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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Found By: Iolanthe
Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

Merry Christmas Viggodom - time for our Festive Quotable (where did the year go?). I'm sure many of us have been traipsing around the shops trying to find lovely Christmas presents for our nearest and dearest. Viggo, a year-round one-man Father Christmas, doesn't need any excuse. He is an incurable gift-giver.

Viggo Mortensen has come bearing pancake mix. We are curbside at the tiny airport in Syracuse, New York, on a truly dreary day (even by Syracuse standards), and within seconds of hopping into his rented Ford Fusion, I learn two things about him: He's the kind of guy who picks you up at the airport, and he's the kind of guy who brings presents. Pancake mix is a delicacy in upstate New York. "Do you like maple syrup?" Because he brought me some of that, too. He's prepared a gift bag.

Why Viggo Mortensen Is Off the Grid
By Lisa DePaulo
25 May 2016

"There's rarely a day he doesn't show up bearing gifts of some sort from his different weekend jaunts," says his Appaloosa costar Renée Zellweger, "where he'll go find some really obscure village behind Taos somewhere and visit an artists' colony and bring back some wares to share. And there was never a day that he wasn't plying us with dark chocolate. It was ridiculous. Bags full. Bags full! Bacon–covered truffles. Where was he getting it? He was the chocolate crack dealer."

Renée Zellweger
The Great Dane
Men's Vogue
By Phoebe Eaton
March 2008

"A favorite moment was seeing Green Book star Viggo Mortensen pulling out a copy of a vintage Don Shirley LP that he had found. "This record is for Mahershala. You can't get it anywhere. It is so rare," he enthused about his gift for Ali, who plays the concert pianist in the film. Well, we know at least one Governors Awards guest got a really cool parting gift last night."

Lovely Moment from The Governor's Awards
Pete Hammond
20 November 2018

"Viggo is such an amazing guy. He's the gentlest, kindest person you'll ever meet. All the 'family' members got along but I think the strongest bonds that were made were between the kids and Viggo. He would come on set every day with different books for all the kids to read. I ended up having about 10 books that I've never gotten around to reading. He really is a generous, amazingly kind man."

Nicholas Hamilton
Captain Fantastic and the Sundance Kid
By Matthew Lowe
20 January 2015

Viggo Mortensen is waiting for me in a parking lot on the Pacific Coast Highway near Topanga Canyon.

He thought it would be nice to walk along the beach, watch the sunset and the deepening pink clouds and the dolphins at play in the surf, and talk, you know, maybe have a drink or two. He is barefoot on the asphalt, in jeans. His hair is sandy-red, floppy-perfect, the provocatively dimpled chin brushed with stubble. He kisses me hello on the cheek. My vision goes blurry for a second, then--steady, steady--rights itself.

"I brought you some things," he says, sitting down on a bench overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

He opens a large cardboard box at his feet. There are about a dozen books: one of pictures by a Cuban Santeria practitioner turned photographer; one of poetry that comes with an owl-shaped pewter trinket; one containing sketches by Lola Schnabel, an ex-girlfriend; and then several by Mortensen himself - of paintings, poetry, and photographs. All are published by Perceval, a small press he runs with a partner. Then he pulls out a DVD of The Passion of Joan of Arc, a 1928 silent movie. He informs me that the original negative was destroyed in a fire, and that the filmmaker died believing his masterwork had been obliterated. But a complete version was found in a closet in a Norwegian mental institution in the early 1980s and was restored.

"You published this too?" I ask.

"Nah," he says. "You should just see it."

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

He gave presents every day.....An example of what Viggo Mortensen's participation in this Spanish project has been like is explained by Unax Ugalde: "When he knew about my big childhood fondness for Sugus sweets, one day I found on the floor of my dressing room the shape of my name all made out with sugus."

Unax Ugalde
The Court of Alatriste
By Rocío García - Translated for V-W by Paddy

El País Semanal, 6 August 2006

Before we part, Mortensen insists on buying me Blake's "The Complete Poems," marking the passage he read. A moment later, he's back with Pablo Neruda's "The Book of Questions" and Perceval Press' "Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation." I protest mildly, accepting his presents but telling him, "Please, no mink coat.''

King of the big screen a champion of poetry: Blake's poetry makes an impression on Mortensen
By Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
20 February 2004

Looking tanned and lean and sporting an impressive 'stache, he was soft-spoken and friendly. It didn't hurt that he came bearing gifts -- before I even sat down, he placed a shrink-wrapped copy of Exene Cervenka's book of collage, 666, on the table in front of me.

You Go, I Go, We All Go For Viggo
By Michelle Devereaux
San Francisco Bay Guardian
12 September 2007

To Viggo [Cindy] Sheehan sounded like the kind of person he admires: sincere, courageous, willing to question authority. But on the AM dial, she was getting flayed. Sean Hannity cast her as a nut job, an outcast from her own family, a bad mother. Bill O'Reilly called her 'a radical who does not like her country.'

Viggo has a credo he lies by: Go see for yourself if you can. So he packed a bag, flew from Los Angeles to Dallas, rented a car, and drove ninety miles to Crawford. He came alone and without warning and - as he almost always does when meeting strangers - bearing gifts: fresh vegetables, some bottled water, and a copy of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

The Appealingly Weird World of Viggo Mortensen
By Amy Wallace
March 2006

He… presents me with two large chocolate squares, one wrapped in pink paper that has a handwritten "Venezuela" on it, and another in orange paper that has a handwritten "Indonesia".

I am not sure whether he handwrapped them himself or whether they came from a hand-wrapped chocolate shop. I imagine him travelling the world with a suitcase of wrapped chocolates.

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

MJ: What's up with you and chocolate?

VM: I love it!

MJ: You also tend to come bearing gifts. Is that a product of the cultures you were raised in?

VM: Maybe. Maybe it's just a product of the way my family is.

Viggo Mortensen, King of The Road
Mother Jones
23 November 2009

A few days later, as evening fell, he returned to Valdeteja bringing with him an enormous bag of goodies for the town's kids who by now know that Viggo never arrives empty-handed. There, in Anabel's bar, he resembled Jesus among the children. Scores of kids cavorted around him, watching eagerly as Viggo pulled out shirts from his bag, then candies, chocolates and caramels that he distributed like Santa Claus to each child, all under the astonished and pleased gazes of the customers who by now consider the 'American friend' as one of their own.

Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
Diario de León
20 August 2006
Translated for V-W by Margarita

You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © ITV.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Found By: Iolanthe

Sometimes, when I’m looking for quotes, a particular word will leap out at me - one that I may have seen coming up many times in interviews. It then sends me off on a rummage to find them all. So, this week we are looking at ‘dreams’. The depths of winter is the time for dreaming, isn't it? Dreams are not only the mishmash of strange events that come to us in the night, but our hopes and desires, our half-formed plans and the stories we tell ourselves and others. Viggo once called himself an ‘optimistic dreamer’ whose dreams are closely bound up with art and story-telling. Films like Jauja, The Reflecting Skin and Gospel According to Harry all have a dream-like quality and the vision sequence near the end of Hidalgo inspired some of Viggo’s most extraordinary, dream-like photography.

“I am an optimistic dreamer who has never been imprisoned by fear.”

Viggo Mortensen, Beautiful Savage
Richard Gianorio
Le Figaro
26 September 2008

“ know, no one looks at the world like it really is. Everyone looks at the world like they want it to be. When it comes down to it, everyone is in their own 'dream world', we could become crazy if we thought of the world like it really is.”

Dreaming About Telling Stories
By Einar Fal Ingolfsson - translated by Rosen and Ragga
29 May 2008

“Often I remember my dreams during the day. When something particular happens, I realize sometimes that I dreamt of that before. For example it happened a few times that I heard about the death of a beloved person or animal and I was irritated by my reaction – I was less shocked or surprised than I should be. Then it came to my mind, that I'd dreamt about it during a recent night.”

I Have A Dream
By Viggo Mortensen - translated by CoCo and Techadmin
Zeit magazine (Germany)
23 July 2015

“I think that plans are not that different from dreams; they are like dreams with another [kind of] will, conscious dreams. People think that a plan fails or works, or comes to nothing, but it's not like that; plans change because we change, circumstances change.”

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

‘Dreams about becoming famous wasn’t what got me into acting to begin with, but the dream about telling stories.’

Dreaming About Telling Stories
By Einar Fal Ingolfsson - translated by Rosen and Ragga
29 May 2008

'Words were everywhere I looked, filling dreams, giving me names for everything. It was all I could do to keep up with them, catch a few as they drifted through me, fell now and then from clouds, from my eyes to the table, onto my lap or became tangled in horses' manes.'

Viggo Mortensen
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading
Houghton Mifflin

"Myth-making is a way of dreaming out loud or dreaming in public…"

Viggo Mortensen talking about Hidalgo
A Man of Many Parts
Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post

“There’s a lot of entering and coming out of dreams [in Jauja], a lot of transitions in the movie. It takes seeing it two or three times before you see all of these moments, from the first scene where the daughter grabs my arm once I give her the answer she wants about getting a dog, and she closes her eyes and never opens them again for the rest of the scene. I think that’s the first dream. By the end of the story, you don’t know if we’re being dreamed, or if the characters are all dreamed, or if it’s a dog’s dream or the girl’s dream. In a way, it doesn’t matter. It’s what it stimulates.”

Interview with Actor Viggo Mortensen
Nick Chen
London Calling
7 April 2015

10 o'clock, Thursday morning. Fifth day of shooting [Jauja]. Only a few hours after Lisandro Alonso has swallowed the last of a long series of Fernets with Coke, Viggo Mortensen, along with Fabián Casas, knocks at the director´s door. When the water for the maté is boiling in the kettle, the actor starts the conversation. Tonight Viggo has dreamt. "When the day is over, we talk about the film, then I think about it and I go to bed," he explains, dressed in a threadbare sweater with the colours of the national Danish team. "I dream a lot. Tonight for example, I dreamt about something that could later be useful for our story." Lisandro corroborates it: "He comes every morning before shooting and he tells me `Che, I thought of this for the film.´

Lost in La Pampa
By Pierre Boisson - translated by Ollie
So Film #10 (France)
May 2013

MP: There was a quote on Perceval's website from Edgar Allen Poe that I adore. It's, "Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."

MORTENSEN: Yeah. I think that's true.

MP: Did you choose to put that up there?

MORTENSEN: Oh yeah. Everything that's up there, I choose.

Viggo Mortensen - For The Good Of The People
By Elliot V Kotek
Moving Pictures
Winter 08-09

“…I have tried to 'capture' the 'ghost dance' as a nebulous memory, an ephemeral dream. It came to me like that, I took my camera and I only shot one roll of film."

Viggo Mortensen talking about Miyelo
A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
by Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine, 2003

A childhood dream?

He leans his head upon the hand: "Every child dreams of being some important person. You can be in the middle of a city or in a jail and imagine you are the first human being walking in this dark wood. Kids use their imagination this way." He speaks slowly, low voice, long answers.

Viggo Mortensen
By Bernd Volland Translated by JoannaP
Stern Speziel Biografie
April 2003

“This world is a dream we all contribute to, in one way or another. We are part of the dream, if we are aware or not, if we like it or not. These pictures are a part of my dream, of the way I exist and act in the world.”

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

'I wish life was longer. I wish that I didn't have to sleep. I like sleeping, and dreaming especially. But I wish sleep was a luxury, that I could just lie under the covers, listen to the rain but that I didn't have to if I didn't want to.'

The Inner Viggo
By Jenny Ewart
New Zealand's Woman's Weekly

You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © 4L Productions.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Found By: Iolanthe
Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

This week I was telling a friend about one of my Junior School craft traumas when a kid stole my knitting and unravelled it in the cloakroom. The teacher blamed me for not looking after it and my mum had to knit it back up for me to stop me crying. School days – they are not all merry and bright, are they? At least I never had to play the ‘ass end of a dragon’…

As an 8-year-old, Mortensen played "the ass end of a dragon" in a school play…

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

What did teachers write on your report cards?

Anything from "very poor" to "good" or "excellent." One thing a teacher did once -- I still have the drawing -- was sort of disturbing. It was an assignment to make a drawing with pencil and crayon and it was pretty complicated. It's in the woods and Little Red Riding Hood is meeting this wolf and there are flowers and different shades of green. ... And it has written on it in red ink, "Very poor." ... To judge any drawing by a kid and say that is not necessary. There are more constructive ways of making your point. Art is a very subjective thing. To deface the piece of work by writing on it is unforgivable.

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

When Viggo was 7, his parents sent him to boarding school in Argentina. "It was a strict school, isolated in the foothills of the mountains," he said. "Other than holidays, I really didn't see my parents. The other kids were miserable, always crying or wetting their beds. But I was pretty self-sufficient. So I guess it must have suited me."

Back in the saddle 'Rings' hero Mortensen is riding high with 'Hidalgo'
By Nancy Mills
Daily News
25 February 2004

Did you go to San Lorenzo matches when you lived in Argentina?

No. I would listen on the radio. I was pretty fanatical about it. At the time it was unusual, because we weren't a very good team. We were interesting, but most of the kids in school were Boca Juniors or River Plate or other teams, and then the year before I left, suddenly we won it all. It was the only time that it's ever happened that we had an undefeated season, so that was a big deal. All of a sudden, the day after [that], a kid at school said, "I like San Lorenzo, too," and I said, "Bullshit. You're Boca Junior. Whatever."

Viggo Mortensen - For The Good Of The People
By Elliot V Kotek
Moving Pictures
Winter 2008-2009

I was 11 when we moved back to the States. I couldn't believe the swear words, the slang, the music - all the kids were into Blue Oyster Cult and Grand Funk Railroad. I was a closet Carpenters fan. I'd sing 'Top of the World' to myself on the way to school, but when I got close to campus I'd shut up.

The Hot New 39-Year-Old
By Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine, 1998

I remember my first year of school when my family moved to the United States from Argentina, they had this thing in the morning: a pledge of allegiance to the flag. I didn't know the words and mumbled them. The teacher said: "You - you don't know the words!" That was embarrassing. After a few days I realised it was, "Liberty and justice for all". That's it. I know it now.

Before school started each day, the kids used to gather outside on this grassy sidewalk. At that age, the kids tended to be in groups of girls and boys. It wouldn't do at all for you to be by yourself. I would stand near groups of boys so it seemed to the girls, in particular, like I wasn't standing alone. I hadn't grown up with these kids. I was an alien life-form, that's what it felt like.

Viggo Mortensen - Letter To My Younger Self
By Viggo Mortensen
The Big Issue
3 April 2013

“I was 12 or 13 when a friend of mine encouraged me to be an actor, something that had never crossed my mind. I was then living in New York and didn’t know anybody. I went up on stage and read the first paragraph from David Copperfield. The only thing I heard before closing the book and fleeing from that inconceivable torture was ‘Louder, louder.’ And here I am!”

Viggo Mortensen: “The older I get, the more tired I get of Hollywood.”
By Rocío Ayuso
El Pais
8 October 2016

In high school, the shy kid began carrying a camera everywhere he went. Structuring his vistas within a viewfinder was a natural impulse. Already he had hopscotched through many disparate worlds, never lingering long enough on any to burn a permanent image. …..

Viggo Trip
By Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39
November 2002

‘A teacher gave me the taste for poetry. I like the discipline it imposes, I like the reign of precision and the perfect word.’

Viggo Mortensen: "Travelling is the best anti-war weapon"
By Yetty Hagendorf - translated by Donna Marie
Le Soir (Belgium)
2 February 2015

At Watertown High School in upstate New York… he was captain of both the swim team and the tennis team…

King Of The Ring
By Melissa J Perenson
Sci Fi magazine
February 2004

Unlike some classmates at Watertown High School in the mid-1970s, Viggo Mortensen wasn't convinced that the meaning of life might be found somewhere in the pages of J R R Tolkien's fantasy The Lord of the Rings. "I didn't read it until I got the job… and, in fact, what I'd heard about it and The Hobbit and all that sounded sort of interesting. But I figured it was just a bunch of gnomes and fairies and that kind of story."

On top of all that, "It looked like a pretty thick book."

Ready for Round 2
By David P DeMar, Jr
Watertown Daily Times
15 December 2002

What was a typical Friday night and Saturday when you were [at St Lawrence] as a student?

In the fall, I would like to go out and have fun with my friends. In the winter, I liked to cross country ski. Sometimes I'd go fishing, and I remember taking out canoes on the river. I'd sometimes go home to see my family, because we're not that far from the Watertown area. In the fall especially, I really liked to take a book and go somewhere, like we did today, and read, be by myself. When you're in classes all week, or in the dining halls, you're always around people. And I liked to get away from that and be by myself sometimes, when I had the time, which was on the weekends. And of course, like everybody else, I'd go to hockey games! I remember taking a lot of pictures, too. I would wander around a lot and pick up a lot of information that way. I wasn't in a lot of group activities. The groups I remember being in were mostly classes. I remember during bad weather or walking along the river, or being up late at night, it being very quiet.

Viggo Mortensen ('80) Remembers: A Walk Down Memory Lane (Literally) with the Photographer, Poet and Actor
By Macreena A. Doyle
St. Lawrence University
February 2003

'Now I see things in hindsight and what I learned in those years is what has made me who I am today. And, even though I recognize that I'm a rather strange guy, I don't think the end result has been so bad.'

Viggo Mortensen on growing up in Argentina
"I'm permanently dissatisfied"
By Amelia Enríquez - translated for V-W by Margarita
30 August 2006

You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Watertown High School 1976/Watertown Daily Times.

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Last edited: 25 September 2020 14:21:03