Viggo’s interaction with journalists is always fascinating. Years of magazine and newspaper articles have given us a motley picture of interviews taking place in greasy spoon cafés and coffee shops, spilling over into hotel lobbies, car parks... traffic light stops... phone calls... In fact journalists discover that an interview with Viggo is hardly ever over when they think it is. Along the way there are gifts and a glimpse that the artist in him is clearly never switched off.
© Benoit Sauvage.
Viggo Mortensen is, besides a great actor, an inexhaustible conversationalist, so full of curiosity that he doesn’t hesitate to occasionally take the role of the interviewer.
The Dark Side Of The Hero
By Walder & Castro - translated by Graciela, Remolina and Zooey
Marie Claire (Spain)
The voice on the phone is husky, familiar, and just a little menacing. “I was told to call this number,” the speaker says. I give a little shudder before realising it’s Viggo Mortensen, calling as planned to talk about his new film, The Two Faces of January. Phew.
The many faces of Viggo Mortensen
By Karl Quinn
Sydney Morning Herald
5 June 1014
In conversation, Mortensen doesn’t indulge in niceties. Doesn’t do small talk. But get him going on football, or his about-to-be published Spanish-language poetry collection, or indeed Green Book, and you can easily lose 10 minutes to his enthusiastic observations and tangential musings. Attempts to redirect his thoughts are about as effective as trying to stem the flow of a raging river using an ironing board.
These verbal deluges don’t derive from a feeling of self-importance, or of high-mindedness, but of generosity. He is trying to answer my questions as fully and considerately as he can – to a fault.
Viggo Mortensen: intellectual nourishment in a world of artery-clogging culture
By Dan Masoliver
20 December 2018
Viggo Mortensen is pressing me to eat a croissant from a large basket sitting on a table in front of him. It is certainly the right hour for them – most actors would draw the line at 8.30am interviews – but whoever imagined that arthouse cinema's most visibly rugged outdoors man would start his day with effete French pastries? This is the man whose chosen set souvenir from Lord of the Rings was his horse! He looks relieved when I take one; nobody need now be embarrassed.
Viggo Mortensen gets dirty to play a 'wolf dad' in Captain Fantastic
By Stephanie Bunbury
Sydney Morning Herald
2 September 2016
He might have trouble receiving praise, or dishing it out to himself. He's proud of having worked on Gus Van Sant's 1998 remake of Psycho, but when I tell him I adored the film, he seems unsure.
"You did?" he says suspiciously.
It becomes clear precisely how much Mortensen values his work when I leave - or rather, after I have left. I'm crossing the hotel lobby when he appears out of nowhere, still barefoot, still nursing his pot of maté on its tiny saucer.
"I was looking for you," he says intently, drawing me to one side. What has caused him to race down from his suite, probably giving several PR assistants heart attacks in the process, is the urge to impress upon me that one director has inspired him more than any other he has worked with - Philip Ridley, the British film-maker who cast Mortensen in his Lynchian adult fairy-tales, The Reflecting Skin (1990) and The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995).
"That man will never sell out," he enthuses, "because his vision is unique."
Viggo Mortensen: A Method Actor in Middle-Earth
By Ryan Gilbey
14 December 2001
Out in the parking lot, he stops at his truck - a black pickup he's borrowed from one of his brothers - to retrieve a final present: a red rubber bracelet memorialising fallen firefighters. He hands it to me, then says goodbye.
I'm right behind him, waiting to pull into traffic, when he jumps out and motions for me to roll down my window. There's something interesting on the radio, he says, urging me to turn it on. I can hear it coming from his speakers. It's AM talk, and it's playing loud.
The Appealingly Weird World of Viggo Mortensen
By Amy Wallace
It was a relaxed, almost flower-powered, Viggo Mortensen, complete with bare feet and decorated wrist bands, that strolled into his top-floor apartment at a high up Melbourne hotel.
Put it down to his personality - though softly-spoken, it's immediately obvious, since he makes a point to check your tape recorder is recording properly before speaking, that he's one heck of a nice guy...
Interview: Viggo Mortensen
By Clint Morris
8 March 2006
When I called him in July to interview him for The Progressive, he had returned from four months' shooting the forthcoming Spanish historical epic, Alatriste. He sounded exhausted, as though he could barely hold the phone, but when we started talking about the war in Iraq, the Bush Administration, and the role of actors and artists in mainstream political discourse, he didn't feel like sleeping. Eventually, I had to tell him I was tired.
Two days later, he called back. He wanted to clarify a few things he'd said and to answer more questions. And he tried me a few times after that. We spoke one final time in the wake of Katrina. I might have flattered myself to think one of the best-looking Hollywood leading men liked the sound of my voice. But that clearly wasn't the case, since he did most of the talking.
Viggo Mortensen Interview
By Nina Siegal
...we met at Callahan's - a small greasy spoon perfectly suited to the artist's genuine unpretentiousness - on a sunny day in Santa Monica....During our conversation, oblivious to the flustered waitress tripping over herself, Mortensen makes obvious his obsession with the ordinary as he breaks to explain, for example, why the green countertop reflecting fluorescent light onto the cherry-red Coke machine in the background would make the perfect picture. "I'd take it right now if I had my camera," he lamented.
Things Are Weird Enough
By Shana Nys Dambrot
Juxtapoz magazine #19
It somehow seems ironic that Viggo Mortensen, virtuoso bad boy, wants to meet at the Snow White Coffee Shop, and now sits beneath a looming portrait of Prince Charming.
The Virtuoso Bad Boy Takes a Gentlemanly Turn in The Portrait of a Lady
By Jodie Burke
UK Premiere Magazine
We meet at a coffee house in Santa Monica, where he's already upstairs with a glass of iced coffee and a notebook. Beside him rests a box, overflowing with sheets of rumpled paper and picture frames, much like one would find in an attic, or on the neglected shelves of Christmas decorations (his manager had asked me if he could make a contribution to the magazine, to which I gave an unqualified 'yes').
'I don't know what you're looking for,' he says, 'but I brought a few things to show you.'
By Craig Clevenger
Fond Affexxions #5, Winter Thaw 1995
The first thing Viggo Mortensen does after shaking my hand is to press a CD into it. Time Waits for Everyone, it's called; 18 tracks of Mortensen's moody compositions for solo piano.
In addition to acting in back-to-back films by David Cronenberg, Mortensen is a published poet, a painter and photographer with exhibitions next year in Iceland and Denmark, the founder of a small publishing house, Perceval Press, and (after listening to the disc, I find) a decent musician.
When I ask how he keeps all these interests going along with his acting career, he answers: "Sometimes it's tricky; I just barely meet deadlines."
No wonder the press loves this guy.
Multi-talented Mortensen Prepares For Worst, Hopes For Best
By Chris Knight
9 September 2007
CanWest News Service
In the diner, he asks for the time. (He doesn't wear a watch he says. Ninety minutes later, we pull up to the departure gates at the airport. I begin to say goodbye. But no, Mortensen is coming in with me. Way earlier in the day, in our first ten minutes together, I mentioned that I forgot my driver's license and that some drama ensued at LaGuardia Airport. He's coming in with me to make sure I get on my flight.
Why Viggo Mortensen Is Off the Grid
By Lisa DePaulo
25 May 2016