Quotable Viggo 2020


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Quotable Viggo: 30 December 2020

It’s nearly 2021 (I think we’ll be glad to see the back of 2020) so it’s time for the Annual Quotable Quiz. As always, some are easy and some are tricksy but I know what a clever lot you are! This is just for fun so keep your guesses to yourself and I’ll post the quotes next week that will give you all the answers.

© Getty Images.

1) As a kid, what did Viggo want to be when he grew up?

2) For what did Viggo win the Drama-Logue Critics Award in Los Angeles in 1987?

3) What did the Green Book production team buy him to celebrate his Oscar nomination?

4) In which film did the director prepare Viggo for his role by making him spend time with a Hell’s Angel? And who was the Director?

5) One of the many jobs Viggo had when he was young was at the Winter Olympics. What was he hired to do and did he do it?

6) Viggo stashes his chocolate like what kind of animal?

7) In which film did Viggo play opposite an actor playing one of Viggo’s distant relatives?

8) In March 2003 Viggo took part in a anti-war demonstration outside the White House. Which of his poems did he read to the crowds?

9) Aside from the duck, when he was a kid what animal did Viggo try to take home to show his family?

10) According to Exene Cervenka, what did Viggo keep his early poetry in?

11) For which film did Viggo take on a corporate giant to persuade them to allow their product to be included in the movie?

12) What was Viggo filming when he duetted ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ with his co-star?

13) Which town in Spain did Viggo take to his heart while filming Alatriste?

14) What was the very first role that we know Viggo played?

15) Which actor appearing with Viggo said “we’ve all been Viggo-tized” and which film did they appear together in?

16) In what sport was Viggo beaten by Hobbits?

17) Which actress called Viggo ‘the chocolate crack dealer."

18) Viggo has worked twice with screen-writer John Fusco. Once in Hidalgo and once in…?

19) In what film did Viggo steal a scene from a much-feted actor while ‘never getting out of a chair’?

20) Who did Viggo say were ‘terrible at writing’, but he looked forward to seeing them soon?

Quotable Viggo: 12 December 2020

Now Falling is appearing in so many more Festivals, it’s finally possible to put together enough quotes for a Review Round-up. So here are the best of them, going chronologically back from this month to last January when the film made its first appearance!

Image Brendan Adam Zwelling.
© HanWay Films/Perceval Pictures.

Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut Falling is a compelling and carefully written addition to LGBTQ+ cinema. Mortensen’s triple-threat debut - he writes, directs and stars in this touching drama - showcases his versatility in the arts, as well as his understanding of dementia and the importance of its representation in film….
Mortensen’s script does well to dissect and explore the tangled duality of personal liberation and family conservatism - and it is Mortensen’s quest for authenticity within these stories that elevates the messages at the core of the film.

Stephanie Brown
Eye for Film
4 December 2020

…it’s a really valuable work, beautifully edited and shot, with a wonderful performance by the veteran actor Lance Henriksen: a sombre, clear-eyed look at the bitter endgame of dementia. Mortensen takes a determined walk across the hot coals of family pain…

…With some self-effacement, Mortensen has conceded the performer’s alpha prerogative to Henriksen. It’s the right decision: Henriksen’s Willis, in all his self-defeating cantankerous arrogance, is so commanding. But I wondered if Mortensen could or should have shown us more about John, more about what he has gone through to arrive at this strenuously calm, diplomatic unresponsiveness. Could he have broken out more, shown more anger? Either way, this is a very substantial achievement.

Peter Bradshaw
The Guardian
3 December 2020

The biggest shock of Falling, Mortensen’s debut as writer and director, is just how careful, wistful and traditionally dramatic it is. There’s no experimentation, no sense that he’s trying to prove himself as an image maker, or peacocking with unnecessary literary flourishes in the script. This is stripped-back, robust, observational filmmaking that dares to allow a scene to be more than just a container for key information. It also allows characters to exist in that liminal space between antagonism and empathy, rather than packing them off on a formulaic journey from one to the other. To put it more bluntly, Falling is a deeply unfashionable film, but it’s unfashionable in the same way that a Clint Eastwood film is unfashionable – i.e., it still manages to exude a sense of hand-tooled quality.

David Jenkins
Little White Lies
3 November 2020

… Mortensen’s aesthetic style, paired with cinematography from Marcel Zyskind creates an impressive visual blend. There’s an almost ethereal quality in the scenes which capture moments of nature from John’s rural American childhood with a dreamlike quality. A scene featuring older Willis lost and lingering on a beach eventually wading through the water, evokes poignant similarities with a young John sifting through a lake to collect a hunted duck. This and many others make up immaculately thought-out details which showcase Mortensen’s emotionally intellectual approach to writing and directing.

Falling’s impressive showcase in the build-up of years worth of hurt and suppressed issues, paired with impressively crafted emotive characterisation allows Mortensen’s debut to shine. Stellar turns from Henriksen and Mortensen, gentle aesthetics, and blending of past and present narrative strands are just a small number of the debut filmmaker’s successes.

Culture Fix
26 November 2020

Two things are remarkable, really: one is Henriksen’s performance, among his very best in a 60-plus-year career. The other is Mortensen’s seemingly instant aptitude as a filmmaker. He has a clear eye for composition and staging; he’s visually economic but sometimes quite daring; and his script is refreshingly non-linear and rarely goes in the direction you expect. This is not A Dementia Film, as the subject matter might imply, and it offers no easy solutions for difficult questions, or obvious resolutions.

The final few minutes of the film seem to emphasise this, culminating in a coda that’s as surreal and confounding as it is poignant. As an actor, Mortensen has always managed to gently surprise, and it looks like he plans to do so as director, too.

John Nugent
Empire Magazine
30 November 2020

It’s a film missing none of the essential elements—a good script full of dramatic tension; excellent acting; and a close and painful look into aspects of human nature, love, and family.

Far Out
12 October 2020

It's an intense film, well-told, thought out and deeply felt, that delves into painful feelings, the weight of memories, and the complexity of feelings. Mortensen's performance, as always, is believable.

Carlos Boyero
El Pais
24 September 2020

While it's true that Falling is so unrelenting in its negative depiction of Willis that it can feel one-note, that's not necessarily a criticism, as Mortensen wants to relay the terror that those around Willis have to live with. The drama also imagines realities to show Willis's warped state of mind. The performances are strong, with even Mortensen staying on top of his game, despite all the work he did behind the scenes in this debut that has a touch of Clint Eastwood about it.

Kaleem Aftab
18 September 2020

Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut is an earnest family drama etched in jagged memories and an elegant waltz between past and present. His sensitive handling of the material creates a quietly affecting reflection on the ties that bind and provides an unusually juicy role for Lance Henriksen as the belligerent, bile-spewing patriarch…
…Mortensen’s own performance is as understated as the film, making John a dutiful son of almost saintly patience straining every sinew to avoid confrontation. Scenes in which he finally lets rip are all the more effective for his earlier restraint.

Allan Hunter
Screen Daily
10 September 2020

Mortensen’s heart is in the right place; he wants us to understand these characters, as difficult as it might be to do so. With a more conventional director at the helm, Falling could have been reassuring, polished awards bait; instead, it’s something richer and more discomfiting. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since I saw it. So will you.

Norman Wilner
Now Toronto
10 September 2020

The film does a super solid job of balancing the multiple facets of John’s life. Be it his gay marriage, his Mexican speaking daughter, or his time spent serving his country. Rather than belabor any one point over the other, Mortensen peppers in each of these dynamics to perfection while still delivering the importance and power of each of these attributes. That is to say, it’s not a ‘gay’ movie, it’s not a ‘political’ movie, it’s not an ‘Alzheimer’s’ movie. No, it’s a movie about a complicated, quiet, and modern-day life… Mortensen would tell the audience at the film’s closing night Q&A that “there’s no shame, no matter how hard it is, in forgiving and accepting. No matter how much you might hate them. You’ve only got the 1, or the 2. When they are gone, they are gone.”

“Falling” is both a story about a trying child/parent relationship, and it’s a film that you should watch.

Toni Gonzales
Awards Circuit
11 February 2020

Viggo gives a beautifully understated performance here, letting Henriksen (whom it’s nice to see in a really meaty role, again) carry the load and dive into Willis’ damaged psyche, giving a riveting performance, which allows the supporting cast to do just that: support a pair of great actors doing what they do.

28 January 2020

As a director, Mortensen doesn't make things easy for himself: We figure that a film like this is headed for some kind of redemption, but Willis seems completely irredeemable for much of the film. But Mortensen is too smart to go for an easy reconciliation, instead exploring shades of resignation and acceptance, particularly in the wake of an argument that can stand as a father/son version of the one in "Marriage Story" — primal and fearsome, it goes to places so dark that all the characters can do afterwards it attempt to crawl out of the wreckage.

"Falling" is a finely drawn character drama, as you might expect from much of Mortensen's acting career, and a film that pays attention to small details that bring these people to life.

Steve Pond
The Wrap
24 January 2020

Having quietly spent years augmenting his acting work with prodigious output in music, poetry and visual arts (not to mention founding a publishing house that champions other artists' work), Viggo Mortensen finally takes the director's chair in Falling, a masterful family drama taking a compassionate view of a father whose faults are impossible to ignore…

…Falling doesn't transform its emotional landscape into a simple question of rejection or forgiveness. It's comfortable knowing that meanness and affection can exist in the same person, and that tolerance, even when it only flows in one direction, benefits both giver and recipient.

John DeFour
Hollywood Reporter
24 January 2020

“Falling” is unpretentious and perfectly accessible to mainstream audiences. Mortensen’s patience, his way with actors and his trust in our intelligence are not unlike late-career Eastwood, which isn’t a bad place to be so early in one’s directing career.

Peter DeBruge
24 January 2020

Since discovering his sexuality, his father Willis has questioned the truthfulness of John’s reality in such insensitive ways that it’s hard to picture why any son would stick around to help – blood or not. But in that regard, Mortensen delivers such a defining performance that is so capable of impacting many whose experience is similar. His character’s reservations is matched with a nuanced delivery of emotion that feels as passionate as it is affecting.

Part of what makes Falling work for me is its dedication to not hide the ugly truth in what could’ve been a story that settled for stereotypical character growth and a happy ending. But if truth be told, it’s also what makes Mortensen’s Falling a difficult watch.

Brittany Witherspoon
Popculture Reviews
24 January 2020

In Mortensen’s most notable directorial flare, Falling flashes back and forth between John’s childhood on the farm and his present-day life in California as a well-to-do suburban husband to his Chinese-American partner, Eric, and father to their daughter, Monica (Gabby Velis). There’s nothing novel about interwoven timelines, but Mortensen’s vision of how the two interact is poignant and meditative.

Luke Hicks
Film School Rejects
24 January 2020

In many ways Falling is a tough film to watch, as we’re essentially voyeurs, watching horrible family dysfunction without it ever really amounting to much, other than the fact that there’s some grace to forgiveness even if its undeserved. One can’t fault the craft or the acting, with Mortensen low-key as the kindly son forced to keep in his simmering rage… One thing FALLING does that’s terrific is that it gives Lance Henriksen a showcase role. One of the best in the biz, Henriksen’s been perennially underrated ever since the eighties, and approaching eighty he’s as good as he ever was, sinking his teeth into the role with vigor…

…It’s a passionate debut for Mortensen but it’s not an easy watch.

Chris Bumbray
24 January 2020

It's a confident, assured directorial effort by Mortensen, who breezes through the various time periods (with Borg/McEnroe star Sverrir Gudnason as young Willis) with ease…

…Falling makes the case that it is never too late to move beyond the hurt and chart a new course. It's a passionate, heartfelt debut for Mortensen, and a film many will relate to because of how tough the material is to watch.

Travis Hopson
Punch Drunk Critics
24 January 2020

Quotable Viggo: 5 December 2020

There are ideas that come up frequently in Viggo interviews, one of which popped up again in the recent El Pais and Curzon interviews. This is the idea that memory is a ‘story that we tell ourselves’ and that we are constantly constructing our own reality. So this week we have a very philosophical Quotable. Viggo’s insight that we create and live in our own stories plays with the idea that memory isn’t always accurate, but it is a deep reflection of our sense of self and how we perceive the world. It also explores the different aspects of ourselves which we present to the world and how we weave events into our life story.

© Toni Galan.

“Memory is a very strange thing, very fallible. It’s a story that we tell ourselves. We all remember the same moments in a different way…I believe that memory makes each one of us tell a story and that this has to do with wanting to control what happens around us.”

Viggo Mortensen: "The first thing I think about when I wake up is death"
by Borja Hermoso
7 September 2020
El Pais

“When you’re talking about memory and discrepancies and how subjective memory is, you start to realise that memory is more a collection of feelings that evolve over time than it is a collection of facts. We try to control the past to feel comfortable subconsciously in the present.”

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen and Lance Henriksen on Falling
Curzon Cinema Blog
26 November 2020

“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.

When I show them, when I look at them or we speak about them, they include also another dream: the dream, the memory how the light was in that moment, how the place where they were taken was. They are 'memory' of a light, exactly how they say 'picture' in Iceland: lijosmynd, that is lijos (light) and mynd (memory).

To take pictures means to lock the memory of the light as it was in that exact moment.”

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

We are the stories we tell about ourselves, the stories we tell about others, the stories we read about everyone and every thing.

Viggo Mortensen’s heroes
Ethan Gilsdorf,
Boston Globe
3 March 2012

“What one remembers from childhood is often mixed with things we are told. Memory is like poetry, just one version of reality, not accurate at all."

Viggo Mortensen: "Writing and acting are like being a kid again"
By Eduardo Bejuk - translated by Zooey
25 August 2009

To Viggo, poetry is a way to leave reality behind in order to reach another, purer reality, away from those commonplace moments and the difficult situations for which there's no apparent relief. Poetry, to him, is a way to put the world into perspective.

About Them... "I like a brave woman"
By Salvador Llopart - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zooey
La Vanguardia
14 March 2010

How much of your life is in your stories and poems?

Like all writers, I write many different things, but you always create using your own life, even if everything is imaginary on the page. As much as you invent a totally distinct world, there’s always something of yourself, even if you don’t realize it. I contribute my experiences as a person who’s modern
led all over and has had a somewhat unusual bond with language. Canciones de invierno [Winter Songs], for example, has things that seem to be very true and very much mine, and they aren’t. Maybe the writings where I hide or invent myself are more my own than those that are directly autobiographical.

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

“In the act of filtering, there can always be manipulation. Spanish psychiatrist Rojas Marcos said on one occasion that it is impossible to live without a small dose of self-deceit.

We all lie to each other and to ourselves; everyday we show ourselves to the world in a different way. You wake up and look at yourself in the mirror, you brush your teeth, you choose your clothes, and you prepare coffee....Without thinking about it, you create a man with his own personality and that is different to the one from the day before, and that you show to the first person you see. There is a very good phrase in an X band song (my ex-wife’s band): ‘Life is a game that changes while you’re playing’.”

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

"Patches of recorded feeling vanished, irretrievable. There is no point in trying to remember and rebuild the word houses, word hills, word dams, or word skeletons like some sort of archeology project. There may be pieces I recall or inadvertently retell, but every word will be new, will go somewhere, will die no matter what I might do to tame or hold it."

Viggo Mortensen on his lost writings
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading
Houghton Mifflin

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

“…..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

Quotable Viggo: 29 November 2020

We heard the sad news this week of the death of Maradona who – despite controversy – was one of the greatest footballers ever to run onto a pitch. Viggo met him once on a TV programme and gave him his San Lorenzo socks. Which is probably about a Viggo a gesture as it gets! He has also met Pele (and suffered the fate of many hopeless fans), and his childhood football hero ‘The Frog’. Yes. You’ve probably guessed it. This week is football Quotable week.

© unknown.

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

Interview: Viggo Mortensen, actor
9 February 2012

We really seem like two children, both fifteen years old at most. Instead, we make almost ninety years together. I’ve been speaking with Viggo Mortensen for twenty minutes, and the only topic we’ve been able to discuss are old and blessed soccer player picture cards.

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

Gulliver: Why San Lorenzo and not River or Boca?

Viggo Mortensen: Because I have blue blood. I went to the doctor for a check-up, and he told me so.

Chat with Viggo Mortensen
By - translated by Margarita
18 November 2005

Oh God,no! Viggo Mortensen is wearing the sweatshirt of San Lorenzo, the Argentine soccer team of which he is a big supporter. The effect is what I feared: all male journalists present at the meeting with the actor unleash questions about who will win this game, this season, the derby ... with the result that the first 20 minutes with one of the most fascinating men in the world are wasted with talk about sports!

Viggo Mortensen: "Do I look sexy?"
By Simona Coppa - translated by Ollie
9 October 2012

Wearing all manner of Buenos Aires and soccer trappings (socks, bracelet, and a San Lorenzo pin, plus a complete mate set and the sports section of The Nation on hand), Viggo Mortensen greeted the Argentinean press on his recent visit to Buenos Aires….. He takes off his black boots and allows us to see the wide stripes on his socks in the colours of the team he loves.

Viggo Mortensen: The Biggest Soccer Fan In Hollywood
By Lorena García - translated by Margarita
La Nacion
16 November 2005

I met Maradona once on Susana Giménez' program.... The idea was that his arrival would be a surprise at the end of the broadcast, but someone got excited and told me a few hours before going to the station. I took with me in my pocket a CASLA t-shirt with "10" and gave it to him during the program. I told him that there was a gap in our lineup because of injuries (maybe it was Walter Montillo that was hurt, I don't remember now) and that the following day, since we were playing against River, maybe he would like to join us. The idol took it very well and Susana, who's a Cuervo, laughed too.

In the last minutes of the program, I took off my boots to give him the San Lorenzo socks I was wearing and I think I told him that he'd have to look for the shorts himself. He also accepted that gift with a lot of dignity and in an extremely generous spirit. If he thought that I was an idiotic Cuervo, he didn't say so.

Viggo Mortensen
In This Heat
By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie and Zoe

18 December 2013

"I'm spreading “the cuervo gospel” all over the world. That's not only my mission, but my career, that's my job. Cinema, poetry and all the rest are hobbies. Spreading the cuervo gospel, that's what I'm dedicated to..."

Viggo Mortensen
In The Name Of The Father
By Natalia Trzenko - translated by Ollie and Zooey
La Nacion
22 June 2010

"Every time I go to Argentina, I go to the San Lorenzo store and I buy all the decals they have because I have the habit of sticking them up in cities, airports, in the stadiums of other teams, " he recounts and ends with a sly smile, "to mark territory."

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

“[Football] is theatre. Theatre in the sense of watching not so much the winning and the losing, but how people behave, on the pitch and in the stands, when they win and when they lose. It represents the best and the worst of human behaviour.”

Viggo Mortensen: intellectual nourishment in a world of artery-clogging culture
By Dan Masoliver
20 December 2018

‘If CASLA loses, I'm devastated for a while and when they win, the world seems like a stupendous place.’

Viggo Mortensen demonstrates to this newspaper that the great never lose their humility
By - translated by Ollie and Zoe
9 June 2013

"I would rather see San Lorenzo win the tournament than get an Oscar, definitely."

Viggo Mortensen
By Juan Cruz Sanchez Marino - translated by Graciela
26 December 2008

As he turns away I see that his football shirt has been signed by a player called The Frog, who wrote: “Thank you for being simple,” which I ask him to explain. Is he thanking you for being a half-wit? He laughs. “I think he means thank you for being real. He was a childhood hero of mine. A great player. Kept it simple.” Simple is the last thing you would ever think of Mortensen. He’s very complicated, but also very real.

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

'Yesterday, my limousine was blockaded by people. The fans were banging against the windows. I opened the door and escaped down a small alley. And who did I run into? King Pelé and his bodyguards. I asked for an autograph...but his bodyguards stopped me. King in his limousine, poor beggar in the street. A good lesson,' concludes Mortensen, who invites you to reflect on the morality of such a story.

Viggo Mortensen - The Lord Touches All
By François-Guillaume Lorrain - translated by Margarita
27 October 2005
Source: Le Point

"Have I behaved? I haven't talked about San Lorenzo too much, right?"

Viggo Mortensen in a Todos tenemos un plan interview
Soledad Villamil - Viggo Mortensen: Brothers In Arms
By Nazareno Brega - translated by Ollie and Zoe
29 August 2012

Quotable Viggo: 22 November 2020

I love the comment in the recent El Pais interview that “The truth is that with Viggo Mortensen you get the feeling that he does almost everything.” Indeed - Viggo has so many hats it’s bewildering. It would be easier for us lesser mortals if he wore some of those hats badly, but they all suit him and they all fit. The more you think about it the more mind-boggling his sheer versatility is.

"Ramas para un nido" poetry reading
© Silvia Susana Flores.

…from the black backpack with the emblem of the San Lorenzo de Almagro Athletic Club, his beloved CASLA soccer team, he took out Lo que no se puede escribir (What Cannot Be Written), a book of poems written by him, with photos taken by him. The truth is that with Viggo Mortensen you get the feeling that he does almost everything.

Viggo Mortensen: "The first thing I think about when I wake up is death"
by Borja Hermoso
7 September 2020
El Pais

Having quietly spent years augmenting his acting work with prodigious output in music, poetry and visual arts (not to mention founding a publishing house that champions other artists' work), Viggo Mortensen finally takes the director's chair in Falling, a masterful family drama taking a compassionate view of a father whose faults are impossible to ignore…

John DeFour
Hollywood Reporter
24 January 2020

Viggo Mortensen has proved to be vigorous and uncompromising in every role, but always brings a mysterious sense of introspection. Like no other he knows how to unite brutality and sentiment in one look or movement so that even the greatest criminal radiates a certain sentimentality. Translated to the screen, this results in a perfect actor for many top film-makers

Oscar Actors: Mortensen, Viggo–Joseph Plateau Honorary Award at Film Fest Ghent
by Emanuel Levy
18 October 2020

His poetry and prose are taut and gripping - the outpourings of a genuine talent…

Understated A-lister Viggo Mortensen tells our reporter about his new cult hit 'Captain Fantastic' - and why it's impossible to be the perfect parent
by Ed Power
Irish Independent
31 August 2016

"Viggo meticulously edited my Perceval book, Supernatural, and I'm pretty sure he does that personally on every Perceval book. Supernatural includes the Flannery O'Connor story 'A Temple of the Holy Ghost.' He scrutinized every word, every punctuation, every space throughout the process all the way to last looks for final printing. [As an editor] he evaluates whether his knowledge of many languages affects his choices in spelling and syntax. He is a perfectionist publisher."

Lindsay Brice
The Book of Viggo
By Shana Nys Dambrot
LA Weekly
1 November 2018

"The connotation of celebrity art isn't very good," Mann says. "It implies dilettante. I wouldn't put Viggo in that context. He doesn't have to paint, that's not the point. I think he really needs to make art, really needs to."

Robert Mann, New York Gallerist
In the Spotlight But Shining On Its Own - Celebrity Art
by Lisa Crawford Watson
Art Business News

…my phone rings. Viggo is on the other end and invites me to a gallery show featuring some Native American photos, music and poetry that he has authored during the making of "Hidalgo". When I arrive at the gallery, I see the show is entirely composed of marvelously printed images from the ghost dance... amazingly saturated and 8 feet wide. Stunning! At the show, I run into Richard, who loaned Viggo his camera to shoot these same stills. I ask him; "Did Viggo borrow only one roll of film?" Yes... only a single roll. Well, the show was comprised of 16 photographs that were double wide (15 perfs instead of 7) which meant that the collection represented nearly every photo that Viggo shot that day. 16 of the 18 total exposures from the single film roll. Mind blowing.

Shelly Johnson, Hidalgo cinematographer
23 March 2017

...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

A number of years ago I reviewed a collection of Mortensen's photographs and poems and commented on how with either media he seemed to have the innate ability to capture specific moments in time with both his words and his camera… he's equally capable of bringing an audience into a specific moment in time with his music. Acà is a beautiful and evocative collection of music which will allow you to travel into your own memories of time and place like few others I've heard.

DanVTMuzrzr reviewing Acà
Music Blogs
22 February 2014

You can imagine the excitement and delight of the crowd! Mortensen was charm itself, asking how many of us had seen the movies more than five times, and saying, 'Me too!' He stayed on stage for a few minutes and ended - gasp! - by SINGING to us all! Yes, Aragorn himself stood there on the stage and sang for us his coronation ditty.

Viggo Sings!
5 March 2012
By Greendragon
5 March 2012

"You know, every actor you work with, you ask them, 'So, how do you ride?' And they always say, 'I ride excellently.' Viggo says to me, 'I ride O.K.' He gets on the horse, and he rides better than me.”

Rex Peterson
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

Mortensen… has already entered into cinematic folklore as one of the great screen swordsmen of our time.

The Reluctant Hero
By Douglas Andrews
Sunday Express
17 November 2002

Viggo Mortensen holds the unusual distinction of having two TIFF movies in which he speaks four different languages … none of which are English, the language that moviegoers are accustomed to hearing Mortensen speak.

Steve Pond
The Wrap
11 November 2014

"Viggo's a leader, just by sheer dint of his personality. He's an example to us all. He's a massive work-horse, like a massive multiplex. You can go through one door and he's a photographer, then you go through the next door and he's a singer. Then you go and look at his poetry and his art and there's his films! I'm not jealous at all [laughs]. And he's just a great guy and my friend."

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

“Now, Viggo, you speak seven languages, you write poetry in three languages, Danish, Spanish and English, you ride horses superbly and you’re a great swordsman and all our womenfolk are in love with you… do you understand how annoying you are?”

Radio interview with Richard Glover
ABC Sydney
24 March 2009

Quotable Viggo: 14 November 2020

At the very end of the recent El Pais interview Viggo left us with an intriguing teaser. He has finished writing something that is ‘like a western, well it is a western’. My heart sank and rose at the same time because a) I can’t stand westerns and b) I love seeing Viggo as a cowboy. Of course, if it ever becomes a film, it doesn’t mean that he will actually be in it. But a girl can dream because Viggo was born to ride the range…

© New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers, Matt Lankes, Touchstone / Buena Vista Pictures.

And after Falling, what?

Well, during the shutdown, I finished writing another thing. It also has to do with memory. It’s like a western, well, it is a western. We’ll see.

Viggo Mortensen: "The first thing I think about when I wake up is death"
by Borja Hermoso - translated by Ollie and Zoe
7 September 2020
El Pais

As a child, he loved comic books and was obsessed with adventure stories, tales of Vikings and explorers. If he was not going to be a soccer player, he wanted to be a gaucho. "I liked the whole cowboy thing, I suppose," he remembers. "Being self-sufficient, living off the land. You know, a knife in the back of your belt."

That is part of what appealed to him about his latest movie, Hidalgo...

The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine
April 2004

Standing 5 feet, 11 inches tall, he undoubtedly an outdoorsy guy - all weathered skin, callused hands and easygoing gestures. One could easily see him at home on the range - he even has that "ah shucks" cowboy mumble.

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

He is not a man who can walk into a room unnoticed.... His blond hair is neatly parted and he is clean-shaven; there is a jagged scar on his upper lip, a streak of lightning against his tan, the relic of a fight during his teenage years.

A weird mix of cowboy and playboy, Mortensen gives the impression of Indiana Jones going to a fancy dress party as Bryan Ferry.

Lone Star
By Peter Ross
Sunday Herald
Dorchester, UK 11 April 2004

"I found out a while back that I'm related to Buffalo Bill - distantly, on my mother's mother's side of the family," he says. "It's true: I went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, and saw the records that prove the connection."

Viggo Mortensen: The Straight-Shooting Star of the New Western
By Joe Leydon
Cowboys & Indians
April 2004

"One thing that sometimes happens when people think they're being really authentic is that they tend to make everything look too worn-out. If you do the research, you'll see that even if a cowboy was poor, he'd take pride in certain things. Like, his saddle wasn't going to be some piece of crap. And they had color - it wasn't all drab browns and grays, all worn-out stuff. That scarf - that's something Hitch takes pride in, and he takes care of it."

Viggo Mortensen
Spotlight - Appaloosa
By Joe Leydon
Cowboys & Indians
October 2008

Viggo Mortensen follows a classic cowboy code in the Western "Appaloosa": Speak softly and carry a big honkin' gun.

Mortensen Packs a Big Gun
By David Germain
Associated Press
17 September 2008

"I looked at old Remington drawings and other images to see how guys would really stand in gunfights back then. It wasn't that thing you always see in movies, where the guy is standing there with his legs apart and with his hands out waiting to draw his gun. Not that people never did that. But it just made more sense to me that you'd have one leg forward, and your hand forward, and your gun's already out. I have to say, I did think about it like a bullfighter at that final moment, with the sword. I saw a Remington drawing of a guy facing down another guy in the street, using exactly that position."

Viggo Mortensen
Spotlight - Appaloosa
By Joe Leydon
Cowboys & Indians
October 2008

In [Appaloosa], Harris and Mortensen… the archetypal cowboys and the base layer of the American psyche that believes in riding into the sunset and heroic endings.

Mortensen says he loves the cowboy ideal as well as the cowboy aesthetic, but the classic old codes are fast becoming obsolete as the western world faces a looming geopolitical shift as well as a climate crisis.

"We're going to hell in a handbasket...."

Mortensen Delves Into America's Cowboy Mentality
By Katherine Monk
Ottawa Citizen
7 September 2008

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

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

Mortensen is steadfast like a throw back to the old school smoldering actors that paraded about the prairies, years ago; sexy and very iconic American cowboy.

Hidalgo Review
Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review

"The cowboy 'ethic' has as much in common ideally with the Medieval Knight or Lakota warrior or Samurai warrior in that you can be an individual, be independent minded and allow other people to have their individual experience too! It can be that way."

Viggo Mortensen
An Interview with Viggo
By Lise Balk King and Frank J King
Native Voice
January 2004

Hopkins was ahead of his time as a humane horse-trainer and endurance rider. He was also an example of what I have seen in cowboys (and cowgirls) I have met and admired among Argentines, Uruguyans, Moroccans, Algerians, Egyptians, the French, New Zealanders, Australians, Icelanders, Lakota, Blackfeet, Apache, Quebecois, and so on: a straightforward, open-minded, and ethical individual. I think it is a wonderful thing to see the apparent revival (again) of the "Western" genre in the movies, but it might be worth keeping in mind that neither cowboys nor stories in the "Western" genre are exclusively an area of expertise or solely of relevance to North Americans. Making "Westerns" can be as positive or negative, as universal or narrow-minded as the stories they portray. Making good "Westerns" can mean being on the right track, but, as Will Rogers said:

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

Viggo's Golden Boot Award Acceptance Speech
By Viggo Mortensen
11 August 2007

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Last edited: 9 January 2021 13:08:57