Film-Related 2008

Viggo Mortensen Brings The Law Of Appaloosa To Madrid

Source: La Butaca

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Image Ralf Pascual.
© La Butaca.
Appaloosa, proof once more that it is a great time for westerns, was presented in Madrid this morning by two of its protagonists, Viggo Mortensen and Ariadna Gil, who knew each other already. Surrounded by a good number of representatives from the media, the actor, always in a great mood, first discussed the novel that serves as inspiration for the movie. "Robert Parker is best known for his detective stories. Ed Harris got a hold of the book in Toronto, while promoting A History of Violence. He gave it to me, and I loved the characters, the dialogues, the I accepted to become part of the project without any hesitation."

Admitting he is a fan of westerns - though he expressed that "as usual, there aren't many great westerns"- he thought Ed Harris did "an amazing job, and when I see his version of Virgil Cole, I think that there are very few that can achieve what he does; it seems that he does a lot with very little. He reminds me of Clint Eastwood or Lee Marvin." Of course, the fact that in this case the director also stars in the movie helps a lot: "We had already worked together, and I've admired him for a long time; besides I think Pollock - his directorial debut - is a very good movie. I knew that, as a partner, he would contribute greatly in all aspects of the movie"

Ariadna Gil referred to Ed Harris as a "passionate moviemaker that gets deeply into each sequence, and that because he is also acting in the movie, he knows how you feel. He is very close and very enthusiastic, and I love the fact that he is not afraid of making changes as you go."

Image Ralf Pascual.
© La Butaca.
In the movie, the actress has a small role as Katie, "a small but complicated role because she needs to contribute all that she can," which stays away from the typical female cliché. She thinks that it is "wonderful that in this story that avoids rigid views, in which there are tough guys, of course, there are also elements from daily life." Mortensen showed enthusiasm about working with Ariadna, and he said that "she did us a favor by working in Appaloosa. Ed said he wanted an actress who spoke Spanish and when he said that Ariadna was the one he liked the most, I knew he had nailed it." However, she wanted to point out that "I had to try for the part just like everybody else, they taped me and I sent it, though I preferred to send other samples of my work. Then, when it was about to start, I received an e-mail from Ed Harris in which he asked me not to work on my accent, to leave it as it was"

Every time a movie that takes place in the Wild West makes its way to the screen,we tend to refer to it as an attempt to revive the genre. About this, Mortensen remarked that "it is always current. The thing is that movies were born with westerns, and between the First World War and the 60's, almost one in five movies were about indians and cowboys. This has changed because there are many more stories to tell. But I don't think it is a dead genre at all."

He was very enthusiastic about his next work, The Road, an adaptation of the book by Cormac McCarthy, and he said "it is very interesting and profound, complex and painful, but also tender and provocative." And about the much criticized Alatriste, two years after he played the mercenary created by Arturo Perez Reverte, he was very thankful to Agustin Diaz Yanes, with whom he wants to work again in the future, and whose latest movie I Just Want To Walk he saw yesterday as soon as he arrived in Spain. He said it made a really good impression on him: "I thought it was great; it's different from what you see not only here but also abroad."

It is interesting to note that Ariadna Gil did not find the process of moviemaking very different in the US. "Basically, it's the same," she said, "maybe the main difference is that they work a lot, they never stop until the take or sequence is perfect, regardless of the time or the schedule." Mortensen added that "maybe things are more civilized here in some sense, to put it some way. In productions like this one, in which the budget is not too big, you have to make the most out of every buck, which on the other hand, is completely logical."

Finally, someone referred to Mr. Mortensen's many endeavors, among them painting, poetry and music, mostly expressed through his own publishing house, Perceval Press. "I usually use the excuse that everything is abstract. That way, I can do whatever I want. And if you don't like it, it's because you don't get it," he joked.
Last edited: 6 December 2008 09:33:16