Last week's Captain Fantastic Quotable got me thinking about Viggo's own childhood, which was also unusual and adventurous in its own way. And despite all the roving around and the rootlessness we can say, along with Viggo, that 'the end result hasn't been so bad'.
Viggo aged 8 with his father.
One of my first memories as a boy was realizing that animals die and therefore people do. It seemed very unfair to me and I'm sure that I traumatized my parents with these questions.
Viggo Mortensen: Film and Soccer Activist
By Horacio Bilbao - translated by Ollie and Zoe
27 November 2014
As a child he was a loner, which is unsurprising considering his peripatetic lifestyle. "I wrote stories and did a lot of drawing," he says. "It's why I'm comfortable being by myself and why I yearn for it at times.
Viggo Mortensen is lord of all things
24 May 2013
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
25 February 2004
"…I was always running away. I did that a lot. [Another time] when I was a child, about two-and-a-half, I crawled out of bed and across the road and crawled into someone's house on a Sunday morning. I was in the kitchen playing with all the pots and pans, and they called my parents, who had been calling the police. I think they said: 'You are missing someone, and he is here playing with our kitchen knives.'"
Sympathy for the devil
By Chrissy Iley
19 April 2009
'According to my mother I never went anywhere as a child without a pencil, and I drew all the time. Recently she gave me a notebook with some of my old drawings. I especially noticed one I drew when I was 7 - it was rather wild. On the top it said: 'Little Red Riding Hood', and then there were a lot of oil colours mixed together, almost abstract. I really liked it. But across the drawing it said with a red pen - and underlined: VERY BAD! Some teachers still think that is motivating...'
Viggo from Hollywood
By Poul Hoi
M/S (Danish magazine)
'One day when I was about 6 years old, I read my first comic without help. I was in sick in bed one stormy Buenos Aires afternoon. There alone, while the rain ticked against the window, I browsed my little treasure, admiring the drawings thoroughly, when suddenly I realized that I understood, more or less, what those "little balloons" were saying. I went back to the first page and began to read. It took a tremendous amount of effort and I don't know how much time - an hour or more, I suppose - but I read and understood the whole comic. When I got to the end, I was surprised and proud. And then I got angry because I knew that it wasn't the end of the story. It never is the end with comics. Like the story of this world; things never end. That comic was a copy of Batman from 1964 in which "The Green Lantern" appeared.'
Translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
5 January 2013
The sound of cars and buses passing by on half-flooded streets quiets me; it´s something that makes me remember with absolute clarity my childhood in Buenos Aires and long afternoons in the countryside. Muddy paths, the grey rampart that advances relentlessly and swallows the sky, the threat of something big, powerful, unstoppable. Rain is the universal music - along with the contribution of the wind through a forest or punishing an open window, the roar of the rivers, the sea.
If The Rain Gets Here
By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
9 October 2014
"I climbed this sort of cliff—I am sure it wasn't really very high, I was just clambering up. I thought it was really fun. Then I got to the top and I realized how high I was. I freaked out and I was, like, screaming and crying for my dad. He woke up and had to come and get me down. It was probably not very high but it seemed very big to me then."
Dr. No: Viggo Mortensen Has Made Turning Down Roles Into an Art Form
By Oliver Jones
6 July 2016
"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
When he was 11 his parents divorced, and he moved with his mother and two younger brothers to upstate New York, near the border with Canada.... "my brothers and I spoke only Spanish. But you quickly adapt. I somewhat replaced it with French. We were not that far from Quebec, so I [replaced] my football team with the Montreal Canadians hockey team, which has the same colours".
Viggo Mortensen's grand plan
Telegraph Men's Style Magazine
By Sheryl Garratt
26 March 2013
"We arrived in Northern New York near the Canadian border, and there were no Spanish-speaking people at all, one black person in the whole county, some French-Canadians, and no tradition of football. It was just completely different. But when you're kids, you adapt very quickly. Within a month or two, I knew all the swear words."
Viggo Mortensen on leaving South America
I've taken on too much...
By James Mottram, The Independent / UK.
23 October 2007
…as an adolescent, he felt comfortable behind the lens of a camera. Mortensen says he started taking pictures as a teenager, although he wasn't "really serious about it." For him, the camera not only offered a sense of control over his surroundings but a kind of veil to help him feel invisible from a world he found both intimidating and inspiring.
The Other Side of Viggo Mortensen
By Paul Young
"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
8 October 2016
"I didn't have friends when I was little that I know now - there wasn't any sense of continuity like that," Mortensen says. "But I got to see a lot of things and learn a lot of things. And I learned to rely on my imagination, and on myself."
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
'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