Viggo on Tolkien and Jackson

© New Line Productions Inc.

Viggo on Tolkien and Jackson

'Lord of the Rings is the same basic story that has been told thousands of times before. And not just in Europe. The same story has been told in Asia, Japan and by Native Americans. I don't think there isn't a place in the world that doesn't understand this story. I know the movie company was initially worried that Japan didn't have a familiarity with Tolkien's books, and Japan is a very important market for movies, but I was never worried about that.'

Viggo Mortensen
Hail To The King
by Lawrence French
Starburst #305, 2003

'In the end, I think that the most important theme in the story for Tolkien was the exercise of free will, choice. And even though Tolkien was a devout Christian, the cosmology of this story is like Nordic mythology, in that there isn't a promise of a heavenly reward for doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is its own reward, even if others are not aware of it.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Human: Viggo Mortensen
Pavement magazine #50, 2001

'In spite of how our means of communication have been improved throughout the years, today there is a medieval mistrust towards other nations and other people, from USA and vice versa. Therefore I hope that the movie will show that the road to unity exists. Because, as Tolkien says himself, nothing is born evil. The Ring in itself isn't any more dangerous than a knife lying on a table. It's when someone gets in contact with it that danger ensues."

The American Dane,
by Susanne Johansson
Translation by Majken Steen Thomassen
Berlingske Tidende, 2001

'In the end, it really isn't about only Frodo, or only Gandalf, or only Aragorn, or what have you. You can be a fan of any one of the characters, but in the end I think you end up being a fan of all of them.'

Viggo Mortensen
Veni, Vidi, Viggo
by Bilge Ebiri
Yahoo Internet Life magazine, 2001

RP: If you got the opportunity to meet Tolkien today, what would you say to him?

VM: I would want to hear him speak the elvish tongue, hear his accent and find out, how close our version is.

The Star Is Named Viggo
by Rolf Pedersen
M! magazine, 2001

'Peter has kind of dusted the book off and breathed new life into it, combined it with other stories, and given it a bit of his own imagination. He's revived the book for people in the 21st century.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Lord of the Rings: The Untold Story
By Ian Nathan
December 2004

" always, with any job I do, the other director is my own conscience. I felt a connection, as well as a responsibility, toward a lot of Tolkien's source material, particularly Nordic sagas and Scandinavian literature. I also looked at Celtic material ... samurai movies, certain samurai ethics ... even Westerns, anime characters..."

Viggo Mortensen
Holding Court with the King: Viggo Mortensen heralds the return of the renaissance man
By Gregory Weinkauf
East Bay Express
3 December 2003

"While Peter obviously cares a great deal for Tolkien's writing-otherwise he wouldn't have given so much of his life to it-what seems to have drawn him most as a filmmaker was the pure adventure aspect of the tale. The heroic sacrifice of individuals for the common good. All the breathtaking sequences-he really poured himself into those. The more I explored Tolkien, the more I felt I had two bosses: Tolkien and Peter Jackson. I tried my best to be loyal to both of them."

Viggo Mortensen
We Were All On an Epic Journey
by Jeff Giles
Newsweek magazine, 2001

"Viggo commits himself to a project with the same intensity as the filmmakers - which is rare for an actor," the director says. "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

There's a quote I really like from Aristotle: History shows us what was and is, and poetry shows us what could or should be. That's the function of the books, and that's more or less the spirit in which the movies were made. I wish there were more leaders like the leaders in this story, that lack arrogance, and [can] put the common good over the individual desire.

Viggo Mortensen
Entertainment Weekly
Special Collector's Edition
May 2004

Seeing a film is not something to be looked down on in comparison with reading a book. There can be millions of identical copies of any book, and yet the copy you hold and read is your personal doorway. It is the same when you go to the movie theater: you and the movie have a secret. It might even be a god-awful movie and you could still walk out with this little secret -- or a big secret -- inside you: a discovery that might stay with you for a day, for a month or two, even years. In those secrets we touch myth and confront universal issues, perhaps even draw new strength for our own lives.

They [the taking of the dead Boromir's vambraces] serve both as a reminder to Aragorn that he has made a pledge to Boromir and as a way of carrying Boromir's spirit with him as the remnant of the Fellowship continues its journey. In a movie, you can use such symbolism without comment: whether people consciously notice such a detail at the time or not is irrelevant. It still means something. And to the actor, it can be a powerful [secret] talisman.

Viggo Mortensen
The Making of the Movie Trilogy

'To me, the extended versions of The Two Towers and The Fellowship of the Ring are the legitimate versions. If I were to watch them, I wouldn't even bother looking at the theatrical versions, because the extended versions are a more complete telling of the story.'

Viggo Mortensen
Hail To The King
by Lawrence French
Starburst #305, 2003

Last edited: 22 February 2010 11:37:35