Quotable Viggo

Quotable Viggo 2013

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Quotable Viggo: 1 September 2013

One of the things that fascinates me about Viggo is the way he seems able to play with time (wouldn't he make a great Doctor Who?). He is full of restless energy and drive, involved in a multitude of projects, yet no matter how much he does he seems to have endless time for everyone he meets, and comes across as both dynamic and seriously chilled at one and the same time. And the older he has become the more he seems able to balance both. I think it all comes down to how time is used and that phrase that he uses constantly: 'paying attention'. Viggo seems to me to be a man who packs life into every moment, but that doesn't always mean being busy. It's more a state of mind.

Ringsted Kongrescenter, Denmark - 1.29.09.
© Dagbladet Online.

"I think five minutes can be an eternity if it's well used, you know."

Viggo Mortensen
The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine, 2004

Viggo Mortensen has earned a reputation for having endless energy, for being consummately curious. He drives himself hard in all aspects of his life... He is a connector, the agent who brings people and ideas and feelings together in ways that transcend customary forms of expression and measures of success.

Daniel F. Sullivan introducing Viggo
St. Lawrence University
March 1, 2003

"Certain people don't have a lazy bone in their body," says his good friend, producer Don Phillips. "Viggo is that kind of person who has to be continually on the move. He may sometimes bitch and moan about it, but he loves being busy."

Don Phillips, Producer
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

....despite his serene composure, you sense an invisible thread of unrest hanging off him, just waiting to be pulled. That unrest may be why he paints, writes and takes pictures, and a similar unrest drives his movie counterpart, Aragorn.

A Man Apart
By Ingrid Randoja
Famous, 2003

What is your biggest fear?

Not being honest with myself and not getting the most out of life. This is one of the reasons I stay very active, always doing things that interest me in the field of art, by editing books, writing, drawing, painting, photography?

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen Interview: "This film has made me feel closer to my father"
By Laura Sacksville - translated by Ollie, Rio and Sage
13 February 2010

"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

"One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master," he tells me. "He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren't enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress."

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

Mortensen is not what Tolkien's Treebeard would call "hasty."

After Aragorn
By Jeffrey Overstreet
ChristianityToday, 2004

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

"Time passes, the world changes, people evolve and it's nice to stop every now and then and not do anything. I want to imagine things that interest me, to give myself time to get excited about something."

Viggo Mortensen
"I'm a guy who sticks his nose in everything"
By Stuart Gollum
Gala Magazine
30 August 2006

"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

"...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

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

You are really fit. Are you worried about age?

"Not about age, I am 50 years old, but time worries me ever since I was a child. Sometimes I would wake up and think: what a pity, I'll die without being able to finish all the things I have to do in this life. That annoyed me. I'm not afraid of death; it is anger about the limits of time."

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

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

Quotable Viggo: 24 August 2013

Ah ? Method Acting. What is it? And does Viggo do it? It's a description that comes up a lot when people are talking about Viggo but, I've discovered, it's something very hard to define. Coming from one of Stanislavski's theories of 'theatrical truth' and put into practice by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, it's all about... um... becoming the character, drawing on the actor's imagination and personal experiences, living the role outside of performances, finding your motivation... isn't it?

[QUOTE]If one listens to either its critics or supporters Method Acting is described as a form of acting where the actor mystically 'becomes' the character or tries to somehow literally live the character in life. Like all clichés, both explanations are false. When Lee Strasberg defined what is popularly known as Method Acting he used a simple declarative sentence: "Method acting is what all actors have always done whenever they acted well." From the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute [/QUOTE]
For a bit of fun I've divided the Quotes into those who think that Viggo is a Method Actor, those who see beyond the label (that would be Cronenberg, of course), and Viggo's own thoughts on his own work. And he should know.

Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films.


I have spent much time preparing for this moment. Mortensen is a devoted method actor and so, in his honour, I've been experimenting with method interviewing. Just as he immersed himself in cigars, antiquarian books and Viennese copperplate script in order to play Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg's new film A Dangerous Method, I've been wallowing in Mortensen trivia.

Viggo Mortensen Interview
By Lucy Kellaway
Financial Times
10 February 2012

"He's a method actor like DeNiro and Daniel Day-Lewis," said producer Bob Weinstein, while relaxing on a banquette last night at SL in Manhattan's meatpacking district, where the after-party of the film's New York premiere was held last night.

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

Viggo Mortensen is a character actor at heart, he's a method, no-restraint genius who looks like a mechanic, crossed with zoo keeper, crossed with a brooding former model turned emotionally-tortured bad boy. I need to stop holding that against him. If not for my own credibility, so he won't steal my girlfriend and kill me with his bare hands in my sleep on his way to winning at least three Oscars before he's done.

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

"He's very intense. He's very Method. There's no stopping him. He was starving himself. He was going out, rolling in the snow and sleeping in his wardrobe and rubbing the dirt in his eyes and face, I mean, it's extraordinary. It makes the performance all that more incredible."

Hillcoat talking about Viggo
John Hillcoat Hits The Road
By Edward Douglas
19 November 2009

... Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn seems to be accurately pacing his character's evolution from wary nomad to monarch. A gifted method actor, Mortensen is said to have travelled to the Waikato set in the horse float, with his horse. He also shunned motel comfort and chose to stay in rundown huts nearby, without electricity. The man IS Aragorn.

Gordon Campbell
October 21, 2000

'He's a method actor. He is able to scream loudly if he has to - just watch G.I. Jane. He's an excellent actor, but a shy actor'.

Michael Douglas
By Cindy Pearlman
The Chicago Sun-Times

Mortensen downplays the Method-acting mind-meld rumors. "The truth is that we worked six days a week and 17 hours a day, and then rehearsals on Sunday. Basically, I was kind of in costume most of the time. It's not that I had nothing else to do and was running around as Aragorn in town."

It's Good to be "King"
by Susan Wloszczyn
USA Today, 2003


He's obsessive about his craft, but there's more to Viggo Mortensen than daffy Method acting...

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

'He's a marvel. He's not a method actor; he's Viggo before and after you say "Cut." And yet he knows how to embody and inhabit his character and to become him.'

David Cronenberg
Q+A : David Cronenberg, Film Festival Preview
30 Aug 2007

"?.it's not what you think when you think Method Acting. He didn't ask us to call him the character's name; after cut he's still Viggo, you can still joke with him. But he filled his trailer with Russian stuff and his apartment is covered with research materials, and he carries things on his body that remind him of the character. But it's all done in a very light way; it's not heavy, and it isn't silly. It's very natural and very organic."

David Cronenberg
Coco Forsythe
19 October 2007

"he? takes the best out of Method and leaves the bullshit behind."

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

And what Viggo has to say

'I don't think there is any such thing as "Method Acting" because method is "what works," you know?'

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

People always call him a method actor, which winds him up. 'I have no idea what method actor means,' he says wearily. 'Okay, I know what they're driving at. That I'm obsessive preparing for roles.'

Stories of how far he'll go getting into character are legendary. For the record, he never slept with his sword filming 'LOTR' - though he did keep his costume on during filming to give it a lived-in feel. 'I try to research or make up for myself what happened in any character's life,' he explains. 'From when he was born until the first page of the script. I fill in the blanks.'

He stops to knock back the last of drop of espresso. 'And not to be underestimated in all this is showing up on time. And treat people like you'd like to be treated. Those are my methods. Show up on time and be nice.'

Viggo Mortensen: 'I'm obsessive preparing for roles'
Time Out
31 May 2013

"... the right method is whatever works for you. And what works for me on any given day is going to be different. It's going to depend on things like, does the director, or do the other people involved, want to rehearse? Do they believe in rehearsing? How do they rehearse? Do they like to improvise or not? How do they want to shoot the scene? Is it all one master, or is it bits and pieces? What kind of character am I playing? Does he talk a lot, or does he not talk much? Do people speak quickly? There are so many factors. If you have only one way of doing it, you're selling yourself short and depriving yourself of a fuller experience, and possibly of delivering better work to the director, to use as raw material in building a story."

Viggo Mortensen
Tasha Robinson,
The Onion

Quotable Viggo: 18 August 2013

A couple of weeks ago I did a round-up of quotes about Todos Tenemos Un Plan, mainly because the release has been on-going over such a long period of time that I really wanted to re-visit the film and pull together all the more recent thoughts that had been expressed in interviews. The same applies to the reviews. So many have come out since I last did a review Quotable and ? in amongst some mixed reactions to the film - such good things have been said about Viggo's performance, that I think it's worth presenting them together in case you've missed any of them.

Image John Harris.
© 20th Century Fox/Haddock Films.

I already knew Mortensen as a versatile actor who could nail macho opacity ("Eastern Promises"), toxic alpha maleness ("G.I. Jane"), flamboyant, Method-flavored intensity ("The Indian Runner") and other spots on the Leading Man spectrum. But what he's doing here is even more impressive because it erases the memory of everything you've seen him do before. If he'd been credited with, "And Introducing Viggo Mortensen," I doubt anyone would have complained. It's a discovery performance that would have launched an unknown actor toward stardom, but it's being given by someone you've watched for years. Neat trick, that.

By Matt Zoller Seitz
16 March 2013

Mr. Mortensen, who grew up in Venezuela and Argentina and speaks a fine, mumbly Spanish, does an excellent, unflashy job of making the two brothers distinct. The dead-eyed Pedro has an extra layer of scruff that the sad-eyed Agustín can't approach, even with his beard and his dingy sweaters and flannels.

And Mr. Mortensen keeps you watching, even when the movie's storytelling underwhelms. But "Everybody Has a Plan" is less about story than about texture and atmosphere. They stay with you, as does the haunted visage of Agustín, drifting on the delta waters.

Rachel Saltz
New York Times
22 March 2013

A lesser actor would make the whole thing look gimmicky. Not Mortensen, who's fierce, totally immersed and utterly convincing as both brothers.

Cath Clarke
Time Out London
17 October 2012

Viggo Mortensen is one of those people. You probably sat near one in high school, or have one on your floor at work. Good looking, effortlessly talented across a range of fields, just so perfect at everything you want to run them down with your car.

Because he probably had time between art exhibitions, dashing off a book of poetry and ridding Middle Earth of Sauron, the man has managed to become fluent in more than a half-dozen languages.

He makes Spanish look effortless in this Argentinian film, where he plays twin brothers. Not can-you-direct-me-to-the-disco holiday Spanish, but that authentic, guttural Spanish that is spoken like machine-gun fire....

Mortensen is as good as expected, significantly different as the two brothers, and not just because one had a beard and coughs up blood while the other is clean-shaven.

Viggo entertains in evil twin role
Cris Kennedy
29 June 2013

... his performance is the riveting fulcrum that holds together a stately narrative and turns an intriguing premise into an impressively gripping fable.

Paul Fairclough
Little White Lies
1 June 2013

Mortensen is quite superb as the two chalk-and-cheese brothers.

Radio Times
1 June 2013

Evoking memories of things like A Simple Plan, Sommersby (and its progenitor The Return of Martin Guerre), Dead Ringers, TV's Dexter and fellow Argentine thriller The Aura, it begins with a jolting almost Lynchian shift between two "worlds" before the puzzle pieces slowly fall into place and the film's thrilling but taut sense of menace and danger kicks in. Surrounded by a fabulous collection of character actors with memorable phsyiogs, the eclectic actor not only proves his range but also his adeptness at Spanish (honed from spending half his childhood in Argentina while his father worked on chicken farms and ranches), as well as again proving his ability (previously best showcased in the likes of A History of Violence and Eastern Promises) to mix gentle grace with simmering violent tendencies.

James Croot
Stuff NZ
19 June 2013

Mortensen puts in a fine pair of performances in the lead roles, inhabiting Agustin with a nervous energy and Pedro with a sleaziness that allows him to play against himself effectively. This is rarely embraced as a gimmick, with the two characters only sharing one or two scenes, and allows the actor to show off quite a range.

Sam Faulkner
Screen Geek
17 October 2012

The atmosphere can be cut with a machete, but the plausibility resides in Mortensen's distinctive performances rather than in the narrative itself.

Philip French
The Observer
3 June 2013

Mortensen is brilliant in both roles, able to pull off gruff and taciturn as one twin (he is at his best in roles that require him to say little and feel a lot) and ultra conventional, pretending to be gruff and tactiturn, as the other.

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

...the ever-impressive Mortensen grounds the intrigue in his dual personas, an achievement for the actor not in his convincing mastery of aptly mumbled Spanish (with La pistola de mi hermano and Alatriste also on his resume), but in the effortless variance he affords the two distinctive characters. As Agustín, he sulks with a restless loss of purpose; as Pedro, he inhabits the steeliness of confidence; as the former becomes the latter, he bridges the gap with moody, brooding intensity. Indeed, his is a performance that expands to fill the void left by the lightness of details, offering a lingering reminder of how little he has been seen on screen in recent years. His dominance may have not been the filmmaker's plan, but the feature is all the better for it.

Sarah Ward
Trespass Magazine
28 June 2013

It is his performance that really will keep you watching; he has always been an actor that demands your attention but this dual role heightens that further. He switches between the two brothers with total ease and it is fantastic to watch.

Helen Earnshaw
Femail First
31 May 2013

If you, for some reason, want to watch Viggo Mortensen watching Viggo Mortensen take a bath, then, my friend, your luck is in ? as the renowned star of The Lord of the Rings franchise turns in one of the finest performances of his career, taking on the role(s) of identical twins in Ana Piterbarg's intense, if somewhat unfulfilling drama Everybody Has a Plan.

Stefan Pape
28 May 2013

The problem there is the murder story isn't all that interesting and, in truth, Piterbarg doesn't seem all that interested in it either. What gets her attention, and what holds ours, is how great Mortensen is. He works hard to make it look effortless but it's hard playing three characters: Pedro, Agustin and Agustin-as-Pedro, which is different again.

After the intriguing opener the story just fades away. Mortensen's performance, however, might just be worthy of the admission price.

Gavin Burke
14 May 2013

Mortensen is on top form - twice over - but while the noir mood gathers like a black cloud, the story frustrates.

Andrew Osmand
Empire Magazine
14 May 2013

Quotable Viggo: 4 August 2013

Todos Tenemos Un Plan is still opening in new places and gradually finding its audiences. Looking back over my quotes I realised that since the last Quotable I did on it, I've acquired a whole bunch of new, insightful comments - mainly from Viggo's many promotional interviews - on the filming process, the main themes which run through it, and the challenge of playing twins. This is, after all, the film where you get two Viggos for the price of one. Or ? going by the comments below ? even three!

© 20th Century Fox/Haddock Films.

"I'd always thought I'd love to be able to say I'm part of its movie history,"

Viggo talking about filming in Argentina
'If I think a film's beyond me ? that's a good sign'
Imogen Tilden
The Guardian
28 May 2013

"I was raised in Argentina until I was 11 and now I go back there a lot, at least twice a year. It's a country where I feel very comfortable and it represents an important period in my life. There is a scene where someone shouts at Agustin when he is masquerading as Pedro: 'You will never be like Pedro. You will never be from here.' That had a real resonance for me. It made me think of my own experience. You can't really go back to where you came from. I don't think any of us can."

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

"What I liked right away, and continue to like very much, are the contradictions, the duality it has, not just between the twin brothers I play but also the scenery, the city, and the river."

Viggo Mortensen
Mortensen faces the "mental challenge" of playing both twin brothers in 'Todos tenemos un plan'
By - translated by Ollie, Rio, Sage and Zoe
9 August 2011

"Plans," shares Mortensen, "are like conscious dreams, longings, but they never come to be, and that has to do with the film being called that, but it doesn´t mean that they´ll be realised."

Viggo Mortensen Doubles As Twins In The Argentinean Todos Tenemos Un Plan
By - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
La Razón
5 September 2012

'Like a lot of unique movies, it took years to get together. Two or three years, probably. I kept working on her and said, "I want to be a producer. I've never done it before, but I want to do it." I wanted to make sure that whatever happened, her vision got to the screen. As a producer, I had a little more say, and I could say, "Well, let me see the script with subtitles and let me correct them."'

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

'It was a good decision to shoot in the winter because it gave character to the movie. But it put us under more pressure, too, because there were fewer hours of daylight. It was cold, and the weather was quite changeable. But it was beautiful.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen's grand plan
Telegraph Men's Style Magazine
By Sheryl Garratt
26 March 2013

"It's like working with any creature ? horse, dog or bee. If you're calm you won't get kicked, bitten, or stung." Did he get stung? "No," he says with a small smile. "I was lucky. And I made my own honey. I've still got a couple of jars."

Viggo on working with bees
Viggo Mortensen is lord of all things
Chitra Ramaswamy
The Scotsman
24 May 2013

'What was surprising ? and what probably distracted me from the fear of being stung ? was the noise. One bee buzzing close to your head is quite loud, but imagine thousands. Your world closes off and you become very focused on what you're doing, because you can't really hear what other people are saying.'

Viggo Mortensen's grand plan
Telegraph Men's Style Magazine
By Sheryl Garratt
26 March 2013

Was it a challenge to create those distinct personalities?

The most difficult thing was trying to act badly when Agustin is trying to impersonate Pedro. It's sort of an impossible task. He can't do it that well because he hasn't seen his brother in years and yet you're trying to do this in a way where you're not being overtly comical or exaggerating too much.

Viggo Mortensen Goes Back to His Roots for 'Everyone Has A Plan'
19 April 2013

"These complicated men feel no great love for one another. But they both carry good and evil within themselves. That's why I needed Viggo to make them real....Viggo's talented and cultured, but he can also be brutal on screen. Without that quality this film would have flopped."

Ana Piterbarg
Viggo Mortensen's New Plan
By Constance Droganes
26 March 2013

EA: Do you relate more to Agustin or to Pedro?

VM: None of them, but while we were shooting, it would vary. If I was playing Agustín for a long time, I would miss Pedro. He was fun, he says what's on his mind and that makes him a very attractive character to play. But at the same time, it is a difficult person to see everyday or to live with. Then, If I was playing Pedro, I wanted to play Agustín and Ana agreed with me. I love them both very much. One character is more subtle than the other.

Viggo Mortensen Returns to his Roots with "Todos Tenemos Un Plan"
by Lydia Aquino
Entertainment Affair
2 April 2013

'The lie brings Augustín to the truth and the proximity to death, the possibility of death, brings him closer to life.'

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

"The main character lives through a process opposite to that of the first Cronenberg films I made. But he becomes, as well, a third person who has nothing to do with who he was or with his brother. Suddenly he comes to terms with where he is, he likes the place and he doesn´t care whether he is called Pedro or Agustín."

Viggo Mortensen
Soledad Villamil - Viggo Mortensen: Brothers In Arms
By Nazareno Brega - translated by Ollie and Zoe
29 August 2012

"There's a saying in Spanish: Without risk there's no glory," Mortensen explained. "You can live a safe little life, but if you don't take a chance once in a while you'll imprison yourself. That's the whole point of our movie."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen's New Plan
By Constance Droganes
26 March 2013

Quotable Viggo: 28 July 2013

After the recent reminiscing from Milailoff about acting with Viggo on Leatherface: TCM 3, I thought I'd round up some of the comments from others who have taken a look back to their early days working with Viggo. Harlin and Penn took one look and just hoped he could act, Philip Ridley saw him as a 'kindred spirit' while Nicole Kidman saw him as the ideal 'Campion Man'.

© New Line Cinema.

Leatherface: TCM3

"He was very cool," Mihailoff says. "Let's face it: At the time, he wasn't 'Viggo Mortensen,' you know what I mean? He wasn't the star he is today for sure, but he was a very serious, intense guy. We only had a few scenes together, but I remember very distinctly what a good actor he was. When they give me the hotrod chainsaw in the movie [more on that a little later], I'm like a big kid at Christmas ? I can't believe it and I just keep swinging it around. And Viggo ?I saw this in the dailies afterwards ? Viggo ducks, and it wasn't rehearsed and it wasn't scripted. But it was very intelligent reaction to what I was doing."

R A Milailoff
'Texas Chainsaw Massacre': Leatherface actor R.A. Mihailoff by the numbers
By Matt Wake
17 July 2013

Viggo, just like everyone else in the cast was always there, ready to go and had great ideas. Just a joy to work with, and I'm not just saying that. I can guarantee his approach to stuff now is exactly the same as it was then. He's just so committed and he's such a really good guy. All the family members were great.

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


Review Fix: What was it like to work with Lane Smith and a young Viggo Mortensen?

Harlin: It was great to work with both, Lane Smith and Viggo Mortensen..... 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. Unfortunately, since the film wasn't really released theatrically, it took Viggo a little longer to get there, but he still got there eventually.

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. My mantra was that I wanted to find the next James Dean and he was awesome, very low key and on the spot I said this is our guy."

Director Renny Harlin
Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011

Young Guns 11

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

John Fusco
Mandi Bierly
Entertainment Weekly
6 August 2010

Indian Runner

Around 1991 while the actor's career was languishing, he met Sean Penn who by chance had seen one of his films on a cable channel. 'Seeing his face and his expression, I knew it was him. I was praying for such a wonderful actor. I wasn't disappointed,'
Viggo Mortensen: The magician of The Lord of the Rings
by Aurelie Raya
Paris Match
Jan 8, 2004

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

History Teacher by Missy Schwartz
Entertainment Weekly
August 19, 2005

American Yakuza

I'm quite proud of this film. Although low-budget and a little uneven, this film and The Prophecy, in which Viggo also appeared, doing a memorable turn as "Lucifer", are the films I most often refer people to for examples of my work. And Viggo was truly outstanding to work with!...... I didn't need Lord of the Rings to know Viggo was a prince.

Richard Clabaugh, Cinematographer for American Yakuza


"I sent him the script, he liked it and, only after adding a lot of riders and positive contributions and after hours talking about it, he accepted. He explores to the infinite, not only the character's emotions but also the wardrobe, all the things. He's so honest and generous..."

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

The Passion of Darkly Noon

'Viggo is one of the few people I've worked with who, I feel, is a true kindred spirit. From the moment we first met - when I was casting The Reflecting Skin in Los Angeles - it was as if we'd known each other all our lives. He understands my work totally. By the time we were doing Darkly Noon I hardly had to give him a word of direction. He knew instinctively what I wanted.'

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

For his role as a mute in 1995's The Passion of Darkly Noon, Mortensen remained silent throughout filming. "I only heard him speak after the shoot was over, and then only to say, 'Thanks everybody, so long.' He'd make clicking noises in the back of his throat to communicate," recalls costar Brendan Fraser. Mortensen refused to break character even to settle his hotel bill. "The concierge probably didn't speak English, and here's Viggo gesturing with his hands and pointing, scribbling on a pad. And I think Viggo eventually got 50% off the bill. If you know Viggo, it makes perfect sense. In a way, he transcends the acting."

Viggo Trip
by Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39, 2002

'All great artists reveal themselves more in their work than in interviews. Every time Viggo's in front of the camera or picks up a pen or a canvas or a camera, he's opening the door to his heart. This is where he's telling you the secrets of his life . . . Viggo cannot strike a fake note. I say with absolute experience that if he doesn't believe it, he won't do it.'

Philip Ridley, Director
The Reflecting Skin and The Passion of Darkly Noon
The Telegraph

Portrait of a Lady

"He's mysterious. He reminds me of Daniel Day-Lewis, who I'm working with now ? you know there's an enormous interior life." Kidman met Mortensen on Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady in 1996. "He was a little awkward, which was sweet. He has all that humor and bravado, but that gave him a fragility. Viggo's a Campion man. Her favourite men are Byron-esque."

Nicole Kidman
Beautiful Dreamer
By Holly Millea
Elle (U.S.)
October 2009


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: 21 July 2013

For those that like to neatly label creative people as an 'actor', 'artist', 'photographer', 'musician' or 'writer', Viggo presents a challenge. Surely only one thing can be a serious career, and everything else has to be dabbling? One thing I've always liked about Viggo is that he has always completely understood that creativity is a state of being. Being creative is what you are, not what you do. Trying to put a truly creative person in a box is impossible because they just can't see the sides.

In memory of our friend Peggy, all the photos I've chosen are by Deryck and taken at the various artistic events they shared.

© Deryck True. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

'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

'Inspiration is a notion, an impulse that has its own shape, before you stumble onto it. If you're in too much of a hurry, you try to tell it what it is, instead of having it tell you what it is. And I think if you do that, you're gonna miss out.'

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

'...if one can decide to become an actor, it's not the same for art - there is no starting point, it's there, in you, that's all."

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

'I've always loved the kind of isolation that comes from intensely devoting yourself to art forms like painting or poetry or whatever. That's also what makes being an actor so fulfilling in that you can share the creative process and get out of your own head.'

Viggo Mortensen Goes Back to His Roots for 'Everyone Has A Plan'
19 April 2013

"Creative expression is social change. Wear your feelings on everything you do. It will help people open up their minds and see themselves and their communities in new ways."

Actor Viggo Mortensen urges expression
by Kaci Yoder
Desert Sun
7 July 2013

"People who are creators create," he says. "People say to me all the time, 'Why don't you just focus on one thing?' And I say, 'Why? Why just one thing? Why can't I do more? Who makes up these rules?"

Viggo Mortensen
Finding Viggo By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 200

'To be an artist is to remain conscious of your surroundings, and I believe that we all have that capacity. Children have it and, as they grow up, they lose it.'

Viggo Mortensen
I wouldn't look the Alatristes of today in the eye
By Oskar L. Belategui, translated for V-W by Margarita
Hoy Sociedad
3 September 2006

Asked about his favourite medium - photography, painting or writing - Viggo Mortensen says it's all part of the same continuum. "You ask the question, you investigate, you make that extra effort to be aware and express your reaction to your surroundings," he says. "Whether you paint or act or write, you're giving importance to a given moment, a place, an emotion, and you're communicating the discoveries you've made as you engage in that process. So in that sense, everything is connected."

Viggo Mortensen, Photographer
Massey University

'I'd do it [acting]for myself anyway. Before I got into acting, I was interested in one way or another in photography or writing stories or poems or making drawings or something because I like doing it. That's who I am. That's my way of being in the world. I imagine I'll keep doing things that way. Who knows? Part of being in the world is being open to changing your mind. But so far, I haven't changed my mind about that. That's what makes me comfortable.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Sense of Finality
by Markus Tschiedert
Green Cine, 2003

He has mounted a half-dozen solo exhibitions in Cuba, Denmark, New York, and Los Angeles. His New York dealer, Robert Mann, says he had no idea who Mortensen was when he first met him four years ago.

"The Lord of the Rings wasn't out, and I was clueless about that part of his life' Mann says. "I saw the work and responded to it on its own merit. There's a lot of volatility to it, a lot of emotion, a lot of subtext and sensitivity." Mann says that, typically, celebrity art implies an underlying dilettantism. But Mortensen "is not a dabbler. I consider him a very lucky and talented person. Most artists are lucky to express themselves in one avenue."

Robert Mann, New York Gallerist
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

"....he's incredibly gifted as a visual artist. He is a very multifaceted and slightly compulsive individual, constantly creating in every medium. His creative energy is boundless; I assume acting is another extension of that."

Robert Mann, New York Gallerist
In the Spotlight But Shining On Its Own - Celebrity Art
by Lisa Crawford Watson
Art Business News, 2001

?does he worry that people will just dismiss his eclectic works as mere half-arsed nixers of an over-indulged Hollywood star?

"I was drawing and painting and writing poems before I did acting, but people are going to make up their own minds about you anyway," he replies. "I feel it's personally a waste of time and inevitably a frustrating exercise to try to accommodate others all the time, or to try to please everyone.

Analysis of dream career
by Declan Cashin
Irish Examiner
15 February 2012


Quotable Viggo: 13 July 2013

After hiding throughout May and June, the sun has finally come out in my corner of the UK and it's too hot today to even think. So what could be better than giving in to the silly season and having some fun. I've pulled together a bunch of oldie but goodie Viggo quips for us to enjoy. For some reason, horses and, of course, Cronenbeg figure rather a lot in the mix...

Colbert Report Appearance 9.12.2007.
© Comedy Central.

Q: Everybody has a plan. What´s yours?

A:. I actually don´t have one

"When I wake up I think of death"
By Karmentxu Marín - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
El Pais
9 September 2012

"I can talk on film," he quipped on the red carpet, poking fun at the many roles in which he is a man of few words.

Viggo accepting his Genie Award
Viggo Mortensen wins
8 March 2012

"In the movie," said Cronenberg, "Viggo was wearing Armani. We don't allow him on the street like that, because he can't carry off the class when he's being himself."

Mortensen, director discuss their noirish
Eastern Promises
By Dixie Reid, Sacramento Bee,
12 September 2007

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

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

Following the press Q&A, as he left the stage, he paused, looked at the huge 'Viggo Mortensen' image on the screen behind him, and said, 'You spelled my name wrong?' There was a horrified moment as the organisers checked in panic ? then he smiled, 'No, just kidding?.'

Viggo after accepting the Coolidge Awardin Boston
Greendragon posting on TORn
6 March 2012

When I read interviews about History of Violence, the interviews really emphasized the degree to which you two collaborate. Tell me, how do you two work together?

It's a total lie. I do everything, Viggo does nothing. I do all the work. But he pays me to say that he does a lot of stuff.

VM: Also to say that I'm thoughtful and considerate.

Talking Eastern Promises with David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen
By Sara Maria Vizcarrondo
Rotten Tomatoes
12 September 2007

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

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

Viggo Mortensen
Empire On-line Web Chat
31 January 2012

Viggo said that on the set Michael would hop around on one leg with a large red eyepatch to prepare for his scenes. What the hell was that about?

Yes, yes, I don't know what that was about. You'll have to talk to Michael about it to get the story. You have to understand that Viggo, being as playful as he is, could totally be making that up.

David Cronenberg
'A Dangerous Method' director David Cronenberg talks white-hot leading man, Michael Fassbender
by Chris Nashawaty
Entertainment Weekly
23 November 2011

"It is a Norwegian ghost story. It is called 'The Road to Resurrection.' I come back as a Viking ghost and he's in the Italian mob,"

Viggo plans a sequel to The Road with Kodi
'The Road' premieres at Venice
By Colleen Barry
Associated Press
3 September 2009

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

'...they're terrible at writing, but I look forward to seeing them soon.'

Viggo on his horses in New Zealand
'Ordinary guy' role a treat for Mortensen
By Russell Baillie
New Zealand Herald
March 18 2006

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

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

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

Cronenberg and Mortensen - Dangerous Minds
10 February 2012

"I'm hoping to shoot a movie with an elephant soon, and I've no idea where I'm going to put him."

Viggo asked about buying horses from his films
Long Live the King
By Paul Byrne
April 2004

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

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

Me: We have to talk about women, because you are the sexiest man alive.

Him: So there are a lot of dead men who are sexier?

Eats Roadkill, Speaks Danish
By Amy Wallace
Esquire magazine
March 2006

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: 6 July 2013

Viggo said recently in his TiempoSur interview that there was very little he didn't like about being an actor and he regarded the profession as a privilege. This sent me back to my rather large collection of quotes about acting and I realised that, as always, he's had a lot to say about it over the last year. So I've brought them together for another Acting Quotable and included a very telling comment from Cronenberg which sums up Viggo's approach to his work.

In the dunes of La Loberia
Image Guadalupe Gaona.
© 4L Productions.

'There's very little that I don't like about being an actor, an artist. I think I'm very lucky to be able to make a living from this profession, and it's a privilege. I travel, I meet a great variety of people and landscapes, I continue learning from other points of view. Sometimes the amount of time it takes to promote the finished films, with a lot of interviews, photo sessions, can be a bit annoying, but I understand it and accept it as part of my job.'

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

'My goal is just to make movies, whether they're big or small, that I'd like to see 10 years from now. That's sort of the way I gauge it.'

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

Viggo, what do you love most about acting?

The ongoing journey of it, and its unexpected consequences. It is hard to know at any given time if you are making the right decisions as an artist, but the surest way to stay in the moment and make progress in this moveable feast of a profession is to say "yes" as often as you can. As Yogi Berra once said: "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

One-on-one interview with 'On the Road's' Viggo Mortensen
By Steven Lebowitz
6 April 2013

"Acting is something that when it goes well it's the easiest and most enjoyable job you could imagine. But when it doesn't go well it's embarrassing and terrible and there's no way to solve a problem when you're in the middle of shooting a film."

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

'Working with fantasy is, in a certain way, a childish activity. However, 'it's childish behavior' is often said in a pejorative way. How many times have we heard that phrase? I think that it's something that doesn't have to be negative. Childish behavior? Yes, thanks! Me, I'm really interested in going to that extreme. Perhaps other actors aren't.'

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

"Children are very good actors because they believe totally in what they're doing; they surrender themselves to it, without embarrassment, without fear; they dance, they sing, they do everything."

El mundo de Viggo Mortensen
By Manuel Martínez ? translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
Esquire Latinoamerica
15 march 2012

'Films are teamwork and there are actors who don't mind saying that the film was a piece of shit but I was just fine. I don't like that. If the film doesn't work, there's nothing. It's like saying, I'm the top scorer, but my team didn't make it to the final.'

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

'I don't think there is any such thing as "Method Acting" because method is "what works," you know?'

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

"I have all kinds of little rituals, when I'm getting ready", he confesses with a slightly embarrassed laugh. "Before takes I dress in my costume in exactly the same way every day. If I do it wrong, I will do it all over again. I always put on my clothes in a certain order with my left sock first. There are also objects that I always carry around."

By Patricia Danaher
Ekko Magazine
Translated by Estel
May-August 2012

"I'm not trying to be Don Quixote and looking for movies that are impossible to be distributed," Mortensen said. "If I give you my word that I'll shoot a movie, I'll do it. A lot of actors commit to a project that's difficult to get financed and in the meantime get offered something else that's juicier and dump the other one. I stick with it."

Viggo Mortensen: Why Don't Spanish-Language Films Get Any Respect?
By Lucas Shaw
Yahoo Movies
23 March 2013

'I think everybody finds Viggo to be a bit of a mentor because he's becoming a kind of?and certainly this is nothing that he would want?but I think he's becoming a kind of iconic figure in terms of how you should be an actor. Just your demeanor, your seriousness, but your sense of humor and the kind of research you do and your professionalism, and your loyalty to the project and to the people who are creating the project.'

David Cronenberg
On the Analyst's Couch with David Cronenberg
Jenni Miller
GQ Magazine
21 November 2011

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

'There are many talented individuals in this art form, but if there is one thing I have learned during the thirty years that I have been working as an actor in the movies it is that there is always a surprise around the corner. Stories and performances you would not expect to work, full of moments of rare beauty, humor, and inspiration. As an audience member, every time the lights go down and the images begin to dance in front of me, I am hoping for that kind of story, those sorts of moments.'

One-on-one interview with 'On the Road's' Viggo Mortensen
By Steven Lebowitz
6 April 2013

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Last edited: 21 December 2013 17:56:53