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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

If you like a bonkers and rather bloody B movie then Renny Harlin’s Prison is for you, though it’s probably only appeared on most of our radars because Viggo is in it channelling ‘a James Dean vibe’ and… um… taking a shower. What’s not to enjoy? The film gathered a new audience and lots of new reviews when it was released on Blu-ray in 2013, bumping up my quotes quota enough to give the film the full Quotable works. It's pretty close to Halloween, after all!





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

Shlockmania Blu-ray Prison review
18 February 2013




The film, shot on location in a prison in Wyoming, is certainly not a milestone of the genre, but it is entertaining with actors in a good situation - and, for the first time in his career, it gave Mortensen the chance to fully reveal his charisma.

Portrait: Viggo Mortensen - The Actor As Artist
By - translated by Sally
DVD Special (Germany)
June 2008




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

Haunted Prison
Independent Film Channel
30 October 2007




“When I was casting this little million-dollar horror movie, I really wanted to get good actors though to make it stand out. We saw something like eighty guys in Hollywood, guys you would know from TV and bit parts in movies, but they all felt like the same old thing and I was really frustrated. After we get done with the eighty guys in comes Viggo who had hardly done anything at that point, I think Witness was his only film but 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




“He was definitely somebody that people were keeping an eye on and what have you. He was this striking looking guy and he really was a good guy and still is. He’s just a very nice person. But boy he really brought up the smoldering intensity right away. That was terrific.”

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




“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.”

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




He… handled almost all of his own stunts, a move that would earn him a stunt team t-shirt by Hodder by the end of production.

Locked Up 30 Years Later: Kane Hodder in ‘Prison’
by Meagan Navarro
Bloodydisgusting.com
6 March 2018




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

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




I know it’s cliché to say an actor has intensity but I think Prison is one of [Viggo’s] more intense roles. There is a scene in the prison yard when he’s going toe-to-toe with a prisoner who’s trying to run the yard that is just cool as hell. His performance actually in Eastern Promises kind of reminds me of Prison because in both films he uses his eyes so much.

Prison Review
Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011




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

Prison Review
Hollibonitos
Starblog.com




It’s interesting to watch him here as he channels a James Dean vibe, with his wedge-cut hair and sulky, almost shy delivery.

Prison Review
David Maine
Popmatters.com
20 February 2013




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

Martin Liebman
Blu-ray.com
2 February 2013




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

By Rob Hunter
filmschoolrejects Blu-ray review
16 February 2013




Prison features a strong cast of recognizable actors, many of whom were at the start of their careers. Viggo Mortensen (The Prophecy) has enjoyed the most success and it is easy to recognize his talent in this early piece. His performance is subtle as a short-time convict gradually pushed into the role of reluctant hero.

Horrortalk.com Blu-ray review
19 February 2013



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Empire Pictures.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

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




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

Haunted Prison
Independent Film Channel
30 October 2007




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

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




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

Director Renny Harlin
Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011




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

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




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

Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011




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

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




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

Jacob Knight
Veryaware.com
22 February 2013




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

David Maine
Popmatters.com
20 February 2013




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

Source: Hollibonitos
Starblog.com




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

Shlockmania Blu-ray review
18 February 2013



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

Martin Liebman
Blu-ray.com
2 February 2013




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

By Rob Hunter
filmschoolrejects Blu-ray review
16 February 2013




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

Viggo Mortensen on 'Prison'
Prison Press Kit Biography
1988



You will find all previous Quotables
here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Empire Pictures.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo



Another long Quotable! We've been hearing all week about Viggo's partnership with Cronenberg, a partnership that has brought us three extraordinary films and which we and, I'm betting, every serious film goer and critic out there, hopes will long continue. So how about all those other directors? Taking a look back over Viggo's non-Cronenberg career it's clear that they have all, to a man and woman, appreciated exactly the same things about Viggo that Cronenberg does. The commitment, the risk taking, the dedication and research, his ability to almost read their minds, the complexity he brings to characters and the fact that he becomes a true collaborator.





Lisandro Alonso: awaiting title


"I liked him very much; right then I realized that we could treat one another as equals. He's an actor I love, among other things for the way in which he transmits emotions physically, gesturally. He's not an actor who's usually given great lines of dialogue, but you see him, for example, in the final scene of History of Violence, David Cronenberg's film, and you realize how incredible his work is, the things you can read in his face."

Lisandro Alonso
"It´s a mixture of spaces, times and languages."
By Diego Brodersen - translated by Ollie and Zoe
Pagina 12
27 October 2013




"Viggo is directed by himself, doesn´t need my help; he is an amazing actor, a unique person, a dream producer."

Lisandro Alonso
Nueva voz: Lisandro Alonso y el cine de los hombres solos
El Deber
28 December 2013




Ana Piterbarg: Todos Tenemos Un Plan


What was it that drew you to Viggo. Why was he right for the role?

I think he one of the best actors in the world. In his body of work he plays such a range of different characters that I knew that he could play the two diverse roles in this movie. He is a well travelled and cultured person as well as being sensitive he can be brutal at the same time.

Ana Piterbarg talks Tigre and Viggo with The Fan Carpet's Holly Patrick for Everybody Has a Plan at the 56th LFF
By Holly Patrick
Fancarpet
20 October 2012




John Hillcoat: The Road


"Actors come with baggage, as well. Sometimes that baggage can help, like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. His baggage was part of the performance. With Viggo, there's something slightly elusive about him, and he has quite a wide range, and yet, also, there's this real physicality about him. And there's this tenderness.

"And his face also reminded me of Grapes of Wrath, the Dorothea Lange photos of the Great Depression, Midwest people struggling with the collapse of the environment and the economy."

John Hillcoat
On The Road with Viggo and Kodi:
By Jay Stone
Canada.com
18 November 2009




Ed Harris: Appaloosa


"Not only do I have a great respect for him as an actor but as a human being. He's a really decent guy. He's great on the set, treats everybody really respectfully. I just thought he'd be perfect. These were two guys who had to communicate a lot about being who they were and the knowledge of each other without really talking about it ... If Viggo couldn't have done it, I don't know if I would've made the movie"

Ed Harris
Viggo is one straight shooter
By Kevin Williamson
Toronto Sun
6th September 2008




"I figured if he wanted to do it - if he responded to the material - then he would immediately understand what this was between these guys without us having to talk about for hours on end..."

Ed Harris
Globe and Mail
22 September 2008




Vicente Amorim: Good


"I loved having chosen him, because I liked his performance in "A History of Violence" very much. He has a sweet masculinity and an unusual political consciousness, especially among Americans. Viggo didn't need any explanation, for example, about the contemporary political relevance of "Good" and he was very interested in the dramatic potential of the character."

Vicente Amorim Starts His International Career (and talks about Good)
By Catalina Arica - translated for V-W by Paddy
EGO
29 May 2006




Q: Aren't you scared to work with an actor like Viggo?

A: Of course, I'm scared. I'm anxious. I'm looking forward to it. I'd love to start it right now.

Vicente Amorim (Director)
Rede CBN radio interview
3 June 2006
Translated by Claudia




Agustín Díaz Yanes: Alatriste


CK: What did Viggo Mortensen provide the film?

ADY: Everything; absolutely everything. In Spain, because of the tradition of our cinema, we don't have action heroes, and Viggo combines an impressive physique (that "exact image of the weary hero" that Arturo wanted) with the fact of being a spectacular actor of action (films). He's an extraordinary actor in dialogues, in everything...he has that combination that it's so difficult to find here. Viggo has been the vital centre of the film. The title of the movie is "Alatriste"!!. His experience, his help and his advice have also been very important.

Agustín Díaz Yanes
Action, history...and skilled swordsmen
By Andrés Rubin de Celis - translated by Paddy for V-W
Citizen K Espana
July 2006



"He is the ultimate. He is a confident actor, he expresses everything with his eyes, he is an internal actor of action, who is present in all scenes in the film, some 90, with the exception of 6. It has been like filming with a Spanish actor, you can ask any cinematic favors you wish. He is also very exacting with himself from both an artistic and moral point of view. If I ever had the chance to work with him again, I would be delighted..."

Agustín Díaz Yanes
Alatriste Fights in the Streets
By Rocío García
EL PAÍS 1st Aug 2005
Translated by Elessars Queen




Joe Johnston: Hidalgo


"I hadn't seen the first Lord of the Rings before we cast him, but I figured anybody that could sell blouses to Diane Lane out of a truck could do anything."

Joe Johnston
Staci Layne Wilson
American Western Magazine
March 2004




"He's also completely devoted to the project. He was always there. We worked him a lot more than we should have. He never complained, and he was there dawn to dusk and beyond. He's largely responsible for making that whole aspect of this really work. He's really amazing."

Joe Johnston
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004




Peter Jackson: The Lord of the Rings



"Viggo has that dark, mysterious, quiet-man quality. He's also very intelligent and private. A lot of people have said these movies are going to make Viggo a big star. I nod and smile, knowing that being a big star is the last thing in the world that Viggo wants. He's completely unimpressed and disinterested in that world. I think he'd prefer to stay home and paint, write his poetry, and enjoy himself rather than play the Hollywood game. That's an aspect of him that I respect a lot."

Peter Jackson
Movieline Magazine




"After the end of a long day's shooting, when all the other cast would be either in bed or in the bar, [partner and co-screenwriter Fran Walsh] and I would be home grappling with the script for the next week's shooting. At midnight, a nine-page handwritten memo would come rattling through the fax from Viggo, outlining his thoughts about that day's work and the next few days to come. He would suggest passages from the book we should look at. This wasn't an exception - over 15 months it became the rule. In the small hours, it was actually comforting to know there was somebody else out there grappling with the same nightmare that we were."

Peter Jackson
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003




Tony Goldwyn: A Walk on the Moon


"When I saw some of Viggo's work, I thought, that's always who I've had in my head. I realized there is not one other actor anywhere who could play Viggo's part other than Viggo. He has this kind of complexity and mysteriousness to him. He doesn't have to say much and you get a lot."

Tony Goldwyn, Director of A Walk on the Moon
Actor Goldwyn side-stepped cliches for summer of '69 directorial debut
By Robin Blackwelder
SPLICEDwire, splicedonline.com



Ridley Scott: G I Jane


'He is absolutely dedicated to the process,' says Ridley Scott. 'He was constantly revisiting me with questions and notes and suggestions, none of which I ever got tired of.'

Ridley Scott Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond,
US Magazine #236, 1997




Phillip Ridley: The Reflecting Skin and 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'
Methuen 1997




José Luis Acosta: Gimlet


"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




Sean Penn: The Indian Runner


"He was dazzlingly committed all the time. He literally brings the kitchen sink for a character. 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




Jeff Burr: Leatherface: Texas Chain Saw Massacre 111


"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




Renny Harlin: Prison


"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



You will find all previous Quotables
here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Good Films.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo




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'.





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
AL.com
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




Prison

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
www.rclabaugh.com




Gimlet

"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




Witness

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



As always, you will find all previous Quotables
here in our Webpages.



© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © New Line Cinema.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo




You're bound to have noticed from all the activity on our Other Movies thread that Prison has come out on Blu-ray and has garnered a lot of quite favourable reviews from horror buffs. It's nice to see some recognition for a film that is ? I think ? a lot better than you expect it to be. It also has a young, gorgeous Viggo in early 'moody bad boy' mode. Did I mention you can watch that on Blu-ray? Thanks to advancing technology I now have enough quotes for a whole Prison Quotable and, in case you've missed the best of the reviews, I've gathered them together here for you. It's also an excuse to use the Goatherding quote one more time. I tried to leave it out, honest I did, .... but I couldn't. Prison just wouldn't be complete without it.



Prison deserves props for being much smarter (and more dignified) than most of us expect a B-movie to be.

Prison Review
By John W Bowen
Classic Horror
7 April 2001




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

Haunted Prison
Independent Film Channel
30 October 2007




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

Director Renny Harlin
Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011




"Viggo had already been in Witness and one or two other things. He was definitely somebody that people were keeping an eye on and what have you. He was this striking looking guy and he really was a good guy and still is. He's just a very nice person. But boy he really brought up the smoldering intensity right away. That was terrific."

Screenwriter Courtney Joyner
Late night classics ? Prison
Jason Bene
Killerfilm.com
2 June 2010




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

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




PRISON is pretty remarkable on a lot of levels; it also features Viggo Mortensen in one of his first feature film roles. I know it's cliché to say an actor has intensity but I think PRISON is one of his more intense roles. There is a scene in the prison yard when he's going toe-to-toe with a prisoner who's trying to run the yard that is just cool as hell. His performance actually in EASTERN PROMISES kind of reminds me of PRISON because in both films he uses his eyes so much.

Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011




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

David Maine
Popmatters.com
20 February 2013




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

Jacob Knight
Veryaware.com
22 February 2013




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

Source: Hollibonitos
Starblog.com




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

Shlockmania Blu-ray review
18 February 2013




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

Martin Liebman
Blu-ray.com
2 February 2013




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

By Rob Hunter
filmschoolrejects Blu-ray review
16 February 2013




Even though Mortensen is the lead he really doesn't say too much but his character just has this strong silent presence and he takes care of business.

Alienbee.net Blu-ray review
13 February 2013




Prison features a strong cast of recognizable actors, many of whom were at the start of their careers. Viggo Mortensen (The Prophecy) has enjoyed the most success and it is easy to recognize his talent in this early piece. His performance is subtle as a short-time convict gradually pushed into the role of reluctant hero.

Horrortalk.com Blu-ray review
19 February 2013




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

Viggo Mortensen on 'Prison'
Prison Press Kit Biography, 1988




As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.



© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Empire Pictures.


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Last edited: 10 November 2019 15:21:30