Quotable Viggo 2012


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Quotable Viggo: 18 February 2012

For the past few months we've had a feast of new quotes from all the latest work Viggo has been doing. As a counterpoint I've decided to revisit some of the early films, before LotR opened all those new doors. It's evident that no matter what the film, Viggo always made an impression with the directors and always brought something fresh and unexpected. His approach, refined over the years, has never essentially changed and has always earned respect.

© Miramax/Zenith/Westmount/Neo Motion Pictures/Overseas Film Group
New Line Cinema/Miramax Films/Village Roadshow/Empire Pictures.


That part, which was supposed to be a one-day job, expanded into a speaking role as Alexander Godunov's younger Amish brother.

"I was basically told to shadow him," Mortensen recalled, laughing. "So wherever he went, I followed."

Sensitive Side of Psycho
By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun Times
16 December 1998


"...in 1988, my first American movie was actually called PRISON and I found a young guy who had only done a couple of bit parts and nobody knew him. He had done nothing before of any note and I made him the star of my movie PRISON. His name was Viggo Mortensen. I really like working with people that I believe in, who can bring something fresh to a film."

Interview with Director Renny Harlin
8 June 2009

Leatherface: Texas Chain Saw Massacre 111

"I brought him in because I had seen him in PRISON, which a friend of mine had written. And I thought he was great in that, and I thought he was a really interesting guy. I knew who he was, so I brought him in..... Deborah Moore, the executive in charge of production had a guy that she really thought highly of, and he actually was cast very briefly as Tex.

Then he booked a very high paying commercial that would've conflicted with the first day of shooting. So, I said you have to pick one or the other, because I need you totally there on the first day. So, he chose the commercial. (Laughs) So, I was able to get Viggo, so it all worked out. And Viggo, just like everyone else in the cast was always there, ready to go and had great ideas. Just a joy to work with, and I'm not just saying that. I can guarantee his approach to stuff now is exactly the same as it was then. He's just so committed and he's such a really good guy. All the family members were great."

Interview with Director Jeff Burr
Icons of Fright
by Robg. & Mike C
October 2011

Young Guns 11

"It's amazing what he brought to that role," Fusco says. "I remember I was in my hotel room in Santa Fe, and there's this knock on the door pretty late at night. I open it, and there was Viggo holding a rifle. He said, 'I got some ideas about the scope my character would have on his rifle. Do you have a minute?' He came in, and he sat down dead serious and showed me this conversion he'd done to an historically accurate scope. He said, 'With all the copper mining in these parts, I think it would be copper.' I remember thinking, 'Wow, this guy is serious. He's really got it.'"

John Fusco
Mandi Bierly
Entertainment Weekly
6 August 2010

The Reflecting Skin

Mortensen doesn't appear until an hour has passed - but when he does he immediately marks himself as one of those actors who doesn't need fancy lighting to be incandescent. Cast as a young man returning from the Pacific (where he dropped bombs on sleepy atolls), he displays surly, distant passion that's at odds, yet perfectly in step, with a small town that is seething beneath its bucolic veneer.

Viggo Mortensen Interview
by Martha Frankel
June 1991

The Indian Runner

"I was over at Robin [Wright]'s little house in Santa Monica Canyon, waiting for her to get dressed for a date. The television was on, sound off, and I saw a face: he was only a cameo in a movie, but I saw the face that I'd had in my head when I wrote Indian Runner. He had something, an angularity, a severity to his handsomeness that I perceived as being 'like Frank'. So I watched the movie through, and I called Don and said, 'Find out who he is.'"

Sean Penn
When Viggo Met Sean
7 Sept 2007

"He was dazzlingly committed all the time. He literally brings the kitchen sink for a character," says Penn, who delighted in seeing Mortensen arrive on set each day with a "Santa Claus sack" full of various props he'd chosen. "He's an often solitary, very poetic creature, Viggo, and all of that worked [for the movie]."

History Teacher
by Missy Schwartz
Entertainment Weekly
August 19, 2005

Carlito's Way

"I wasn't having an easy time finding work at this time in my career, but because of my background I had some understanding of what this character could be and what the background was like.... I loved working with Al Pacino. He was unusually generous for someone in his position. He has a very open mind, and a very open heart."

Viggo Mortensen
November 2007

American Yakuza

"I especially enjoyed working with our cast, particularly Viggo and Ryo, both of whom I hope to someday get a chance to work with again if the Fates should allow it. I didn't need Lord of the Rings to know Viggo was a prince."

Richard Clabaugh, Cinematographer for American Yakuza


"He explores to the infinite, not only the character's emotions but also the wardrobe, all the things. He's so honest and generous,"

José Luis Acosta
Chiaroscuro: Viggo, Light And Dark
By Rocio Garcia
El Pais, Translated by Graciela, Remolina, Sage and Zooey
17 May 2009

Crimson Tide

In the movie, he is caught between a rock and hard place in the deadly confrontation between Hackman and Washington. Mortensen offers a restrained, dignified and incredible solid performance: the voice of reason in the power play of the two main characters.

The Guy Can't Help It
By Manuela Cerri Goren
L'Uomo Vogue #270
April 1996

The Passion of Darkly Noon

'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. '

Philip Ridley at the Tokyo International Film Festival
From "The American Dreams: Two Screenplays by Philip Ridley'
Methuen 1997

The Prophecy

Hailed as 'mordantly witty', a young vaguely edgy actor named Viggo Mortensen wound up stealing the remainder of the film from Walken, creating one of the most memorable embodiments of evil ever put to screen.

On "The Prophecy'
His Occult Fellowship,
by Lisa Maccarillo
Fangoria magazine #208, 2001

The Portrait of a Lady

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

GI Jane

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

A Perfect Murder

Because of his role Mortensen had to face an interesting phenomenon: Would David Shaw's images reflect the artistic feelings of himself, Viggo Mortensen or do they belong to the character of David Shaw?

"I think both are right", answered Mortensen, "I didn't have time to occupy myself too much with this duality. I think that the artwork represents on the one hand my own subconsiousness and on the other hand my ideas on who David is."

Warner Brothers German Press Release
Translated by always smiling

A Walk on the Moon

"When I saw some of Viggo's work, I thought, that's always who I've had in my head. I realized there is not one other actor anywhere who could play Viggo's part other than Viggo. He has this kind of complexity and mysteriousness to him. He doesn't have to say much and you get a lot."

Tony Goldwyn, Director of A Walk on the Moon
Actor Goldwyn side-stepped cliches for summer of '69 directorial debut
By Robin Blackwelder
SPLICEDwire, splicedonline.com
February 24, 1999

Quotable Viggo: 11 February 2012

This last month or so has seen a feast of new interviews as the A Dangerous Method promotion machine picks up again. In the overwhelming deluge you might think that it has all been about Freud, Freud and more Freud, but you'd be wrong. So here, with only a very little Freud thrown in for good measure, are the gems that really shouldn't be missed.

© Bauer Consumer Media

Mortensen speaks five languages, and seems happy to discuss football in all of them.

Interview: Viggo Mortensen, actor
9 February 2012

"It comes from a very good tailor in Boedo, in Buenos Aires. San Lorenzo de Almagro".

Viggo on being asked who tailored his Golden Globes suit
Mortensen highlights his Argentinian team at the Golden Globes
By E J Tamara - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
16 January 2012

You have been described as the Robert De Niro of your generation, what are your views on that? And how much are you looking forward to becoming a Lego figure?

I already am a Lego figure! Very proud to be a part of Danish industry in that way. I'm not sure that Robert De Niro is a Lego figure yet, so he's got some catching up to do.

Empire On-line Web Chat
31 January 2012

"I learned more about acting and thinking on your feet in that play than in my last ten or fifteen years in filming," he says, seriously. "There's no saying cut, you just figure it out; it's like an hour and forty minutes long take. I really loved it, loved the connection with the audience."

Viggo talking about acting in Purgatorio
Viggo's round-table at the Freud Museum
by Lucy Wiles
Felix Films
10 February 2012

Viggo Mortensen is the champ. Hands down. Of all the "say what?" performances some of us first heard about at last fall's Toronto International Film Festival -- and which characterized 2011 as a hugely surprising year for film -- none of them surprised me more than Mortensen playing Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method."

Jeff Simon
Buffalo News
26 January 2012

Viggo Mortensen stacks his case and suit protector neatly in the corner of the room. The precision of the movement is entirely in keeping with an angular formation of razor cheekbones and sharp suit. We probably shouldn't be surprised the Danish-American-Argentine has this travelling thing down.

The Mad Men
Tara Brady
The Irish Times
10 February 2012

If you were to analyse a Mortensen interview, you might conclude that Viggo is keen on deflection. He's certainly happier asking questions rather than answering them, and talking about his friends rather than his work in A Dangerous Method

Interview: Viggo Mortensen, actor
9 February 2012

....because he wanted to know "what Freud read for pleasure" -- he researched the work of contemporary Austrian and German playwrights and humorists. (He can now talk authoritatively and at length about the oeuvres of Johann Nestroy and Wilhelm Busch.)

Viggo Talks and Talks
By Zoe Heller
T Magazine
2 December 2011

Looking through the transcript of our interview afterwards is like reading Molly Bloom's soliloquy at the end of Ulysses.

Viggo Mortensen on 'A Dangerous Method'
By John Preston
Seven Magazine
The Telegraph
11 February 2012

"I like to write and paint and make music and go walking on my own and garden. In fact, gardening is probably what I enjoy doing more than anything else."

Really? Anything else?

He looks at me, his gaze is quite level. "I like gardening a lot."

Viggo Mortensen on 'A Dangerous Method'
By John Preston
Seven Magazine
The Telegraph
11 February 2012

What was it that got you interested in A Dangerous Method? Was it mostly working again with Cronenberg, or the psychological theme ? Or both?

Firstly, working with David Cronenberg again. Secondly, the bait that David threw my way, in the form of an elaborate system of undergarments that Sigmund Freud was reputed to have employed on some of his summer excursions deep into the Alps. They included an elaborate system of miniaturised pulleys and wires that assisted in muscular stimulation for the steeper climbs. I was allowed to wear these undergarments in all scenes whether I was climbing or not.

Viggo Mortensen
Empire On-line Web Chat
31 January 2012

DC: As I look at his nose, it appears much more Freudian than it used to.

VM: It's getting bigger, isn't it?

DC: Yeah, it is.

Cronenberg and Mortensen - Dangerous Minds
10 February 2012

Viggo -- we hear you're a fan of horses. Is it true that you took some horses from Lord Of The Rings?

DC: But he's a horse thief, that's why he did that. He basically had sex with all the horses in the movie. That was his way of dealing with it.

VM: It wasn't great with every single one. But I did my best.

Cronenberg and Mortensen - Dangerous Minds
10 February 2012

Hi Viggo, aside from knowing your lines, what's the most important thing you do to prepare yourself before you go in front of camera?


Empire On-line Web Chat
31 January 2012

Quotable Viggo: 4 February 2012

After winning Empire Magazine's 'Sexiest Character in Cinema' poll, this week's Quotable has to be about Aragorn. And we all know that although Aragorn is one of modern literature's greatest and most charismatic heroes, it was Viggo's dedication, outstanding performance and (let's be honest) knee weakening good looks that sent him straight to the hearts of millions and has kept him there ever since.

To remind you how it all came about, here is the 'Aragorn' excerpt from the LotR extras:

Fellowship of the Cast: Aragorn

© New Line

"From the moment that I saw him onscreen," says Otto, "I thought, 'Shit, he looks incredible. Here's a character I don't have to pretend to be in love with.'"

Miranda Otto
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

'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 wanted to make sure the fight scenes were realistic. I shouldn't be able to just throw my sword around like Errol Flynn did, especially when I'm really tired. It should be hard to fight with it! Even when I was just walking around, I'd still wear the steel sword because it was heavier and it affected the way I moved."

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

There is something other-worldly about Mortensen that makes him so suited to playing the dashing Aragorn who, along with Russell Crowe's toga-hero Maximus in Gladiator, has already entered into cinematic folklore as one of the great screen swordsmen of our time.

The Reluctant Hero
by Douglas Andrews
Sunday Express 2002

'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
December 2004

I am being seduced by royalty. And not your garden variety Windsor, either. Admittedly, he looks more like a gypsy in his earthy tunic repaired to within an inch of its life, his hands and nails bearing the ingrained grit of a farmer. But he's a king all right: the King, the Lord of Men. He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and any minute now he's going to reach out one of those taut brown arms, lift me up on his trusty steed and whisk me away from all this...

The King and I
By Julie Hosking
Sunday Telegraph
23 November 2003

The biggest impression, though, comes from one of the lesser-known players: Viggo Mortensen stuns as the tormented, destiny-shucking warrior Aragorn, exuding a bravery that will make men admire him and an intensity that will make women want to hop into his leather jerkin.

Fellowship of the Ring Review
Tor Thorsen
Reel.com 2001

You can have your wee hobbits and wizened wizards. Give me the man who would be king. Rough-hewn Aragorn is as manly as they come as he slays loathsome orcs and woos elf princess Arwen, whispering sweet nothings into her pointy ears.

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

....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

Eyes ablaze and sword aglint, Mortensen proved a captivating warrior who stirred the hearts, souls and in many cases the loins of the first blockbuster film's audiences. 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

As Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen's weathered face brings his character an intensity and life that the book's extensive backgrounding never did; his threadbare regality is more eloquent than any exposition.

The Two Towers Review
Russel Swensen
LA Weekly
December 20-26 2002

It's crucial that the film, like the journeys it narrates, is straggly. I spent the duller sections thinking about how flaxen-haired Legolas looks like a Milky Bar hippy as he pings his egg-slicer-strong arrows at the barbarous monsters. I also drifted off looking at Viggo Mortensen: has a more virile, dynamic actor ever appeared on the silver screen?

The Two Towers Review
Sukhdev Sandhu
The Daily Telegraph
December 18, 2002

Aragorn has the slinky swagger and dreamy stubble that make him look like a legend created by Tolkien, Sam Shepard and Ralph Lauren. Fortunately Mr. Mortensen also has a touch of modesty as an actor, which allows him to take up space as if he belongs in the center of the frame rather than battling the other performers for it.

ROTK Review
The New York Times
Triumph Tinged With Regret in Middle Earth
Elvis Mitchell
December 16, 2003

Viggo is noble, Viggo is powerful, Viggo is resplendent. He's a young Sean Connery but with a grittier style. More than anyone else, this is Aragorn's film.

ROTK Review
Film Hobbit
16 December 3003

"...I would say probably 95% of the work that you see as Viggo onscreen is completely computer generated, because he has a wooden leg and he can't run."

IGN Interviews Dominic Monaghan
December 2003

...there's a sense that pieces of Aragorn always will cling to the actor. As he says, "Aragorn is a work in progress, as we all are in an endless tale." The same could be said of Mortensen. And his story is destined to continue.

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

Quotable Viggo: 29 January 2012

The Oscar Nominations this week set me thinking again about a role where Viggo should definitely have been left clutching one of those little statuettes - Tom Stall in A History of Violence. Rather than just concentrating on his performance, I thought I'd take a more general look at the creation of a film which astonishes me more and more every time I watch it, and which I believe will be seen as Cronenberg's masterpiece.

© New Line Cinema

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

Viggo Mortensen
Teen Hollywood

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

"Viggo's my kind of actor," smiles Cronenberg, who likes to work with actors who are not just leading men, but also character actors. "First of all they tend not to be afraid because they're not trying to protect some image they see of themselves as traditional leading men, but also it gives them a much bigger palette to paint from because they have all kinds of edges. I need a kind of eccentricity that is more typical of a character actor than a leading man, and yet still has a leading man presence and charisma."

David Cronenberg, Director
Cannes Film Festival 2005 Press Kit

"The challenge in preparing and playing Tom Stall was to be thoroughly honest and specific with behaviour, to lie as truthfully as possible. But that's what actors are always ideally trying to do anyway."

Viggo Mortensen
V-Life magazine, Jan 2006

'Identity is another important aspect of A History of Violence. I play someone who's escaped from somewhere to become someone else and create a new identity. It is one of the basic acts of human existence that we create an identity. It's not a genetic thing that's given to us as an absolute like the colour of our eyes; it's something we are involved in creating as we live our lives by the choices we make.....'

Viggo Mortensen
Ol' Blue Eyes is Back, by Marianne Gray
8 October 2005

Mortensen played two parts at once-a simple family man with a set of barely tamped-down killer instincts and urges. In maintaining that balance, Mortensen says he tried 'to give a very detailed performance.' You see it most in his placid poise behind the diner's counter, during the still seconds before he lashes out. 'A lot of people don't trust those details to come through, but I've always believed that the camera and the audience can see a lot more than a lot of directors-and even actors-give them credit for.'

Viggo Mortensen
New Yorkers of the Year
New York Magazine
19 Dec 2005

Mortensen's commitment translated to a collection of artifacts he purchased in the Midwest on his travels, which included ducks and a bank in the shape of a fish head that says 'fishin' money' on it and is set on the diner's cash register, posters of Birds of North America, some landscapes, a small ceramic eagle and other animal sculptures for his daughter's room which he thought Tom's character would have in his home."

"Viggo has been very active in helping to create the surroundings that his character will emerge from. That is unique," says Cronenberg.

Cannes Film Festival 2005 Press Kit

"I want to say it was an intense shoot. It was some days. I had some of the hardest scenes in my life, Viggo and I had to do. I'm not a very nervous actor. I find that if I work from a very joyful, a playful place, it's easy and it's fun. But I had some days when I came to set literally just shaking, thinking, 'I can not possibly do this scene.' I was just terrified because it was quite, quite intense. But we just sure had fun. David Cronenberg was an incredible leader/father figure."

Maria Bello
January 2005

'......even though emotionally there was a lot of difficult days on the set, you know, uncomfortable. There was always a lot of joking going on. It was a lot of fun making this movie. He has a very good sense of humour, maybe a very dark sense of humour, [laughs] but a good one.'

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

"It's a simple narrative on the surface," Mortensen explains. "The setting, certainly. And there are certain things that remind one of genre imagery that you've seen before, whether it's action movies or crime movies or Westerns. There are a lot of elements that look familiar. But it's kind of like the family itself. Everything that looks normal, in the end, isn't really. And like a lot of David's movies, at the end you say, 'Well, is anyone really normal?' "

Hurt's so good
LA Daily News
26 September 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

"...at the heart of it, it's a complicated love story between Maria Bello's character and mine, and it is as it's called 'a history of violence'. But it's also a history of anti-violence, or of at least one man's effort to find another way to deal with his problems. And just because you want to change the way you are, doesn't mean it's going to be easy, and it certainly isn't in the story. But there's one thing that the story says that I think is valuable and true, and that's that it's never too late to change the way you look at the world, the way you behave, the way you treat others. Whether you're an individual or whether you're a nation, you can change your ways, you can improve always. And any relationship takes work."

Viggo Mortensen
X-Press Online
8 March 2006

Quotable Viggo: 21 January 2012

'Icy', 'ocean-blue', 'frost-bite blue', 'peaceful', 'piercing', 'melancholy', 'bright', 'intense'.... you already know what I'm talking about, don't you? Last week's Quotable was all about revealing the soul of a character through the eyes alone. This week I thought I'd follow it up with some reactions to Viggo's amazing peepers when he's just being Viggo.

© Star Line Productions

Viggo Mortensen was bare-footed, with loose dark pants and a large shirt that makes him look both small and newly awakened. His left hand is decorated with stuff to remember and phone numbers all the way up his arm and a stubborn bit of tape has attached itself to his sleeve.

The bright eyes are at the same time quick and thoughtful and it is as if he exists in a parallel reality, with a different rhythm, speed and profundity. And yet he is present.

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

It is difficult to recognize the sexy star because of the mighty moustache that fills a lot of his face. But the ocean blue eyes shine through as usual.

Viggo On His Way To Denmark
Billed-Bladet #24 - translated by Westfold
June 2005

He seduces us with a threat of danger, his chiseled Nordic physique and stunning blue eyes. Never over the top, for Mortensen, less is more. His performances are slow reveals of hidden information and emotion.

Viggo Mortensen Talks The Road
By Anne Thompson
Indie Wire
13 September 2009

Mr. Mortensen has bladelike, Slavic cheekbones, the most jutting movie chin since Kirk Douglas's and icy blue eyes that can seem soulful one minute and menacing the next. He also has a compact, chiseled physique that looks great adorned with Russian mob tattoos.

Big Gun Takes on the Apocalypse
Charles McGrath
New York Times
10 September 2009

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. The actor also exudes intelligence, whether he's playing a magnetically sadistic Navy SEALS officer in "G.I. Jane" or a genteel suitor in "The Portrait of a Lady."

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

The planes of his face bespeak both peril and sensitivity -- a romantic who could be caddish with your heart but rueful about it. His cleft chin, pale, almost milky, eyes, soft-spoken tone, and laidback manner complete the picture but he's more than matinee idol handsome. He has that incurable, unbearable, enigmatic eroticism of a three in the morning dream you've just awakened from.

Talking With Viggo
George magazine

Viggo Mortensen is a smolderer. He opens those intense, I-know-how-to-build-my-own-kitchen eyes, and he wins my girlfriend over every time. Obviously, I want to hate him because anyone that ruggedly handsome has to be despised on principal alone, but like Paul Newman and his absurdly delicious salad dressing, there comes a day when you just have to admit a dude's alright.

20 Actors Who Deserve Your Support
By Josh
Cinema Blend
22 August 2010

"There was only one boy that recognised me the whole two weeks I was wandering around [Russia]. And that was my last day there. It was just a freak thing. He looked at my eyes, and I think he'd seen Lord of the Rings 500 times, and, even though I didn't have the long hair and the beard, he was sure."

Viggo on being recognised in Russia
Q&A with Viggo Mortensen
By Neala Johnson
Melbourne Herald Sun
8 March 2007

...the first impression that you get from the New York actor with cosmopolitan roots (his father is Danish and his mother is American), is very different from that of the vigorous and strong hero that we have always seen on the big screen. Instead, Mortensen is a calm, serene, and very reflective man. His blue eyes reflect the inner peace that he has managed to maintain in spite of the Hollywood craziness...

Top Men - Viggo Mortensen
By - translated by Graciela
September 2006

The frostbite-blue eyes snap onto mine for a split second. If the brow is a two-way mirror to the soul, his is cracked in several places by Despair and Inner Torment. Mortensen is justly celebrated in Hollywood for how he telegraphs both, which are reading in his face right now. A face rendered (almost) unrecognizable with that distracting droop of a Wild West moustache, the familiar starburst cleft in his chin forested over by a neat beard.

The Great Dane
By Phoebe Eaton
Men's Vogue
March 2008

Later, during a break in filming, I shake hands with Viggo, stained with special effects blood. We chatted for a while and then went to eat underneath the tent that protected us from the sun, while I observed his soldier's moustache, his scars, his doublet covered with dust and blood, his light and engrossing eyes that looked only like those of veterans, more beyond life and death. He wasn't an actor, I suddenly thought. He was the rigorous image of the tired hero

Viggo, The Captain
By Arturo Pérez-Reverte - translated by Elessars Queen and Astarloa
El Semanal, Diario de León
20 July 2005

Before we meet, in London, I see him in the street, outside the Charlotte Street Hotel. He's crouched over his phone. He's wearing the navy and red football shirt of his team, San Lorenzo, from Argentina. He grew up there. "So these are my heroes. The one group of people or thing I support unconditionally. They can do no wrong," he says with a half-smile and sits down in the cosy-chaired library. His hair is long. His eyes are piercing, kind. Full of fun, full of melancholy.

Sympathy For The Devil
By Chrissy Iley
The Observer
19 April 2009

'You know, for me to look each person in the eye and listen to their question and answer them, and get their name right and be respectful---that takes a certain amount of energy for complete concentration. Unless you're just someone who doesn't look at somebody, who doesn't deal with it. At the end of the day you don't have anything left, sometimes, for yourself. You have to find ways to hide out, that's all.'

Viggo Mortensen on meeting fans
Native Voice Interview with Viggo
By Lise Balk King,
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
December 2003

Quotable Viggo: 14 January 2012

Turning Viggo into Freud has involved some physical changes, as we know, and one of the biggest changes involved turning his eyes brown. As the owner of a pair of what must be acting's most stunning peepers, I know we were all a little worried as Viggo can convey more with his eyes than most actors manage with their entire face. But even brown contacts can't stop him mesmerising audiences and critics alike with those tiny nuances that only the eyes can convey. The eyes are said to be the 'window of the soul' and revealing the soul of each character he plays has always been the key factor in Viggo's remarkable portrayals. In The Road, Ryan Adams thought the look in Viggo's eyes alone would be enough to secure him a second elusive Oscar Nomination.

© Focus Features/New Line/20th CenturyFox/Estudios Picasso/Origen/Touchstone/Buena Vista Pictures/2929/Dimension Films

You underwent sort of a physical transformation to play the father of modern psychoanalysis.

Once we started talking about it, I thought with the help of a great makeup person--David's longtime makeup collaborator Stephan Dupuis who was nominated for an Oscar for "The Fly,"--it could work. He altered my nose. And one thing that's mentioned a lot by his contemporaries is that Freud had a particular type of penetrating brown-eyed gaze. I said "Montgomery Clift did it with his clear eyes in John Huston's movie," [the 1962 film, "Freud: The Secret Passion"] but I don't think if we're trying to be accurate that it would be right. So he started playing around with lenses that looked right but also didn't take away my own eyes' expressiveness.

How Viggo Mortensen Got Inside Sigmund Freud's Head
By Rachel Dodes
The Wall Street Journal: Speakeasy
18 November 2011

I was so taken with Mortensen's constantly alert and cunning eyes. He was always thinking, sometimes on a current that flows in opposite direction of his dialogue.

A Dangerous Method review
By Sheila OMalley
Capital New York
6 October 2011

The look in Viggo's eyes secures his nomination, I feel confident. It's going to take a lot of wry grins, curmudgeonly scowls, and other baked ham recipes for any other actor to match the depths this role fathoms.

The Road review
Ryan Adams
Awards Daily
October 2009

Starring Viggo Mortensen in an alternately feral and saintly performance of shattering emotional depth - his are the most haunted eyes I've ever seen sustained in a film performance

The Road review
Carl Kozlowski
Big Hollywood
24 November

.... his eyes are filled with the kind of tremulous compassion that can carry the emotional weight of an entire movie.

The Road review
Kevin Maher
The Times Online
8 January 2010

Using his entire body to signal pain, but particularly wielding his glassy eyes like sharp little weapons, the actor captures a cagey, yet hopeful spirit, a good man in a worst case scenario trying to do what he can to get by.

Hitting 'The Road' with Director John Hillcoat
Matt Mazur
22 November 2009

He is one of the few actors who can tell a story with his eyes, and these are eyes so full of pain. It is the best kind of acting, pure and honest.

The Road
John Foote
In Contention
15 September 2009

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

Appaloosa review
A O Scott
International Herald Tribune
18 September 2008

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.

Eastern Promises review
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
14 Sept 2007

When you look into Mortensen's eyes, you're convinced that he's come to terms with the fact that he's condemned to eternal damnation.

Eastern Promises review
Jake Hamilton
That movie guy Blog
10 Sept 2007

Viggo is an actor with a very intense look; you must take into account that Agustín (the director) has chosen Viggo for his look. Alatriste is a fellow that looks in a way...his look is a look that frightens, is a look cold and hard, and the look of Viggo is impressive, he has a look that captives the camera. That look of Alatriste... the audience is going to forget anything else about Alatriste and remind the eyes of Viggo, that are the eyes of Alatriste"

Diario de Cadiz, October 2004
translated by Vicky

"He is the ultimate. He is a confident actor, he expresses everything with his eyes..."

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

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.

A History of Violence review
Christopher Childs
May 31, 2005

Mortensen delivers a tremendous performance, the shadings in the character coming out slowly, subtly, sometimes with just the shift of the eye.

A History of Violence review
Pam Grady
Film Stew
23 September 2005

Viggo might have had a haircut since his middle-earth days, but he's lost none of his power. Look into his eyes, you'll see his soul.

A History of Violence review
Paul Greenwood
Future Movies
29 September 2005

The fiery passion that blazes in his eyes can do what no extra-large popcorn can: sustain a grown woman through six-plus hours of viewing pleasure for the past two years. It has been a torrid, if one-sided, affair, though I suspect many others have fallen for his unwashed charms.

On Viggo as Aragorn
It's Good to be "King"
by Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today, 2003

Quotable Viggo: 8 January 2012

Long before there were books there were spoken poems - the roots of literature lie in verses recited around camp fires and in ancient halls. Viggo is a poet who still believes that listening to the words of a poem instead of reading them is a worthwhile experience, creating a different kind of connection between the poem and the listening audience. The spoken word has been included on most of his recordings, he still gives poetry readings - most recently to promote the work of poets he believes in - and on one brave day in 2003 he stood up at a peace rally and gave everyone there the full force of Back to Babylon. Before enjoying the quotes, it's worth listening again to Viggo reading aloud - first an excerpt from the recent recording of TS Eliot's The Waste Land and then reading his own early poem, Wading, from Recent Forgeries.

Eliot's The Waste Land


© Isabel Nunez

"Poetry is something that I'd always done, long before I even thought about the idea of acting," he recalls. "But I'd never done it in public, read anything. As an actor you're always reading someone else's words, and then what you do gets edited. So there's several screens through which you're speaking, if at all. As a poet, it's your words."

Viggo Mortensen
In The Navy
By Joy Ray
September 1997

"Exene... encouraged me to recite my poems in public. At the beginning the idea was totally worrying for me. But something happens when you are faced with an audience. No matter whether you present photographs, pictures, movies or poems to other people, it's worth it because you always learn something."

Viggo Mortensen
Two-Men Show
By Silvia Feist - translated by Always Smiling and Doreen
Vogue Deutsch
November 2005

On record, Mortensen's speaking voice--especially in Spanish--actually is more melodic and alluring than his singing. Confident and clear, he draws listeners in as he spins tales of deceit and humor.

That confidence is exhibited again on the new spoken-word record "The New Yorker Out Loud Vol. 2." The two-album collection includes readings by musician Chuck D and actress Suzy Amis. But it's Mortensen's readings of selections from Jack Kerouac's "On the Road Journals" that are truly mesmerizing. That he scored and mixed the avant-garde jazz in the background is an added bonus.

Sensitive Side of Psycho
By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun Times
16 December 1998

"I started my own publishing house, which I have called Perceval Press, after the legend of the knight who is freed from his spiritual blindness when he is initiated into the mysteries of the Grail. We publish authors who have found it difficult to get published. Poets, mostly. It is important to protect living poetry, which is also why I participate as often as I can in public readings."

Viggo Mortensen
A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
By Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine
December 2003

"....if you´ve written a poem and you read it, you don´t know what will happen. Something changes between my mouth and the eyes and ears of those who are there reading or listening to my words, my little story. Something changes between writing it and pronouncing the words. I don´t know what the reader receives. There´s no net. For that reason, I'm responsible for what I´ve written and for how I read it."

Viggo Mortensen - All of Us are Mestizos
by Carlos Shilling - translated by Ollie, Remolina, Rio and Zoe
November 2010

Thousands of people take part in the first great pacifist demonstration in Washington since George Bush announced, on May 1st, the end of military operations in Iraq. Viggo speaks, following veterans and activists. After distributing his anti-war teeshirts and protesting against the occupation of Iraq, he addresses Congress with a fierce: "God isn't angry, you are." Then he reads one of his poems, written for publication on the poetsagainstwar.org website, Back to Babylon, from which an extract follows:

"Accept and forget difference and desire that separates and leaves us longing or repelled. Why briefly return to playin broken places, to mock the ground, to collect infant shards, coins, fossils, or the familiar empty cannisters and casings that glint from poisoned roots in the blackened dust?"

25th October - A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
By Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine
December 2003

Mortensen began the evening by lighting a candle and quoting a phrase by poet S.A. Griffin. 'We are here for the sweet stigmata of the poem. And here's the news.' The breathless, packed room received the news, and it was clear from the moment Viggo spoke that this was poetry's night.

Three Fools poetry reading
National Poetry Month Starts At Beyond Baroque With Three April Fools
By Philomene Long, Poet Laureate of Venice
Santa Monica Mirror
27 April 2006

...he begins reading. He's nervous. "I don't slur when I read other people's stuff," he jokes, and the crowd laughs indulgently. But he soldiers on, losing himself in the rhythm of his words.

They were always giving birth, always pregnant, always taking ****ing for granted. They were not being brave when they dug up the skulls of their past lovers in the middle of the night and painted them for use as Jack O'Lanterns. It was summer and they were crazy about each other.
("Hallowe'en" 1990)

Maybe it's the visceral attack of his writing, or the R-rated shock of hearing Aragorn cuss, but the audience's attention never wavers.

Midnight Special poetry reading
Viggo Trip
By Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39
November 200

Despite his American accent, Viggo Mortensen's reading of the poem [Eliot's The Waste Land] comes closest to the voice I hear in my head as I read. Being able to read and listen along and then close my eyes as the words wash over is luxurious and something I want to be able to do with lots more poems. In fact this feels exactly how poems should be consumed.

The Waste Land App reviewed
by Chris Meade
The Literary Platform
13 June 2011

"The success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy changed the deal a little. Before then, when I put on a poetry reading, there would just be a circle of my friends around me. Now there are hundreds of inquisitive strangers. If fame can make an under-appreciated art better known, it's perfect!

Viggo Mortensen
Grazia Magazine
Translated by Chrissiejane
December 2009

'It's great if someone who never would've gone to a poetry reading goes to one because they're thinking, "Oh, that actor guy's doing it - it'll probably be shit, but we should go and see it anyway!"'

Viggo Mortensen on 'The Road'
By David Jenkins
Time Out
7 January 2010

Quotable Viggo: 1 January 2012

Happy New Year, everyone! As we start 2012, I'd like to look back over 2011 before we finally say goodbye to it, so I've rounded up all my favourite quotes for the year. The start of 2011 was rather quiet for us Viggo fans, so these are rather heavily weighted towards the latter half of the year when the round of A Dangerous Method and Purgatorio publicity started and we finally got some interviews and reviews to enjoy. Because of this, a lot of the quotes below have appeared in recent Quotables. But if you can't indulge in your favourite things on New Year's Day, when can you? So here are all the year's gems that have stuck in my mind.

©TBD/The Hollywood Minute/Sony Pictures/Haddock Films/Teatro Español

...arguably the most unconventional, maverick A-list actor around.

Five Things We Learned In Toronto From The 'A Dangerous Method' Star
Oliver Lyttelton
The Playlist
14 September 2011

'I would want to watch Viggo Mortensen in any language.

Sanford Panitch, President of Fox International
Fox International Acquires Worldwide Rights To Viggo Mortensen-Starrer 'Everybody Has A Plan'
By Mike Fleming
5 May 2011

Mortensen speaks slowly and in each one of his answers it seems there are endless concepts that could need an extra explanation.

Viggo Mortensen tiene un plan
By Justina Berard
Vos/La Voz
25 May 2011

He never had Champagne dreams and caviar wishes...

Viggo Talks and Talks
By Zoe Heller
T Magazine
2 December 2011

"Viggo is a passionate homeboy. Multiply him by one hundred, and Hollywood might be worth sparing when the Red Cavalry next rides down Sunset Boulevard."

Mike Davis
Viggo Talks and Talks
By Zoe Heller
T Magazine
2 December 2011

"He's an actor that connects with the character and he's a little crazy, crazy enough to play these characters that he plays."

Javier Godino
Viggo Mortensen at home in first Argentine film
By Luis Andres Henao
Reuters Canada
22 July 2011

"True forgiveness is worth it, it clears things up, it cleanses and calms us down. From there on we can advance, grow, in a healthy way."

Viggo talking about Purgatorio
Viggo Mortensen: "Sometimes I have thought that I´ve been an idiot to get into this theatrical challenge"
By Liz Perales - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
El Cultural
31 October 2011

"I find peace in Viggo´s eyes. Confronted with the giddiness of the text, you can take risks with him, walk the tightrope."

Carme Elías
Viggo Mortensen And Forgiveness
By Ulises Fuente - translated by Ollie and Rio
La Razón
1 November 2011

Viggo Mortensen is unsurpassable in humanity, contained pain and buried passion.

Purgatorio review
You and I make four
By Marcos Ordóñez - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
El País
7 November 2011

"I think my cast has great need of psychoanalysis, which is why I cast them actually, to introduce them gently to the idea that they needed help, a lot of help....And you can see they are much better people. Before they were messes. When I found them, they were neurotics, hopeless," Cronenberg said to great laughter.

Mortensen played along. "Now we dress ourselves," he retorted.

Venice Film Festival Press Conference: A Dangerous Method
Cronenberg 'cures' cast in Freud-Jung drama
2 September 2011

"I just go back to work with David and he fills up all my neuroses..."

Viggo Mortensen
TIFF Press Conference Diaries: It's game on for the stars of A Dangerous Method
Ben Kaplan
National Post
10 September 2011

"We can do some doll therapy if anyone's interested..."

Viggo talking about 'Sigi' the Freud doll in San Lorenzo colours
at the Venice Film Festival ADM Press Conference
2 September 2011

Freud, played by the perpetual shape-shifter Viggo Mortensen, slinks around like a silent old Zen master.

A Dangerous Method review
Matthew D'Abate
Your Beautiful New York
14 December 2011

This is a Viggo you don't think of when you think of Viggo... There should also be an honorary Oscar involved for Best Cigar Smoking, for his ever-present stogies.

A Dangerous Method review
Joshua Miller
21 October 2011

...the ever-flawless Viggo Mortensen.

A Dangerous Method review
Jesse Hawthorne Ficks
San Francisco Bay Guardian
26 September 2011

"...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

Philip Seymour Hoffman, certainly one of the great actors of our time, told us in a Venetian hallway of the Hotel Excelsior how he regarded Viggo Mortensen as one of the masters of the profession. A point of view that is totally shared.

Viggo Mortensen in the Shoes of Dr. Freud
By Nicolas Crousse
Le Soir - translated by Dom
4 September 2011

Correspondence greatly occupied Freud and Jung. One no longer writes many letters today. Do you?

Yes, I still do. And when I do, people are surprised to receive them. It's becoming rare. Almost exotic. But I like it, yes.

Viggo Mortensen in the Shoes of Dr. Freud
By Nicolas Crousse
Le Soir - translated by Dom
4 September 2011

...he went to see the game his team played against Tigre in Victoria Stadium. The management had reserved a box for him, but Mortensen preferred sitting in the stands among the fans.

Viggo Mortensen - Lights, Camera... Passion
By Eduardo Bejuk - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
10 May 2011

....the Cuervo ambassador to the world.

Jorge Barros
San Lorenzo Supporters Subcommittee interview
Transcribed/translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
SCH tv
20 May 2011

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Last edited: 22 December 2012 20:08:34