Only a few quotes this week, but I won't leave you short changed because they are not really quotes at all but wonderful stories that have to be read complete to be fully appreciated. Because of their length they hardly ever make it into a Quotable, but all of them are favourites of mine and deserved to be enjoyed again.
"Every once in a while you do something really dumb when you're a kid and you realize when you're an adult that that's dangerous, but.. you know.. There was one time when I was coming home at the end of the day, going through the paddocks, and you open the gates from horseback, and the last gate I was about to grab the latch and there was this beautiful, beautiful snake wrapped around it..it was orange and black and white stripes. And I thought 'I'm going to take this home and show it to my family'. And I tried to grab it and he tried to get me. And I like whacked it just to stun it and I grabbed it by the neck and opened the gate and got through, closed it and said "Dad, dad, look what I got." And he freaked out, cos it was a Coral snake, which if you get bit I think two minutes, three minutes, you're dead."
David Letterman Show, 2004
One last thing that I wish to report is a small anecdote concerning someone. One of my charming girlfriends, attached to the press core assisting all of the DVDrama personel, yesterday was herself helped by a hero and not the least of which since it was Mr. Viggo Mortensen, alias the sensual Aragorn of the Lord of the Rings, about whom we are still having numerous fantasies since the first showing of Peter Jackson's trilogy. Present in Cannes to support David Cronenberg's film, A History of Violence, in which he proves once again his immensity talent, he went to the private evening gathering that followed the premiere screening, which was exactly where my girlfriend was, whose dress suddenly caught fire as she walked down the centre of an avenue edged with small candles. An accident which could have transformed itself very quickly into a catastrophe if the courageous Viggo hadn't intervened immediately, gently throwing himself on her to help extinguish the first flames that could have become a conflagration. Reassuring and concerned he next took lengthy care of her. After this summer the King of Tolkien, Viggo, is today the King of Cannes...
Viggo the Hero
DVDrama, Cannes Film Festival Report
17 May 2005
"I was 20 years old, I was travelling in the north of Norway," he recalls, like an old war veteran. Trying to go "as far up as possible," young Mortensen got lost, survived by lighting a fire and being rescued by the inhabitants of the region, the Samis, a native people of Finno-Ougric descent. "They sheltered me in exchange for work. Afterwards they tried to convince me to spend the winter there. They offered me a big coat and kilos of meat. And when I said no, they offered me a small fat girl of about 16. Maybe I should have stayed. It would have been an interesting experience.
Lost in La Pampa
By Pierre Boisson - translated by Ollie
So Film #10 (France)
I order a margarita. He orders a whiskey and a beer. The waiter sees a notepad on the table and his celebrity antennae pop up like Ray Walston's extraterrestrial ones in My Favorite Martian.
"So just who is interviewing who?" the waiter asks us. This is a formality. He's pretty sure that this is the guy from The Lord of the Rings. I start to reply, but Mortensen holds up his hand. "She has just set the world record for the longest distance windsurfed by a human being," he says, tilting his head in my direction.
"No!" the waiter gasps.
"She windsurfed from Hawaii to the mainland," he continues. "Sure, there was a boat that followed her, and she slept at night, but still. That's what, how many miles?" He looks at me.
"Um, thirty-seven hundred?" I say. I have no idea.
"And not even a man has done that yet," Mortensen tells the waiter. "Isn't that cool?"
The waiter asks me to sign a menu.
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
Mortensen….never had any overwhelming desire to jump into anyone else's skin. Instead, he drifted into it – prompted, in part, by an experience he had in Denmark when he was 21.
"When I was a volunteer at the Winter Olympics, I met this woman who asked me if I would go and look after her elderly parents in Sweden for three weeks. They were in their nineties, and they lived miles from anywhere. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. Every morning, the old man would write a letter to the king explaining why he couldn't pay his taxes. The wife was obsessed with Björn Borg and with playing bridge. She would insist that I play with her, even though I had no idea of the rules. Also, you need four people to play bridge, of course.
"Every night we would sit down and pretend to play. We had imaginary partners and she would deal out the hands. I never had any idea of what I was meant to do, none at all. It was totally crazy, but it was one of the first times I had to try to pretend to be someone else and in an odd sort of way I found it fulfilling."
Viggo Mortensen on 'A Dangerous Method'
By John Preston
11 February 2012
Even Mortensen's memories of early childhood are deeply spiritual. He tells me about the time he crawled into the woods and fell asleep. "I was sleeping under a tree, and it was very peaceful," he says. "And then a dog started barking, and that's how my parents found me."
You are always escaping, I say.
Yeah, he says. He calls his mother - on my cell phone, because he doesn't have one - to double-check his recollection. "Hi, it's Viggo. Sorry to be calling so late," he says. "Oh shit. You're in the middle of it? That's funny. Is it the tape? [She was watching a tape of The Two Towers.] O.K., sorry, it's just a quick question and then I'll let you get back to what you're doing. Remember there were a couple of times I ran away? And the time the dog came and found me in the woods? How old was I then? About one and a half. O.K. But, anyway, the dog came and found me and I was sitting under a tree? Happy? Sleeping, right?"
Big look of consternation.
"I was sitting in the middle of the woods crying? I thought I was sleeping. Are you sure?"
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
Mortensen also fell head-over-reel in love with New Zealand because he's a keen angler. He particularly enjoyed wandering off into the wilds, looking for remote rivers to do a spot of fly-fishing. "There are some streams where the fishing's so good, I wouldn't tell you about them," he grins. However, on one of these safaris in the South Island, disaster struck and Mortensen nearly perished.
"It was one of those rare times when I actually had the weekend off, so I headed off to the West Coast, into the rainforest, to a place I'd been to before," he recalls. "I was trying to get to the coast via the woods but it was a bit of a hike and it started to get dark. Stupidly, I hadn't brought a flashlight with me because I thought I knew the trail. But I soon got lost because there was no moon and I was in dense bush. It was pitch black but luckily I had a camera with me that had a flash, so I used the flash to try and find my way out.
"I was taking pictures, using the flash to try and find the trail, because it let me see everything around me for a second. But I never did find it and then I ran out of film! At some point, I ended up in a marshy area and I kept falling down and getting cut by thorns. I just thought, 'This is stupid,' so I found a piece of relatively high ground and lay down for a while until the moon came up.
"Fortunately, when the moon did finally come up, I managed to get my bearings and figured how to get back to where I started from," he recalls. "When I showed up, I really alarmed the makeup people because it looked like I'd been through a grinder!"
By Desmond Sampson
A really nice box-office clerk (I'm not naming names) at a downtown Madrid theater discovers that Viggo Mortensen, whose girlfriend, a famous Spanish film star, was acting in a version (very poor, to be sure) of a famous play which was playing right there, has come to buy a ticket.
Quite possibly, Mortensen could have asked his partner for an invitation and that would have been that. Instead, he insisted on paying like any regular guy. The box-office clerk recognised him, and smiling, gave him a guest ticket. "How much do I owe you?" said Mortensen in his cheerful Argentinian accent. "No, no, nothing, you are invited," answered the box-office clerk. The Hollywood star thanks her cordially, goes, and ten minutes later returns with an ice cream for the box-office clerk! He insisted that she should take it, although she said she was on a diet, so he sweetened her afternoon. Anyway, when I grow up, I want to be Viggo Mortensen.
Where I said Viggo (Mortensen), I say Diego (Alatriste)
By Juan Luis Sánchez - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
25 November 2011