hollywood Male
By Charles Gant
Arena Homme Plus #18
December 2002

Jackson, revealing a sure instinct for delivering big emotional moments with simple economy, repeatedly allows his camera to be sucked in by Viggo's brightly intense blue-green eyes.

The New Hollywood Male
By Charles Gant
Arena Homme Plus #18
December 2002

Two Styrofoam cups of hot coffee had been thoughtfully poured. He beckoned me to be seated, and his crystal-gray orbs gazed into my jetlag-red eyes. It was too good to be true.

It's Good to be "King"
By Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today
16 December 2003

...he's friendly and easygoing - a man with the attitude of a surfer, the eyes of a killer, and the brain of a slacker bookworm.

An actor lured by western promise
By Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 28, 2008

Though blond and chiselled, Mortensen isn't your typical Hollywood actor. His intense features and sly eyes convey an edge that eludes your Brads, Leonardos and Matts.

Sensitive Side of Psycho
by Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun Times, 1998

His eyes are piercing, kind. Full of fun, full of melancholy.

Sympathy for the devil
By Chrissy Iley
The Observer
19 April 2009

Look into his eyes, you'll see his soul.

Paul Greenwood
Future Movies
29 September 2005

Quotable Viggo: 20 June 2009

Exhibitions are very much on my mind at the moment as I have spent most of this week hanging and manning a small one. I now appreciate just how much work is involved - not just deciding what to take and what to leave, but which order to put them up in and... well... just getting them straight. Viggo is a seasoned exhibitor and makes it all look easy but I am now so in awe of all those lines in Sadanset, and the sheer number of pictures hung, that it seems only fair to pay tribute with an Exhibition Quotable. Nelson Ramirez de Arellano says, below, that 'The only chance we have of getting to know him is now, facing his work'. He does indeed hang his soul on the wall. Long may that unique privilege to know him continue.

Skovbo Exhibit in Reykjavik, Iceland - 5.31-8.31.08.
© mbl.is/Einar Falur.

'I have brought far too many pictures,' says Viggo Mortensen, with his hands placed on his hips and with a half-desperate look, glancing over the room in Ljósmyndasafni Reykjavik at Tryggvagötu. In the middle of the floor some big wooden boxes are standing and spread all over the room are photographs with 150 framed photographs; in colour and black/white. 'Well, I will have to consider taking some down,'

Dreaming About Telling Stories
By Einar Fal Ingolfsson - translated by Rosen and Ragga
29 May 2008
Source: Morgunblaðið

I decided to take photos of trees for this show because there are no trees in Iceland. I decided to bring trees to Iceland.

Viggo Mortensen on the Skovbo Exhibition
Capable Of Many Things
By Hanna Björk Valsdóttir - translated by Ragga
30 May 2008
Source: Fréttablaðið

'Some of the pictures are good, even if they stand alone. Others are not that interesting' he judges. He continues 'But it is the Whole, that is important to me.'

Viggo talking about sadanset
From movies to photos
Jette Hansen
19 October 2008

In a rather humble statement from someone of such artistic stature and talent, there were only a few of Mortensen's works on display. But, the small room dedicated to his work dictated only a few images could be mounted well. Mortensen's photographs are humbling and a bar artists should hope to achieve themselves after thirty plus-years of photographing.

Jaxon House Rocks With Perceval Press Artists: Newsom, Milstein, Bryce, Mortensen
by Kriss Perras
PCH Press, June 18, 2006

'...it doesn't matter that people don't know what it is, or what it is to me, as long as it feels like something is going on, you know? ...The results in here are mine. In the movies, they never are.'

Sign Language Exhibition Video Transcription
By Zooey (Transcription)
2 February 2002
Source: You Tube

Many, like me today, have written about him; about his poems, his paintings or his photographs, but nobody really knows him. The only chance we have of getting to know him is now, facing his work; one minute later, tomorrow, he will be a total stranger just like the rest of the world..

Un Hueco En El Sol Booklet
By Nelson Ramirez de Arellano
Principal Specialist, Cuban Photographic Library, Havana
translated by Graciela
May 2003, Perceval Press

These are some of the traces that could make up our image of Viggo; we can peek and venture a last look into his world, his photographs, and at least grasp what we manage to see against the light when we go through this 'hole in the sun'. When we return, we will think that we now know him, and we will talk about him, tell his stories (ours) just like we tell the story of a friend's life.

Un Hueco En El Sol Booklet
By Nelson Ramirez de Arellano
Principal Specialist, Cuban Photographic Library, Havana
translated by Graciela
May 2003, Perceval Press

People will almost commit murder to get a ticket. Just to be near the man.

'In the beginning people came to my exhibits because they knew me from the films I had done. But now I think they're beginning to come because they like what I exhibit,' said Viggo in his own very modest way.

A Barefoot Viggo in Odense
By Marianne Koch - translated by Rebekka
27 June 2003
Source: Fyens Stiftstidende

'I continue creating because I need to create, because not all of those that come to my exhibitions do so because of my films, and because life is short, and even if it is easy, it is necessary to hurry.'

Viggo, a photographer before an actor
Un Hueco En El Sol Exhibition
By Andrés D. Abreu
Havana 5 May 2003
Source: La Jiribilla

It is not a coincidence that he has called this exhibit Ephëmeris meaning 'short-term', 'passing', but you are not tempted to interpret it as a transitory sign, instead it is to be experienced as 'carpe diem', seize the day, do not let the moment slip from your grasp. He wants to capture it all and to a large extent he succeeds.

Seize The Moment
By Mogens Damgaard - translated by Rebekka
3 July 2003
Source: Fyens Stiftstidende

'...there is movement, there are layers, unexpected reflections, a liquid and often transparent quality to my images - things I don't see but have come to know exist, that will probably show up if I do things in a certain way.'

Viggo Mortensen
Mō Te Upoko-o-te-ika/For Wellington (press release)
By Rebecca Wilson, Exhibition Curator
November 2003
Source: City Gallery Wellington

Wandering around the gallery in bare feet sporting a Lord of the Rings shirt, Mortensen describes how one series of photographs on show were a bit of a fluke. Lost 1,2,3 and 4, he jokingly calls them, were taken when he was geographically challenged in the bush on the West Coast one night. The photographs were snapped so that the flash might give him light to get his bearings.

"I eventually had to lie down under a tree for a while till the moon came over me and I could figure out where I was."

Viggo Says Thanks in Pictures
By Bess Mason
26 November 2003
Source: Dominion Post

'Are all these people here because of your name?' I asked. 'Here,' he said reaching for my pen and pad of paper, 'They're here to see this guy,' and he wrote down a name I had not heard of before, Stefan Kirkeby. 'You have to go and find his photographs.'

Viggo Mortensen Clicks with Photo L.A.
By Tod Mesirow
Source: Coagula Art Journal #67

He leaves no room for ambivalence, he will force you to have an opinion of his work, whether positive or negative it doesn't matter. But there is not a chance of someone saying "Oh isn't that nice".

Viggo Mortensen: An Artist For All Seasons
by Richard Marcus
BNN Blogger News Network May 6th, 2005

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Last edited: 15 February 2010 09:13:03