Quotable Viggo 2015


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Quotable Viggo: 31 October 2015

It's 31st October! Time to have a look at one of Viggo's early horror films, Prison, which is full of ghosts, gore, spooky electrical goings on and... well... Viggo. Lots of Viggo. Happy Halloween!

© Empire Pictures.

Before Viggo Mortensen became Aragorn and before Renny Harlin became known for helming such flashily forgettable action fare as The Long Kiss Goodnight and Driven, the two made sweet incarcerated horror music together with the aptly named Prison (1988). Well, not that sweet, but Prison does have the dubious distinction of being one of Harlin's best as well as the finest film to come out of the late '80s trend of the return of the vengeful executed (remember Wes Craven's Shocker?).

Haunted Prison
Independent Film Channel
30 October 2007

'I met with about 80 young Hollywood actors for Viggo's part. I couldn't find the one. I was looking for a young James Dean. Then, Viggo Mortensen walked into the room. I knew almost instantly that he was the one. There was such a charisma about him. I really thought that this film would make him a household name.'

Renny Harlin
Review Fix Exclusive: Q & A With "Prison" Director Renny Harlin
Patrick Hickey Jr.
Review Fix
14 February 2013

'I just looked at him and thought please let him know how to act.'

Director Renny Harlin
Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011

'He was this striking looking guy and he really was a good guy and still is. He's just a very nice person. But boy he really brought up the smoldering intensity right away. That was terrific.'

Screenwriter Courtney Joyner
Late night classics – Prison
Jason Bene
2 June 2010

Prison is pretty remarkable on a lot of levels; it also features Viggo Mortensen in one of his first feature film roles. I know it's cliché to say an actor has intensity but I think Prison is one of his more intense roles. There is a scene in the prison yard when he's going toe-to-toe with a prisoner who's trying to run the yard that is just cool as hell.

Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011

'It was a real low budget horror exploitation thing. The cast was a bunch of people [who were] New York stage actors. For that kind of movie, it was a pretty experienced group of actors; good actors got those parts. So, I was surrounded by people who really knew what they were doing, which was nice. It was fun to work with them. I mean, the story was what it was. It was a horror movie and it was on the cheap side and all that, but Renny Hahn had a certain amount of visual flair. Other that,I don't know if it stands out any more than the other movies at this time. I liked the location, I liked Wyoming.'

Viggo talking about Prison
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
By Carnell
March 1999

Mortensen, who can count PRISON as his first starring role, is equally great as the "strong silent" con who has no problem threatening to tear the dick off of his ward's biggest, baddest rapist in the middle of the yard. It's not a showy perfomance (particularly when you put it into context with the rest of Viggo's career, TEXAS CHAINSAW III included), but it's enough to keep the film anchored and give the audience a formidable anti-hero to root for once Forsythe's ghost begins wreaking havoc.

Jacob Knight
22 February 2013

This was an early role for Mortensen, who would go on to fame in The Lord of the Rings, Eastern Promises and The Road, among other films. It's interesting to watch him here as he channels a James Dean vibe, with his wedge-cut hair and sulky, almost shy delivery. He rises to the occasion when the dramatic scenes demand it, but for much of the movie his presence borders on the self-effacing, in contrast to his later work.

David Maine
20 February 2013

Viggo Mortensen is something of a find as Burke, an inmate apparently bred on James Dean and Montgomery Clift films. All the supporting roles are solid as well. As for the Spirit of Forsythe, he's not just another masked menace or a flesh-rotted presence, but more of a malevolent specter à la The Keep. When his hell breaks loose, it's quite chilling.

Source: Hollibonitos

Mortensen shows good leading man chops well before Hollywood took notice of him...

Shlockmania Blu-ray review
18 February 2013

Viggo Mortensen, in an early role before stardom, offers a strong-willed, no-frills performance that suits the character wonderfully.

Martin Liebman
2 February 2013

This was Mortensen's first lead role, too, but he delivers with a calm and extremely cool persona who holds his own against the more traditional thugs.

By Rob Hunter
filmschoolrejects Blu-ray review
16 February 2013

"After this movie wraps, I'm thinking of going into goatherding, like my mother and her mother before her."

Viggo Mortensen on 'Prison'
Prison Press Kit Biography

Quotable Viggo: 25 October 2015

Waking up from a particularly vivid dream last night, I wondered if it was possible to do a 'dream' quotable – not just about the dreams we have when we are asleep, but those dreams we have when we are awake. After all, Jauja blurs dreams and reality, Viggo has often referred to how dreams and myths shape our world and how we see it, and he has played Freud at a time in his career when he and Jung spent hours analysing each other's dreams. It seems Viggo's own dreams includes the classic 'unable to see' nightmare (I bet there are quite a few of us who have had those!)...

© New Line Productions Inc.

'Dreams about becoming famous wasn't what got me into acting to begin with, but the dream about telling stories.'

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

"…..you know, no one looks at the world like it really is. Everyone looks at the world like they want it to be. When it comes down to it, everyone is in their own 'dream world', we could become crazy if we thought of the world like it really is."

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

Viggo explains that the promise of Jauja was used as propaganda by the Spaniards who conquered South America in the 16th century.

"It was hard to convince people to go there. You'd either die on the way or die when you got there. You never got to go home. So they tried to make it sound like the ideal place. Something you'd dream about seeing or achieving. But you never really get what you're looking for, do you?"

Viggo Mortensen: 'Often people are desperate, so I do what needs to be done'
By Alice Fisher
Observer Magazine
5 April 2015

"There's a lot of entering and coming out of dreams, a lot of transitions in the movie. It takes seeing it two or three times before you see all of these moments, from the first scene where the daughter grabs my arm once I give her the answer she wants about getting a dog, and she closes her eyes and never opens them again for the rest of the scene. I think that's the first dream. By the end of the story, you don't know if we're being dreamed, or if the characters are all dreamed, or if it's a dog's dream or the girl's dream. In a way, it doesn't matter. It's what it stimulates."

Interview with Actor Viggo Mortensen
Nick Chen
London Calling
7 April 2015

"I think that plans are not that different from dreams; they are like dreams with another [kind of] will, conscious dreams. People think that a plan fails or works, or comes to nothing, but it's not like that; plans change because we change, circumstances change."

"We are all artists" - Viggo Mortensen
By Susana Parejas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
7 Dias
2 September 2012

'When I'm awake, I dream of perfection. It's not about reaching it, I'm aware that it is not possible. My concern is to seek it, to try very hard to shoot the perfect movie, to have the perfect marriage, to paint the perfect painting – above all to know that it will never work out. What counts is the will, not the achievement of the goal.'

Viggo Mortensen
I Have A Dream
By Viggo Mortensen - translated by CoCo and Techadmin
Zeit magazine
23 July 2015

10 o'clock, Thursday morning. Fifth day of shooting. Only a few hours after Lisandro Alonso has swallowed the last of a long series of Fernets with Coke, Viggo Mortensen, along with Fabián Casas, knocks at the director´s door. When the water for the maté is boiling in the kettle, the actor starts the conversation. Tonight Viggo has dreamt. "When the day is over, we talk about the film, then I think about it and I go to bed," he explains, dressed in a threadbare sweater with the colours of the national Danish team. "I dream a lot. Tonight for example, I dreamt about something that could later be useful for our story." Lisandro corroborates it: "He comes every morning before shooting and he tells me `Che, I thought of this for the film.´

Lost in La Pampa
By Pierre Boisson - translated by Ollie
So Film #10 (France)
May 2013

It was a stroke of inspiration to cast the virile, hyper-secure Mortensen as the godfather of neurosis. Puffing on a cigar, he makes Freud a charismatic control freak, a man all too eager to engage in dream analysis yet too much of a self-designed authority figure to put his own dreams up for dissection.

Enertainment Weekly
Owen Gleiberman
10 September 2011

"It's based on a real person and a real horse," Mortensen says. "But we take some liberties, for a good reason. Myth-making is a way of dreaming out loud or dreaming in public. . . "

Viggo Mortensen
A Man of Many Parts
Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post, 2004

WH: Many accomplished artists tell their students to always follow their dreams

VM: Well how can I tell someone to follow their dreams when I can't even come up with a good one for you. [both laugh]

WH: Which is true, so I ask also sometimes that sounds like such a hollow phrase because especially as a young person how do I even know what my dream is?

VM: I think an easier thing, because that's like sort of a concept, don't forget your dreams, follow your dreams and the kid's thinking, yeah yeah and then they're what is that? I guess what is that, is the thing you need to do. A better piece of advice would be listen to yourself, because that's where the dream is eventually.

The German Dream Interview
By Wolfgang Harrer - transcription by Aflon1
19 October 2005

'It's imposing your dream on others that does damage.'

Viggo Mortensen
What I've Learned
By Cal Fussman
23 April 2015

You act, write poetry and paint. Do you still struggle to achieve everything you want to do?

Yeah, I wish life was longer. I wish that I didn't have to sleep. I like sleeping, and dreaming especially. But I wish sleep was a luxury, that I could just lie under the covers, listen to the rain but that I didn't have to if I didn't want to.

The Inner Viggo
By Jenny Ewart
New Zealand's Woman's Weekly

I am standing in a big garden, looking into the sky and watching the birds in the tree tops. Behind me there is a house. Everything is very calm and quiet. One bird flies towards me, it is colorful like a parrot, but reminds me more of a crow. The bird attacks me, tries to pick one of my eyes. I try to fend him off to protect my eyes. Finally I flee into the house. As I get in there, I see a lot of people. All of them are reading – books, newspapers or comics. They are reading while moving or standing. No one is sitting. I go from one to the other, asking them to look after my eye and asking if everything is ok with it. But the more people I ask, the worse my eyesight gets. Before I become completely blind, I wake up.

I have had this dream many times, the first time as a child, then as a teenager and also in my 20s and 30s – interestingly very often in phases of my life in which I really had problems with my eyes and had poor eyesight for some days. Maybe the dream was a first hint, or maybe it even symbolizes my fear of going blind. During the last years I haven't dreamed this anymore.

Viggo Mortensen
I Have A Dream
By Viggo Mortensen - translated by CoCo and Techadmin
Zeit magazine
23 July 2015

"This world is a dream we all contribute to, in one way or another. We are part of the dream, if we are aware or not, if we like it or not. These pictures are a part of my dream, of the way I exist and act in the world."

Viggo Mortensen, The Photographer Of Dreams
By Giovanni Valerio - translated by Cindalea
Panorama First
July 2008

Quotable Viggo: 17 October 2015

This week's quotable could be labelled 'food, glorious food'. But not just your everyday food, oh no. We have everything from crickets to French fries, pickled herrings to frangipane, dandelions to ducks. For our health we have a little bit of salad. And for the sake of completeness, we also have the washing up...

Image Larry Horricks.
© Good Films.

Just for fun … what is your favorite comfort food?

Hard to choose one, but I can give you four off the top of my head: pickled herring, strong cheddar cheese, dark chocolate, and salted almonds.

Viggo-Works 10th Anniversary Interview With Viggo
By Viggo-Works and Viggo Mortensen
30 May 2014

Could this guy be sweeter? Um, no. He's like a heaping serving of a triple blueberry hazelnut frangipane smørrebrød sweet!

Singin' in the Reigns
by Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review, Mar 2004

VM: Rabbits sometimes run out in front of your car, right? Well, I hit this rabbit on this lonely road in the South Island and I wanted to make sure it was dead. If it wasn't, I'd put it out of its misery. And it was quite dead, so I thought, 'Well, why waste it?' And so I made a little fire and ate it.

Q: Is this something that you thought Aragorn would have done?

VM: As he was driving down the road and if he hit a rabbit? Yeah, he might. If he was hungry, I guess.

The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

"He's just a very simple guy with simple tastes; he doesn't like any luxurious things. I would try to get Viggo to have a decent meal and he would just sit there nibbling on a piece of lettuce, which upset me no end."

Omar Sharif
5 May 2004

Here were all the toy soldiers, ineffective windshield wipers, first tastes of chocolate, wine, asparagus, venison, trout, chalk, ants, a Big Mac, dirt, dandelion stem, unsweetened yerba maté, duck, beer, snow, blood...

Viggo Mortensen on his lost notebooks
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading
Houghton Mifflin, 2004

He gave presents every day.....An example of what Viggo Mortensen's participation in this Spanish project has been like is explained by Unax Ugalde: "When he knew about my big childhood fondness for Sugus sweets, one day I found on the floor of my dressing room the shape of my name all made out with sugus."

Unax Ugalde
The Court of Alatriste
By Rocío García, [I]Translated for V-W by Paddy
El País Semanal, 6 August 2006

The comfortable rapport between the young Australian and the seasoned Mortensen was on display as the duo described pre-production bonding activities, including a visit to an anatomy exhibit that featured real human bodies and a trip to a Mexican restaurant in Pittsburgh to sample edible crickets and worms.

Viggo Mortensen and young co-star trade barbs, discuss bleak film The Road
By Cassandra Szlarski
The Canadian Press
13 September 2009

They later found packages of edible dried insects in a local shop - crickets and maggots in either chilli or salt and vinegar flavours. We decide to use the chilli crickets for the movie.

The Road - John Hillcoat's Diary
By John Hillcoat
Sunday Telegraph
3 January 2010

'The McDonald's french fry is unbelievable. When you bite into it, you think: It's so tasty, it can't be real. As soon as it gets cold, it turns to lard and flubble. I mean, have you ever tried to eat a McDonald's french fry that's gone cold? That's one of the circles of hell. The gulf between the warm, fresh, lightly salted McDonald's french fry and the cold McDonald's french fry is as great a gulf as any I know.'

What I've Learned
By Cal Fussman
23 April 2015

"He wanted to eat a real locust," Johnston says. "The locust he eats is made out of sugar. He said, 'You know, I can eat a live one.' I said, 'Let's eat all the fake ones first. If we run out, you can eat a live one.' "

Joe Johnston on filming Hidalgo
A Man of Many Parts
Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post, 2004

"I like to live dangerously. Last night I was quietly at home, cooking a meal of chicken, onions and garlic, Cuban style, and then here I am today facing a pack of journalists."

Viggo Mortensen Talks About "Jauja" and "Far from Men"
By Martin Dale
7 December 2014

"After the first day of shooting on the set of Jauja, the whole team had dinner together. Viggo was enjoying himself, we talked about this and that, but when we had finished eating and the dishes had been removed, he disappeared. After a while we started speculating where he was. Had any of us said something inappropriate? We found him in the kitchen doing the dishes."

Lisandro Alonso
11 August 2015

This myth of the poor lonesome cowboy, the guy who has no need of others to be happy, is it really a trick to attract women?

On the contrary! Each time I have tried to charm them with my poetic cowboy side, it's ended in total failure. To seduce a woman, food is more effective than poetry. I love to make complex dishes. That always works!

Viggo Mortensen
Grazia Magazine
Translated by Chrissiejane
December 2009

I would make a giant salad from my own garden, provide good home-baked bread, and, to be safe and not offend anyone, a big rice dish with options of meat and vegetarian, with lots of hand-picked forest mushrooms in both. Also oven-baked potatoes, carrots, garlic, turnips, onions. For those interested, I'd provide fresh-caught wild rainbow trout and salmon, grilled with a bit of lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blackberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, blueberries, huckleberries, apples, plums, wild grapes, and whatever else I could find in my ideal orchards and surrounding forest. Lots of good water from a spring, and plenty of red and white wine from Spain, Argentina, Italy, France, and New Zealand.

Viggo saying what he would cook for historical figures invited to a dinner party
Viggo-Works 10th Anniversary Interview With Viggo
By Viggo-Works and Viggo Mortensen
30 May 2014

"I have nothing against being seen as the greatest invention since sliced bread,"

Viggo Mortensen
Fyens Stiftstidende
23 October 2005

Quotable Viggo: 3 October 2015

Only a few quotes this week, but I won't leave you short changed because they are not really quotes at all but wonderful stories that have to be read complete to be fully appreciated. Because of their length they hardly ever make it into a Quotable, but all of them are favourites of mine and deserved to be enjoyed again.

© CBS.

"Every once in a while you do something really dumb when you're a kid and you realize when you're an adult that that's dangerous, but.. you know.. There was one time when I was coming home at the end of the day, going through the paddocks, and you open the gates from horseback, and the last gate I was about to grab the latch and there was this beautiful, beautiful snake wrapped around it..it was orange and black and white stripes. And I thought 'I'm going to take this home and show it to my family'. And I tried to grab it and he tried to get me. And I like whacked it just to stun it and I grabbed it by the neck and opened the gate and got through, closed it and said "Dad, dad, look what I got." And he freaked out, cos it was a Coral snake, which if you get bit I think two minutes, three minutes, you're dead."

Viggo Mortensen
David Letterman Show, 2004

One last thing that I wish to report is a small anecdote concerning someone. One of my charming girlfriends, attached to the press core assisting all of the DVDrama personel, yesterday was herself helped by a hero and not the least of which since it was Mr. Viggo Mortensen, alias the sensual Aragorn of the Lord of the Rings, about whom we are still having numerous fantasies since the first showing of Peter Jackson's trilogy. Present in Cannes to support David Cronenberg's film, A History of Violence, in which he proves once again his immensity talent, he went to the private evening gathering that followed the premiere screening, which was exactly where my girlfriend was, whose dress suddenly caught fire as she walked down the centre of an avenue edged with small candles. An accident which could have transformed itself very quickly into a catastrophe if the courageous Viggo hadn't intervened immediately, gently throwing himself on her to help extinguish the first flames that could have become a conflagration. Reassuring and concerned he next took lengthy care of her. After this summer the King of Tolkien, Viggo, is today the King of Cannes...

Viggo the Hero
DVDrama, Cannes Film Festival Report
17 May 2005

"I was 20 years old, I was travelling in the north of Norway," he recalls, like an old war veteran. Trying to go "as far up as possible," young Mortensen got lost, survived by lighting a fire and being rescued by the inhabitants of the region, the Samis, a native people of Finno-Ougric descent. "They sheltered me in exchange for work. Afterwards they tried to convince me to spend the winter there. They offered me a big coat and kilos of meat. And when I said no, they offered me a small fat girl of about 16. Maybe I should have stayed. It would have been an interesting experience.

Lost in La Pampa
By Pierre Boisson - translated by Ollie
So Film #10 (France)
May 2013

I order a margarita. He orders a whiskey and a beer. The waiter sees a notepad on the table and his celebrity antennae pop up like Ray Walston's extraterrestrial ones in My Favorite Martian.

"So just who is interviewing who?" the waiter asks us. This is a formality. He's pretty sure that this is the guy from The Lord of the Rings. I start to reply, but Mortensen holds up his hand. "She has just set the world record for the longest distance windsurfed by a human being," he says, tilting his head in my direction.

"No!" the waiter gasps.

"She windsurfed from Hawaii to the mainland," he continues. "Sure, there was a boat that followed her, and she slept at night, but still. That's what, how many miles?" He looks at me.

"Um, thirty-seven hundred?" I say. I have no idea.

"And not even a man has done that yet," Mortensen tells the waiter. "Isn't that cool?"

The waiter asks me to sign a menu.

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

Mortensen….never had any overwhelming desire to jump into anyone else's skin. Instead, he drifted into it – prompted, in part, by an experience he had in Denmark when he was 21.

"When I was a volunteer at the Winter Olympics, I met this woman who asked me if I would go and look after her elderly parents in Sweden for three weeks. They were in their nineties, and they lived miles from anywhere. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. Every morning, the old man would write a letter to the king explaining why he couldn't pay his taxes. The wife was obsessed with Björn Borg and with playing bridge. She would insist that I play with her, even though I had no idea of the rules. Also, you need four people to play bridge, of course.

"Every night we would sit down and pretend to play. We had imaginary partners and she would deal out the hands. I never had any idea of what I was meant to do, none at all. It was totally crazy, but it was one of the first times I had to try to pretend to be someone else and in an odd sort of way I found it fulfilling."

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

Even Mortensen's memories of early childhood are deeply spiritual. He tells me about the time he crawled into the woods and fell asleep. "I was sleeping under a tree, and it was very peaceful," he says. "And then a dog started barking, and that's how my parents found me."

You are always escaping, I say.

Yeah, he says. He calls his mother - on my cell phone, because he doesn't have one - to double-check his recollection. "Hi, it's Viggo. Sorry to be calling so late," he says. "Oh shit. You're in the middle of it? That's funny. Is it the tape? [She was watching a tape of The Two Towers.] O.K., sorry, it's just a quick question and then I'll let you get back to what you're doing. Remember there were a couple of times I ran away? And the time the dog came and found me in the woods? How old was I then? About one and a half. O.K. But, anyway, the dog came and found me and I was sitting under a tree? Happy? Sleeping, right?"

Big look of consternation.

"I was sitting in the middle of the woods crying? I thought I was sleeping. Are you sure?"

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

Mortensen also fell head-over-reel in love with New Zealand because he's a keen angler. He particularly enjoyed wandering off into the wilds, looking for remote rivers to do a spot of fly-fishing. "There are some streams where the fishing's so good, I wouldn't tell you about them," he grins. However, on one of these safaris in the South Island, disaster struck and Mortensen nearly perished.

"It was one of those rare times when I actually had the weekend off, so I headed off to the West Coast, into the rainforest, to a place I'd been to before," he recalls. "I was trying to get to the coast via the woods but it was a bit of a hike and it started to get dark. Stupidly, I hadn't brought a flashlight with me because I thought I knew the trail. But I soon got lost because there was no moon and I was in dense bush. It was pitch black but luckily I had a camera with me that had a flash, so I used the flash to try and find my way out.

"I was taking pictures, using the flash to try and find the trail, because it let me see everything around me for a second. But I never did find it and then I ran out of film! At some point, I ended up in a marshy area and I kept falling down and getting cut by thorns. I just thought, 'This is stupid,' so I found a piece of relatively high ground and lay down for a while until the moon came up.

"Fortunately, when the moon did finally come up, I managed to get my bearings and figured how to get back to where I started from," he recalls. "When I showed up, I really alarmed the makeup people because it looked like I'd been through a grinder!"

Viggo Mortensen
By Desmond Sampson
Pavement #62,
Summer 2003-2004

A really nice box-office clerk (I'm not naming names) at a downtown Madrid theater discovers that Viggo Mortensen, whose girlfriend, a famous Spanish film star, was acting in a version (very poor, to be sure) of a famous play which was playing right there, has come to buy a ticket.

Quite possibly, Mortensen could have asked his partner for an invitation and that would have been that. Instead, he insisted on paying like any regular guy. The box-office clerk recognised him, and smiling, gave him a guest ticket. "How much do I owe you?" said Mortensen in his cheerful Argentinian accent. "No, no, nothing, you are invited," answered the box-office clerk. The Hollywood star thanks her cordially, goes, and ten minutes later returns with an ice cream for the box-office clerk! He insisted that she should take it, although she said she was on a diet, so he sweetened her afternoon. Anyway, when I grow up, I want to be Viggo Mortensen.

Where I said Viggo (Mortensen), I say Diego (Alatriste)
By Juan Luis Sánchez - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
25 November 2011

Quotable Viggo: 27 September 2015

After all our comments last week about Viggo's walk ('nobody moseys like Viggo Mortensen...'), I was musing over the fact that walking is probably one of Viggo's favourite pastimes – not just in Nature, but also through towns and cities. Not just to discover the essence of places, but also as a way of winding down and re-focussing. Appropriate for a man who's had two 'roads' and one 'walk' enshrined in his film titles, who has been both 'Walker' and 'Strider', and who's two latest films involve long walks through stunning remote landscapes.

© 4L Productions.

When I'm out in nature it can be an inspiration. If I am going through a rough period, if I just go out for a walk, on some level everything is all right because I'm here, do you know what I mean? That's my way of dealing with stress.

Viggo Mortensen: "It's my nature to do a lot"
By covermg.com
10 July 2012

'In October, I got caught in a snowstorm in Lapland. I lost the trail and had to find some place to hide. I was out there on my own for a couple of days. I was worried but managed to find shelter and make a fire. It's really not about where you are, but how you are. I can get annoyed or say, "OK, this is where I am. I don't have any choice at the moment. Let's make the most of it."'

Viggo Mortensen's Travelling Life
By Nick McGrath
The Telegraph
10 April 2015

"I am a happy man when I am not tied down," he says, taking a sip of maté. "I don't have a hidden self, I am not prone to depression. If I feel unwell, it is enough to walk in the forest to immediately feel better. I am an optimistic dreamer who has never been imprisoned by fear."

Viggo Mortensen, Beautiful Savage
Richard Gianorio
Le Figaro
26 September 2008

"I have never been in a natural place and felt that that was a waste of time. I never have. And it's a relief. If I'm walking around a desert or whatever, every second is worthwhile."

Viggo Mortensen
The Brain Dane
By Ariel Leve
The Sunday Times, 2003

'I've walked I don´t know how many kilometers, from alley to alley, going up and coming down thousands of steps around the Casbah and the old European neighborhoods, letting myself be drawn towards a nameless destination, going forward or retracing my steps according to noises and colors, mental associations, memories, questions I was asking myself. Everything perfect, everything inconclusive, everything valuable, the city came into me, and I into it.'

Viggo on preparing to film in Morocco
For It To Rain
By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
19 October 2013

"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

He also went for a walkabout in the Urals. "We kind of worried he'd never come back and we'd never find out what happened to him, until we'd probably find him running the country eventually," says Cronenberg...

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

Do you have to have the last word in an argument?

Only if I get really incensed. It usually has to do with fairness, or if I feel I've been cornered or misrepresented, then I will lash out. It's good to have the presence of mind to say: 'Can I call you back? Let me take a break and go for a walk.' Always better.

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

And last weekend, on the eve of the summer solstice, like King Elessar, Captain Alatriste went back to León to walk round its streets, taverns, bookstores and even to keep some promise, in solitude.

Returning to Leon after filming
Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León, by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005

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

VM: Really? (Laughs) I don't know. How do you 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

Quotable Viggo: 19 September 2015

I have a miscellanea of quotes for you this week, loosely based around Viggo's eclectic and always fascinating acting career, but mainly here just because I really like all of them.

Image Gregory Smith.
© MK2 Productions.

Mortensen, perhaps the only actor alive who could play Sigmund Freud, William Burroughs and a Middle-earth king...

Uday Bhatia
Live Mint
11 September 2015

Nobody moseys like Viggo Mortensen...

Adam Nayman
AV Club
30 April 2015

There are some actors who work with the gesture: the fold of Robert Mitchum's eyes while he takes the last drag off a cigarette; Bogart's voice and the tic of his hand lightly touching his ear lobe to accompany a thought... Viggo Mortensen, on the other hand, can be completely expressive just by walking.

Alatriste - Opinion
By Susana Fortes - translated by Xabo
El País
21 September 2006

In "Far From Men," Viggo Mortensen, his sharply planed face weathered and solemn, plays a man who looks as if he were quarried right out of the hard red-rock earth.

Manohla Dargis
New York Times
30 April 2015

He will always be Aragorn to us, but the 'Lord of the Rings' actor has been in over 30 films spanning three decades and seems to get more handsome with every rugged wrinkle.

June 2012

Viggo Mortensen, priceless as Old Bull Lee / William Burroughs, highly intelligent and completely smoky.

Norbert Creutz
Le Temps
26 May 2012

"He is methodical, exacting in his work, he carries out meticulous labors to do something that looks true, and projects it. He is like Robert Mitchum or William Holden, the class of actors whose work seems effortless."

Ray Loriga
Chiaroscuro: Viggo, Light And Dark
By Rocio Garcia - translated by Graciela, Remolina, Sage and Zooey
El Pais
26 June 2009

Viggo Mortensen -- who is pickier than a five year-old at a salad bar…

The Playlist commenting on how selective Viggo is choosing films.
Kevin Jagernauth
The Playlist
29 June 2012

I'm sorry to have to break this to you, but Viggo Mortensen is not a movie star. A poet? Yes. Photographer? Yep. Guitarist? Sure. Author? Uh-huh. Painter? Yessir. Actor? Most definitely. But celebrity? No way.

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

Trying to describe his movie career is like finding your way in a Middle-eastern medina.

Soon you think you're on the right way - only to end up in a dead end of spices and camel-mongers. The Danish-American has had his breakthrough in a - for an actor - mature age. As Los Angeles Times found out with a shake on the head: 'He was not less than 40 years old, before he got his own website'.

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

He's the kind of star directors dream about: professional, playful and eager to make a movie that doesn't wrap itself up in a neat pre-digested bow.

Viggo Mortensen on Everybody Has a Plan, Argentine Popes and His Beloved San Lorenzo
John Lopez
Huffington Post
21 March 2013

For Hollywood, Viggo Mortensen is the same character as the Aragorn of Lord of the Rings: a king who refuses his throne and who would rather go around the world in tatters.

Lost in La Pampa
By Pierre Boisson - translated by Ollie
So Film #10 (France)
May 2013

....warmest regards to Viggo Mortensen for attending the awards. His star power actually helped keep the electricity in the building running.

Nick Flanagan
Live-ish from the Genie Awards
9 March 2012

Quotable Viggo: 12 September 2015

With Viggo given the signal honour of reading T.S. Eliot's masterwork,The Waste Land at the British Library yesterday, it seems only fitting to focus on poetry this week. I wonder whether Eliot ever kept his poetry in the fridge...

Reading from The Anthology of New Argentinian Poetry
© Splash

Before becoming an actor, he was a published poet, and he still carries a notebook wherever he goes 'just in case a moment presents itself to be stolen.'

The Appealingly Weird World of Viggo Mortensen
By Amy Wallace
March 2006

Mr. Mortensen's poetry is not your typical verse and rhyming couplet-type thing, or even the more acceptable modern version of free verse. He creates something more along the lines of prose pictures, imagery forged in words that seek to define, in the words of Joyce that he quotes so appropriately in one of his books, the conciseness of his race.

Review: This That And The Other
By Richard Marcus
March 20, 2007

The author of two published books of poetry, Mortensen crafts spare, fine-tuned verses that end with the sharp report of a metaphor hitting its target. Most paint a languid picture of West Coast suburban life a milieu of cars, swimming pools and lovers' conversations; some ruminate on the life of the movie actor with surprising acuity.

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

'To write a good poem requires discipline, discretion and precision. I often start with situations of everyday life. One day, in Tehran, I see a tourist bus parked in front of my hotel. The name written on the side of the bus, I forget you forever, intrigues me. Isn't that a strange name for a transport company? It became the title of one of my books of poems and travel photos...'

Viggo Mortensen: "You must live your contradictions"
by Olivier Cariguel
Le Magazine Litteraire
March 2015

'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
Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997

"For me, it's like taking apart an engine. You take all the pieces, you put them on a table and when you finish putting it together, you leave some of them aside."

Viggo on writing poetry
"Writing and acting are like being a kid again"
By Eduardo Bejuk
Gente Magazine – translated by Zooey
September 2009

"I sometimes gravitate toward one language or another or a certain structure for a poem or short story. In the past year or so, I've been writing mostly in Spanish for some reason. Whatever I was feeling, I felt like I've got to express it in Spanish. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because I've been hanging around Spanish-speaking people or Spanish-speaking countries a lot recently."

Viggo Mortensen - For The Good Of The People
By Elliot V Kotek
Moving Pictures
Winter 2008-2009

….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

Are your poems born from happiness or from pain?

I've probably written more poems about moments that have some kind of complication. But I think there are elements of both.

The Inner Viggo
By Jenny Ewart
New Zealand's Woman's Weekly

'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, 2003

'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

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

"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

'He kept a lot of his poetry inside his refrigerator,' says Cervenkova, 'which endeared him to me forever.'

Exene Cervenkova
Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997

Quotable Viggo: 5 September 2015

This week's Quotable really is a mixed bag – the result of me roaming the dusty corridors of my vast Quotable Library and just randomly plucking a bunch of stuff from the shelves that I enjoyed reading again!

© Bleecker Street.

Cerebral, spiritual, sex symbol in spite of himself.

Viggo Mortensen: "Travelling is the best anti-war weapon"
By Yetty Hagendorf - translated by Donna Marie
Le Soir (Belgium)
2 February 2015

That chiselled face, turned towards a landscape or held in concentration as someone else speaks, can stand in for any amount of narrative exposition: look at any of Mortensen's characters and you know, without having to be told about it, that man's had a hell of a past.

Far From Men: Viggo Mortensen saddles up in Albert Camus' short story
by Stephanie Bunbury
Sydney Morning Herald
23 July 2015

'It's difficult for things to go wrong when you work with Viggo Mortensen.'

David Oelhoffen
Q&A: Viggo Mortensen and David Oelhoffen on 'Loin Des Hommes'
By Roslyn Sulcas
New York Times
26 August 2014

"Viggo really embraces the ugly side of characters… not a lot of stars do."

Dave McNary
22 June 2014

Viggo Mortensen surely wasn't just cast because he's a great actor; it's because no one can rock a 1960s cream linen suit quite like him.

Leigh Singer
19 May 2014

He's like a Stateside version of Alec Guinness – a chameleon who never plays the same role twice.

There's a special pleasure in giving in to being a fan
by Tony Earnshaw
The Yorkshire Post
16 May 2014

Is there a language Viggo Mortensen doesn't speak?

Jill Lawless
Associated Press
2 September 2014

I've had four or five conversations with Mortensen over the years, and they've all followed the same pattern: He takes your measure for a minute or two, just to establish some basic comfort level and make sure he's not talking to a total idiot, and then it's hard to get the guy to shut up.

Viggo Mortensen: Lay off the pope
By Andrew O'Hehir
20 March 2013

...he's a disconcerting interviewee. The conversation goes like this. I ask question A, expecting answer B. He listens carefully, considers, and gives me answer E, and then we find ourselves on point K, V, or Z.

'If I think a film's beyond me – that's a good sign'

Imogen Tilden
The Guardian
28 May 2013

...his almost ludicrous list of talents includes poetry, painting and a prolific discography which boasts more album releases than your average full-time musician.

An Unconventional Method: Viggo Mortensen
8 March 2015

Few stars of his stature would consider such a low-budget arthouse film in a foreign language - let alone co-produce it, be able to act in both Spanish and Danish, and be prepared to sport such spectacularly awful whiskers.

Jauja: Viggo Mortensen shows his independent side
by Demetrios Matheou
Herald Scotland
4 March 2015

...one of the great little pleasures of cinema in our day - seeing Mortensen tilt his head and sketch a knowing half smile with the corner of his mouth.

Manu Yáñez
13 August 2014

There's been a lot of good-looking men at this year's 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, but none of them can compare to the sexy beast that is Viggo Mortensen.

The Huffington Post
9 September 2014

....warmest regards to Viggo Mortensen for attending the awards. His star power actually helped keep the electricity in the building running.

Nick Flanagan
Live-ish from the Genie Awards
9 March 2012

The man has never disappointed us.

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

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Last edited: 24 December 2015 06:18:34