Quotable Viggo 2015


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Quotable Viggo: 14 February 2015

I love the way that sometimes we think we've turned up everything we can relating to Viggo's earliest films and then something new surfaces unexpectedly. Chrissie has posted a new still from Witness of that now famous barn-building scene and there is our guy on the apex of the roof. Mmm, I thought, can I do a complete Quotable on Witness? I had a fair few quotes stacked away, but more digging amongst the archives was needed to pull together enough to give a real flavour of Viggo's first performance to hit the silver screen.

© Paramount Pictures

Witness is your cinema debut. Is there a film before that which counts?

No, Witness is the first film in which I had a part where they didn't cut me out in editing! (Laughs.)

Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002

"The same day I was offered Witness, I was offered a Shakespeare in the Park production—I think it was Henry V," he recalls. "I made a choice to try something I didn't know much about, which ended up being the right thing, because it was a good story and I got to work with Peter Weir."

History Teacher
By Missy Schwartz
Entertainment Weekly
19 August 2005

You have worked with many different directors, from Peter Jackson and David Cronenberg to Jane Campion and Gus Van Sant. In your opinion, what does it take to make a good director?

In my first movie, Witness, I was amazed by the organized and calm way that Peter Weir shot the film and how he listened to his actors opinions. I really had fun. Since then I've realized that most of the time it's not like that.

Inside Viggo Mortensen's Mind
By V Vergou - translated by Iraeth
5 April 2007

Is it true you gave up two months as Hamlet [sic] in New York's Central Park for two days on set?

True, and it's proof of how randomly things can happen for an actor. I ended up staying six weeks! Peter wandered over one day and said "Unless you're busy, we'd like you to hang around." I did and it was invaluable.

Viggo Mortensen
By Angus Fontaine
Time Out (Sydney)
9 April 2009

'[He] said, "It will be interesting for (the character played by) Alexander Godunov to have this brother who follows him everywhere." ...It was in June and July, it was very hot. As I had little to do, I passed the time in roaming around Pennsylvania on a bicycle I had found. I made friends. I was like Tom Sawyer, and they paid me, and I could watch the crew on set as much as I wanted.'

Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
[I]Studio Magazine

December 2002

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

"Viggo had a very small part as Godunov's brother, Moses Hochleiter. We were both eager to be on camera. So we walked together from the barn-raising scene, and we played our harmonicas, thinking that is what young Amish men might do and hoping a camera would notice us."

Pete DeVitry
Lancaster Online
March 2005

'He was really into the building-the-barn scene. I was supposed to be handing him tools and he'd say 'Hand me a whatever,' and I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. He probably built most of that barn himself.'

Viggo Mortensen on working with Harrison Ford in Witness
The Hot New 39-Year-Old
by Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine, 1998

[Harrison Ford] was most of all professional. Conscientious. Interesting to study. I had the greats before me: Peter Weir, above all, with his calmness and efficiency. In the evening, when I came back from my wandering, they let me watch the rushes. Witness was an idyllic experience.

Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002

Watching Witness the other day I was reminded again of Viggo Mortensen's immediate star power. He probably had one line in that movie and yet you can't take your eyes off of him.

Sasha Stone
Awards Daily
19 March 2010

"The first time I saw Viggo, of course, it was his physical body I noticed first. That was in Witness, by Peter Weir (1985). Since then that image of him has stayed with me whenever I saw him on the screen."

David Cronenberg
Viggo Mortensen the Insatiable
Studio Magazine
By Sophie Benamon
November 2007

Nobody ever seems to have mistaken this actor for an all-American type. In Witness, he was the open-faced, implicitly open-hearted younger brother of Amish farmer stud Alexander Godunov. His features were as clean and untrammelled as a new field of wheat and his eyes were so wide apart you could have driven an Amish buggy between them.

Man Power
By Katherine Mitchell
September 2002

Anyone familiar with actor Viggo Mortensen's minuscule role in "Witness" will chuckle at how important he's become to the movie since. Mortensen, known the world wide over now for his heroic roles in the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, is interviewed as extensively as any of the major stars for the bonus features.

"I wondered what would happen to him," Weir muses about Mortensen.

Witness Special Collector's Edition Review
By Toni Ruberto
The Buffalo News, 9 Sept 2005

Quotable Viggo: 7 February 2015

Sky Greats are advertising Eastern Promises and A History of Violence back-to-back as a Cronenberg/Mortensen February treat in the UK. So is this a Quotable about those two great collaborative efforts? Er... no. It's about A Dangerous Method. Maybe it wasn't such a spectacular success, but Viggo's performance astonished critics. I mean, Tom Stall, Nikolai and.... Freud? Who would ever have thought it? It also gives me the chance to put one of my most favourite ever quotes back into context. That credit-card busting on-screen maganetism? Yup – it was Freud.

© Hanway/Lago.

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

This is Mortensen's third straight collaboration with Cronenberg following "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises," and the ease and rhythm from working together so often pay off in the effortless grace of Mortensen's portrayal. It is some of his finest film work ever.

Clint O'Connor
The Plain Dealer
25 January 2012

Almost serenading the audience with his Austrian accent, Mortensen is instantly Sigmund Freud without a shadow of a doubt.

Brad Brevet
Rope of Silicon
10 September 2011

...there is no denying that A Dangerous Method doesn't come alive until we get our asses some Viggo. Christoph Waltz was originally set to play Freud, but was forced to drop out. At which time Cronenberg turned to his current muse. I'm sure Waltz would've done some stellar things with the character, but hot damn, Viggo sizzles as Freud.... This is a Viggo you don't think of when you think of Viggo

Joshua Miller
21 October 2011

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.

Owen Gleiberman
Enertainment Weekly
10 September 2011

It's possible that in lusting after Mortensen all these years, we've taken his talent for granted. Of course, we really didn't know how talented he was until he started working with Cronenberg. This is the best thing Mortensen's ever done. His slow, paunchy, hairy Freud has a cavalier authority and a capacity for drollery. He's also seductively wise in a way that makes both Fassbender and Knightley, as very good as they are, also seem uncharacteristically callow. I don't know where Mortensen found this physical and psychological heaviness, this expressive inexpressiveness, but now isn't the time to start a diet.

Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
23 December 2011

Mr. Mortensen again reveals his amazing skills of self-transformation...

Roderick Conway Morris
New York Times
6 September 2011

It is also marvelous to see Freud, that embattled colossus, restored to his human dimensions by Mr. Mortensen. His sly performance is so convincingly full of humor, warmth and vanity that it renders moot just about every other posthumous representation of the patriarch of psychoanalysis.

New York Times
22 November 2011

Even in a period film like this one — a picture that runs the heavy risk of being ponderous and stiff — he can slip himself into the scenery with a "Don't mind me, here in my Sigmund Freud getup" naturalness….

Stephanie Zacharek
2 September 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. It is a very effective performance, and Mortensen, one of the best actors working today, has shown us something new in his repertoire. It bodes well for his life as a middle-aged actor.

By Sheila OMalley
Capital New York
6 October 2011

Mortensen's buttoned-down and highly verbal Freud is something to behold — and also to listen to. The actor has been the quiet man of volcanic physical intensity in two previous Cronenberg films, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. Here his tongue is more lethal than his fists, as when he tears into Jung for practising "second-rate mysticism and self-aggrandizing shamanism."

Peter Howell
Toronto Star
12 January 2012

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

by Matthew D'Abate
Your Beautiful New York
14 December 2011

Mortensen, in very much a supporting role, thrives superbly for his third Cronenberg running, summoning a peppery gravitas, and an eye-narrowing fearfulness, as the father of psychiatry might well, about patricidal impulses from his younger colleague.

Tim Robey
The Telegraph
9 February 2012

...the ever-flawless Viggo Mortensen.

Jesse Hawthorne Ficks
San Francisco Bay Guardian
26 September 2011

Viggo Mortensen has so much on-screen magnetism, he'll probably destroy the credit cards of anyone sitting in the first 10 rows.

Wallace Bain
Santa Cruz Sentinel
25 January 2012

Quotable Viggo: 31 January 2015

Viggo has appeared in rather a lot of literary adaptions (not surprising for a man who reads and reads and reads...) – A Portrait of a Lady, The Lord of the Rings, Alatriste, Appaloosa, The Road, On the Road, Two Faces of January and Loin Des Hommes - and it's always clear how important the text is to him and that the script honours the book and the author's vision. Sometimes the book has been familiar to him for a long time, sometimes the script has introduced him to the book. Either way it's important that it's a good adaption and you can bet that in every case a copy of the book is always with him, sprouting post-it notes from nearly every page.

© MK2 Productions.

Loin des Hommes

Q. Was the Camus story a strong influence on how you conceived of your character?

A. Both David and I referenced the story as much as possible. I have always admired Camus and thought he didn't get a fair deal from the left in France. History has proven him right; he spoke truth to power and paid a heavy price for it. He thought people should find a way to live together, whatever their differences of skin color or language. I think the character in the story in many ways represents who Camus might have become if he had stayed in Algeria.

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

Two Faces of January

Mortensen appears to be a fine connoisseur of the novelist and her work. He admitted he liked her short stories "even the ones that are a page and a quarter and you go 'oh come on' like the collection 'Little Tales of Misogyny'".

The American Friend, Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley also made the cut but he prefers the approach in The Two Faces of January, a "more graceful" one.

Berlin: Viggo Mortensen knows his Patricia Highsmith
By Tara Karajica
Screen Daily.
12 February 2014

On the Road

"...in the '70s, when I was 17-18 years old and living in America, on the border with Canada. On the Road was an initiation book for many adolescents of my generation, even for me. Much later, I discovered other writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Céline, Rimbaud, Camus ... But I find that Burroughs was the most original, an outsider, a pioneer of the language."

Viggo talking about 'On the Road'
Viggo Mortensen: "Do I look sexy?"
By Simona Coppa - translated by Ollie
9 October 2012

I read this novel for the first time as a teenager, and since then three times as a whole and often in parts. I've read everything that was published by Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg. In preparation of the movie, I listened to all available voice recordings of Burroughs... among them were also talks between him and Cronenberg concerning the filming of Naked Lunch.

Viggo talking about 'On the Road'
Viggo Mortensen
"Nostalgia strikes me as being dangerous"
By Dieter Oßwald - translated by Athelin
Frankfurter Neue Presse
1 October 2012

For many people, this novel was deemed unfit for filming. Did you ever have similar qualms?

I never thought this novel unfit for filming, yet it was obviously no easy task. But after reading the script, my concerns were easily resolved. The movie takes over the novel's best elements, stays true to the characters and besides focuses on the women, which for me is a true improvement compared to the original.

Viggo talking about 'On the Road'
"Nostalgia strikes me as being dangerous"
By Dieter Oßwald - translated by Athelin
Frankfurter Neue Presse
1 October 2012

The Road

Viggo did you come to the film from reading the book or the actual script?

I'm a big fan of Cormac McCarthy, I had read all of his books except The Road. The Road came out with great fanfare and went on to become his most far reaching universally appealing work because it's more straight ahead, it's easily understood, the dilemmas are understood by any culture. I hadn't gotten around to reading it just out of shear stubbornness because everyone kept telling me how great it was. I was meaning to read it. I had seen it wherever I went, in airports and so forth and I just hadn't read it. But then I read the script which I thought was a great script, a great story. I realised it was quite an honour to be offered this role. After reading the script I ran to the store to buy The Road and read it all

Viggo Mortensen at the BFI London Film Festival
Flicks and Bits
30 October 2009

What did you learn from your discussion with the book's author, Cormac McCarthy?

I talked to him one long time before shooting on the phone. We basically talked about his kid and my kid and being dads. I had tons of notes and questions to ask him. I was ready to pick his brain. At the end of the conversation, he asked me, "Do you have any specific questions about the book?" I had 50,000 post-it notes in the book and not one but two pens in case it ran out of ink. I mean I was ready. But I said "Nah, I don't really" because I realized the conversation we had was all I need to get going. His book and his words are so heartfelt and so free of any gimmickry. He just transcends cultures and languages.

Viggo on The Road
By Cindy Pearlman
Chicago Sun Times
22 November 2009

"…the book was my constant companion. It's pretty well-worn. The interior life of the characters are so beautifully written, so poetic that it was what I kept going back to. But this movie is about man's humanity, this flower that blooms in a desert between two people."

After "The Road" Viggo Mortensen Looks on the Bright Side: "You Could Always Be Dead"
By Jeffrey Podolsky
Wall Street Journal
17 November 2009

After the movie, Viggo came back up on the stage and answered a few questions. When put on the spot to add on a final word he thought for a second then dug into his bag and brought out his personal copy of THE ROAD. There were what looked like a hundred stick-it notes marking different pages and the spine was cracked and worn. It's obviously seen a lot of use.

To close the event he read a bit from McCarthy's description of the sea-area landscape. That was pretty cool…

Quint at the Telluride Viggo Mortensen tribute
Ain't it Cool News
8 September 2008


Ed Harris read Appaloosa while you guys were still working on A History of Violence. Then you read the book after that, right?

When A History Of Violence was presented here at the Toronto Film Festival, he was here to do interviews, just like I was for that movie. He handed me this book and in his kind of quiet way said, "Here's this book. You might like it. It could make a good movie." He wasn't very forward about it but that was sort of a big step, I thought. It must mean something, being that he's such a good actor. And he did a great job directing Appaloosa. I thought that it was intriguing. I knew that was what he was driving at - that he wanted to direct this movie.

So you kind of committed to him based on the book?

The book, yeah. He hadn't written [the screenplay] yet.

Interview With Appaloosa Star Viggo Mortensen
Reelz Channel
3 October 2008


While the texts that this film is adapted from are widely known in the Hispanic world, in the United States they haven't had such a similar recognition. Assuming that fact, how did the opportunity to take part in this production fall into your hands?

I didn't know Arturo Pérez-Reverte's novels. Long ago, I had worked in Spain with Ray Loriga, in My Brother's Gun. One day, Ray told me he was going to be in Berlin, where I was promoting Peter Jackson's The Return of the King. Loriga went with a friend, Tano (Agustín Díaz Yanes), who brought a script that he gave me to read. I liked the plot as a tale, as a story. And it captivated me. So I decided to do it, against everyone and against everything.

The Filming of Alatriste - Viggo Mortensen Interview
By Jesús Martin - translated by Paddy
July 2006

'When I read the books which the movie is based on, I liked them so much: they told me an interesting and complicated story. The character too is more complicated than my previous ones. For this reason the movie can even catch the viewers unprepared: they expect a lot of action in imperial Spain, and they find themselves deeply lost in events full of shadows.'

Viggo, a movie star forced to fight - "Heroism? It's only propaganda..."
By Claudia Morgoglione - translated by Cindalea
18 June 2007

Lord of the Rings

Basically, I got a call: "Do you want to go to New Zealand for fourteen months to film The Lord of the Rings?" Just, you know, this famous epic trilogy! And my first reaction was "No!" Obviously I'd heard of Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, but I hadn't read the book, and I certainly hadn't read the script; I usually like to have a lot more time to prepare for a major role; and I really didn't want to be away from my family for that long. I have to say, it didn't sound like a very wise move to me at all!

My son said I was crazy and that I had to do it, even if I was going to be gone a long time. So there I am on the plane for New Zealand, reading that enormous, telephone directory-sized book and then the scripts, and a couple of days later I'm filming. I continued to feel unprepared, but at least I didn't have much time to get nervous, which was probably good!

Viggo Mortensen
Official Movie Guide

Were you a J.R.R. Tolkien fan before the film "The Fellowship of the Ring?"

VIGGO: No. I'd heard of Tolkien and Hobbits and "Lord of the Rings." But I didn't know much about it. l assumed it was about elves and dwarves, maybe fairy tales. When I got the job, I started reading the book immediately so I knew what we were dealing with on film. ... I recognized themes from lots of other cultures, Samurai, Native American myths, not just European fairy tale -- the idea of a heroic journey, characters being tested.

Viggo on locusts, life and kissing Liv Tyler
By Molly Woulfe
Northwest Indiana Times thetimesonline.com
3 August 2004

"While Peter obviously cares a great deal for Tolkien's writing-otherwise he wouldn't have given so much of his life to it-what seems to have drawn him most as a filmmaker was the pure adventure aspect of the tale. The heroic sacrifice of individuals for the common good. All the breathtaking sequences-he really poured himself into those. The more I explored Tolkien, the more I felt I had two bosses: Tolkien and Peter Jackson. I tried my best to be loyal to both of them."

Viggo Mortensen
We Were All On an Epic Journey
by Jeff Giles
Newsweek magazine, 2001

Quotable Viggo: 17 January 2015

While looking for interesting new Viggo vids I came across this beautiful one which celebrates Hidalgo. It's a while since I watched the film and I was struck all over again by what a great horse TJ is (and all the other horses that played Hidalgo) and also what a treat it always is to see Viggo acting with them. So I thought I'd do a whole Quotable celebrating the brave little horse that crossed the Ocean of Fire. Let her buck!

©Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures

By the time the cameras rolled, head animal trainer Rex Peterson had selected five paint horses to play the role of the plucky mustang Hidalgo. TJ, RJ, Oscar, Doc and DC each had their special talents and enough of a resemblance that makeup and hair specialists could create one seamless character....TJ demonstrated the greatest bond with his co-star Viggo Mortensen... RJ proved to be the most agile trick horse; Oscar the best ride for actors; Doc took the lead as the main chase horse; and DC was the ultimate endurance racer.

Hidalgo - Animal Action
American Humane Association
March 2004

[Viggo] was on the Morocco set of Hidalgo, his western adventure that opens today, and he felt it necessary to remind director Joe Johnston and the rest of the crew who the star of the movie is.

It's the kind of primadonna move you might expect of a guy who has come off The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, one of the most profitable movie franchises in history..... Except that the usually self-effacing Mortensen wasn't demanding more attention for himself. He was speaking up for his horse T.J., the cream-and-sorrel nag who plays the title mustang of Hidalgo.

"People kept saying, 'Frank this and Frank that.' And I'd say, `Well, last time I checked, the movie is not called Frank Hopkins. So let's keep in mind that the horse needs to be (front and centre)."

A New John Wayne: Viggo Mortensen Saddles Up for Hidalgo
By Peter Howell
Toronto Star
5 March 2004

"[TJ's] a very small horse, you know, technically he's a pony. I mean he's about 14 Hands 2, I guess. And 14 Hands 3 and up is a horse and below is a pony, technically.

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
By Spence D, 2004

"They're sort of unruly these horses and they're already a pretty high-strung breed and we're all packed together knee and once the horses realize what we're up to, they're all wanting to go and they're all wanting to kill each other. I'm on this little horse, which is effective visually because he's strong, but even though he's little he's got all this personality. He's a stallion who thinks he's pretty tough so he's wanting to pick fights. It was really the most worrisome moment in a way of the whole movie, was that, not this full-tilt stuff that was kinda scary at times.'

Viggo Mortensen on the start of the race
Singin' in the Reigns
by Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review, March2004

"He's very smart. He's good at pretending he didn't hear you. He's very lazy. He definitely had a personality! I thought, "This is going to be a chore!"

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

'You're not going to be able to lie to that horse. You need to ask nicely.'

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

"On his own, he just came up with one reaction after another that was totally appropriate; whether it was jealousy, or possessiveness, or annoyance, or nagging me, or guilting me."

Interview with Viggo Mortensen
By Jeffrey M Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
11 February 2004

"...it's amazing to me, he picked up all these tricks and did all these things. Even the acting of being really fried and then falling down, a lot of horses wouldn't just fall like a sack of potatoes, they would go down slowly and protect themselves. And then once down, once you're fussing around and there's cameras and this and that and there's a gun and there's all this movement, they wouldn't stay there, you know what I mean? And for a stallion on top of that, they're just gonna be more touchy. And a stallion whose never worked in the movies before. It's incredible what he did. I mean we were really lucky there. It could have been a lot harder."

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
By Spence D, 2004

Of course, this is not to say that the success hasn't gone to the horse's head. "We would finish a scene - I got off T J, and he would follow me around, to make sure he got his close-up," Mortensen laughs.

Hidalgo - Production Notes
Touchstone Pictures

'He wasn't afraid or worried about the lights, camera, or anything. He was totally calm. You know that comic strip Andy Capp? That guy with his hat? I just think of him like that. He would just be there like, 'Whatever.'''

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
By Spence D, 2004

Mortensen was fascinated with the David-versus-Goliath nature of the story. "The odds are stacked against Frank," he continues. "Compared to the Arabian horses, the mustang Hidalgo looks like a little dog. A pony, next to their steeds. But though the race is his redemption, it's not winning the race that's important - it's that Frank is there at all.

Hidalgo - Production Notes
Touchstone Pictures

'He was just a fascinating individual and I wanted to stay in touch with him,' Mortensen says.

Viggo on why he bought TJ
'King' Star Returns To The Screen, Riding High
Star Telegram
By Todd Camp
6 March 2004

Mortensen arrives at the Stephen Cohen Gallery caked in mud, having just been riding T.J., who plays the title role in Hidalgo ….and then washing him and giving him a conditioning treatment. "We don't do that all the time," Mortensen says. "He's not a pretty-boy horse."

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Source: Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

'I've been lucky with both the horses and the people that I have worked with. The same thing applies to the people as to the horses: if you ask politely and earn their trust and respect, the job is a lot less strenuous and you get better results.'

Viggo Mortensen
Our Kiss Was Just a kiss
By John Millar
Hot Stars
27 March 2004

Quotable Viggo: 11 January 2015

One of the great pleasures over the last few months has been watching Jauja woo critics and audiences around the globe. It won the International Critics Prize at Cannes and has just been nominated for Best Argentinian Film by the Argentinian members of the International Federation of Film Critics. The fact that it has now been shown at so many festivals is a testimony to the huge interest in the film, which has been universally well received. There has been a lot more to say about Jauja since I last looked at the film in an April Quotable. Definitely time for an update!

© 4L Productions

'Jauja is not a place, it's more than that, it's an idea. It's an impossible idea or feeling of contentment, satisfaction, tranquillity. It could be anything...'

Viggo Mortensen
Jauja: Interview with Viggo Mortensen
by Pamela Jahn
Electric Sheep
16 October 2014

What´s good about it is that it´s a mysterious, different word that provokes questions and may be a little confusing - exactly what happens to "Captain Dinesen" in our story.

Viggo talking about the title 'Jauja'
Something Material
By Viggo Mortensen, Fabián Casas and Lisandro Alonso - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
31 May 2014

What past did you invent for this Captain Dinesen?

I took things from another Dinesen. A writer and adventurer who also went to the New World at the end of the 19th century. A hunter, he was the father of Isak Dinesen whose real name was Karen Blixen.

Viggo Mortensen: Film and Soccer Activist
By Horacio Bilbao - translated by Ollie and Zoe
27 November 2014

'...the Danish that I spoke with my daughter in the film, being quite a simple man, a man from the countryside of Denmark, I chose to speak it like my Danish grandfather who was a guy from the country, intelligent, but who had quite a simple and formal way of speaking, in a very correct way.'

Viggo Mortensen
We speak in Cannes with Viggo Mortensen about Jauja, his second Argentinian experience
By I. J. - translated by Ollie and Zoe

'Dinesen is a surveyor and scientist, very northern European, very rational, everything has to have a logical explanation. But then he is also a guy who wears a sword and boots with heels and furs while walking through rocks, which is ridiculous – a bit like Don Quixote. Don Quixote is also both serious and specific. And in that way my character is very determined – like if you are going to do a job, you might as well do it correctly, and in a timely fashion. And if someone says, 'Well, we're having tea at 4.30pm on Tuesday', you say, 'Well, I'll be there'. But it's Argentina, so whoever you were going to meet might turn up on Wednesday, or maybe he doesn't.'

Viggo Mortensen
Jauja: Interview with Viggo Mortensen
by Pamela Jahn
Electric Sheep
16 October 2014

"The Danes were involved in two wars in the 1800s: in 1848 and 1864. For my role, I found a uniform from this 1848 war, as well as a sabre from this war, and a double-medal for a man who served in both wars. This medal was very important. Most of the people back then were farmers, but they would be out with the pigs, with their medals, that is how important these medals were."

Viggo Mortensen
A Conversation with Viggo Mortensen at Cannes
Karin Luisa
Huffington Post
21 May 2014

"...there's a particular sort of irony in Danish humor and sort of physical humor also that the Danes are really going to get — more so than other people because it's very particular."

Viggo Mortensen
Cannes Watch: Mortensen' s linguistic challenge
Associated Press
21 May 2014

The actor acknowledges that working with a director known for his off-the-grid methods – such as using primarily with non-professional actors – was a bit of an adjustment. "It took a little getting used to," he says. "For one scene I asked Lisandro who was doing the continuity on the set, and he asked me, 'What's that?' The way he works, he's never had to worry about things like that before."

Adam Nayman
Globe and Mail
9 September 2014

Lisandro Alonso says that, during the shoot, you'd knock on his door at 7:30 in the morning to suggest ideas to him. Are you an interventionist actor who constantly contributes ideas?

Yes, you have a limited window of time to say something that you hope lasts and you have to make the most of the opportunity. And with an open director, like Lisandro, it's much easier. He can make use of whatever he likes.

Viggo Mortensen: "People don't think of me only as Aragorn."
By Àlex Montoya - translated by Ollie and Zoe
23 September 2014

"Viggo is incredible. He has the triple role of actor, producer and musician and along with that, he was thinking about how to improve the film 24 hours a day. In addition he rigorously corrected every French, English and Danish subtitle."

Lisandro Alonso
The Lord of the Roles
By Pamela Biénzobas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
In-LAN 2014

'It was interesting to work with a director who does long shots, without being afraid of the calmness and the length of time: in front of the camera, everything you do becomes interesting. It's the first time that he was using professional actors, but in the film, we don't look like actors, we just look like people. People who are having real experiences. In these conditions, it's impossible to make a mistake. It's a strange feeling as an actor. What you do will be in the film. That gives you confidence and peace of mind.'

Viggo Mortensen: "If The Lord of the Rings can win 12 Oscars, I don't see why Avatar wouldn't win the Oscar for best film."
By Eric Vernay - translated by Donna Marie
Premiere (France
21 May 2014

'...finding myself with a small team in the middle of nowhere, in the superb landscape I knew because I spent my childhood there, it made me happy. And it was liberating.'

Viggo Mortensen: "If The Lord of the Rings can win 12 Oscars, I don't see why Avatar wouldn't win the Oscar for best film."
By Eric Vernay - translated by Donna Marie
Premiere (France
21 May 2014

"It was a crew of about ten people walking over the rocks. We were all tired but we had a lot of fun. By nightfall, since we were 150 km from the internet and telephones, we made a little fire, an asado [grilled meat], we talked... It was a family experience."

Viggo Mortensen
The Lord of the Roles
By Pamela Biénzobas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
August 2014

I take a seat among my compatriots Ghita and Viilbjørk. People laugh several times, the Danes the most. It's because the film, besides being beautiful and profound, has very Danish humor, dry and ironic. Dinesen is a kind of Scandinavian Quixote. At the end, there's a prolonged silence in the theatre and then loud applause begins. To see the movie finished with image and sound for the first time has been moving. I feel very proud of what we just finished presenting.

Viggo talking about the Cannes Premier
Something Material
By Viggo Mortensen, Fabián Casas and Lisandro Alonso - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
31 May 2014

"When we went up on the stage for the presentation, for a moment I thought like a producer and told myself, "I'm going to try to explain, to orient [the audience]. But then, I reconsidered - no, we're going to continue doing silly stuff and have fun. If you have to explain it, it's not worth it. It has to reach you or it doesn't."

Viggo Mortensen on receiving the International Critics prize
The Lord of the Roles
By Pamela Biénzobas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
August 2014

Alonso creates moments of absolute beauty, where in a single shot - square, like in the oldest and most noble films - suspense and horror are manifest...

Jauja Review
Leonardo D'Espósito
27 November 2014

For me, Jauja is a film that attempts to comment on just how small our existence is in the scope of time and space, but there are many interpretations to be made, which is what makes Jauja a challenging but rewarding experience.

Jauja Review
Rowe Reviews
9 November 2014

....a beautiful, mystical, intoxicatingly wonderful film.

Paddy Mulholland
Awards Daily
20 October 2014

I never enjoyed a collective effort more than I did during the ultra-creative, multilingual collaboration we experienced as a team in those beautiful natural landscapes deep in Argentina.

Viggo Mortensen
Something Material
By Viggo Mortensen, Fabián Casas and Lisandro Alonso - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
31 May 2014

Quotable Viggo: 3 January 2015

Another fresh new year has arrived. Have you made your New Year's Resolutions for 2015 yet? Mine is to live more in the moment, something Viggo seems to have down to a fine art. He may be always restless, busy and on the move, but he still seems able to find enough stillness to pay attention to every moment. He's admitted it's partly because he realised at a very young age that life is short, but it's also bound up in his approach as an artist. So savour every experience and pay attention because what is most rewarding is the journey and not the destination.

© 4L Productions.

"We may not know why we're here, or where we're going after we die, but if you're here, you might as well be here. And being here means paying attention, I think."

Q&A with Viggo Mortensen
Sara Stewart
New York Post
December 2008

What keeps you awake at night?

Yesterday and tomorrow, but I eventually fall asleep because neither exists.

Q&A: Viggo Mortensen
by Rosanna Greenstreet
The Guardian
2 January 2010

"….I must confess that I'm interested in collecting as much experience as I can from wherever I go because I don't know what happens in the next world. I'm not counting on anything happening. That's one of the great things about making movies – you get to explore these things."

Viggo Mortensen
Crimes and Misdemeanours
By Phillip Berk
October 2007

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

"Life is so short! I tell myself frequently to "Go slow to go fast", to remind me to take my time in order to sample as many things as possible."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen, Charming Free-spirit
by Manon Chevalier
ELLE Quebec
Translated for V-W by Chrissiejane
December 2008

The brevity of life and the importance of grasping the day are, one quickly learns, big themes for Mortensen. The sound of time's winged chariot is very loud in his ear, it seems, and the imperative to "use time well" crops up repeatedly in his conversation…

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

'One of my first memories as a boy was realizing that animals die and therefore people do. It seemed very unfair to me and I'm sure that I traumatized my parents with these questions.'

Viggo Mortensen: Film and Soccer Activist
By Horacio Bilbao - translated by Ollie and Zoe
27 November 2014

With so many active interests, Mortensen admits he used to be impatient. "It felt unjust that we were given such a limited period on earth, but I don't feel that way any more. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I just figure, eh, what's your hurry?'"

A History of Defiance
Daniel Mirth
Men's Journal
October 2009

"...I know I can't read all the books or watch all the movies in one lifetime." Does he find that frustrating? Mortensen fixes me with his intense blue gaze. "Mostly no," he says. "If we could run out of books and movies, then we would be bored."

Viggo Mortensen is lord of all things
Chitra Ramaswamy
The Scotsman
24 May 2013

An encounter with Viggo is sitting on a porch, drinking a bombilla of mate and watching time pass in such a way that every now and then new reflections, inquiries, ways of looking at things arise. It can take a whole season. Watching many skies pass by.

River Mortensen
By Ramón Raboiras - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
September 2012

'A photo, a painting, a poem or music that we use to express our experience is not the main thing, but what you are expressing. How you sense the world around you is art in its own form. To stop for one silent moment and just see what happens.'

Viggo Mortensen
Margt til lista lagt article from Fréttablaðið
Translated by Ragga
June 2008

"A change of light, a sunset, a sunrise. Things you may never see again. You grasp those moments. You don't see a bear in the wild and walk on, thinking: Oh, I'll see another bear. You just wait and watch."

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

"We each have only a limited amount of time here. We have to do more with it - pay attention, explore, be open to all of life. Because we have only one chance, we have to make life seem longer than it really is."

Viggo Mortensen
I Still Ask Why
Dotson Rader
Parade magazine, 2004

Mortensen likes sotto voce details; he gives his attention to instants that would otherwise have passed by unobserved, or more significantly, unregistered - things that in a literal sense were simply there for him because he was there for them - things that would have easily passed by as all else passes by, as we ourselves finally do.

Kevin Power
Viggo Mortensen: A Life Tracking Itself
Singlanguage 2002

"I think it was Robert Louis Stevenson who said this," Mortensen says, "it was about meandering through a career, or the arts in general, without seeming to have a deliberate plan. He said, 'To travel hopefully is better than to arrive, and the true success is in the labor.' That's a great line, 'To travel hopefully.' That's what I'd like to do."

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

How long would he like to live?

"Forever." Without hesitation.

Really? Wouldn't you get bored?

"There's no excuse to be bored," Mortensen says. "Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there is no excuse for boredom, ever."

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine, January 2004

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Last edited: 24 December 2015 06:18:34