Viggo on 'The Road'

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Viggo on 'The Road'

"I ...had the opportunity to talk on the phone for a long time with the author of the novel, Cormac McCarthy. We talked about our sons. About our rôles as fathers too. And the more we talked the more we understood that the boy featured in the work is a universal son, who relates to every father."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen, Charming Free-spirit
by Manon Chevalier
ELLE Quebec
Translated for V-W by Chrissiejane
December 2008




'A concern that I had, initially, was, "How does it keep from being flat? Enough with the suffering already." But, you trust the story and there's so many things that are learned along the way, in the interactions with other people, the environment and each other. You just have to trust what Cormac McCarthy wrote. Because the script was a very faithful adaptation, you just had to trust that book and that story.'

Viggo Mortensen
Interview: Viggo Mortensen Travels THE ROAD
Christina Radish
IESB.net
9 November 2009




"The reason so many people have read this book," adds Mortensen, "is that it really struck a chord in America. The story is universal. Any parent that cares about their kid, has these feelings, these doubts, these fears, these concerns. What's going to happen when I'm gone? Is my kid going to be all right? If my kid gets sick what's going to happen? But the main one is what will happen when I'm not around."

Viggo Mortensen
Interview with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Contender
Emmanuellevy.com
3 September 2009




"I'm not saying the film will be better than the book, but maybe nearer to the bone, more brutal. There will be nothing there but the revelation of the characters and their feelings. The photography is magnificent, but it's not pretty to look at"

Viggo Mortensen
Première Magazine
By Gérard Delorme
June 2008
Translated by Chrissiejane




"No disrespect to Peter Jackson and what he's done-it's different, really-but I've never been part of a movie that has been more true to the book it was based on than The Road."

Viggo Mortensen
AFI Fest: Viggo and The Road
The Bloggomist: The Local Boy
Evil Monito Magazine
17 November 2009




"I was stripped down to the essentials," Mortensen said. "It's about character, about how you behave... when you have nothing left but your heartbeat and the heartbeat of your son."

Gina Doggett
AFP
3 September 2009




"It's all about what's present -- accepting things for what they are. It may be bad, but it could always be worse. You could always be dead."
After "The Road" Viggo Mortensen Looks on the Bright Side: "You Could Always Be Dead"

Viggo Mortensen
By Jeffrey Podolsky
Wall Street Journal
17 November 2009




What is the subject of the film for you?

VM: There is something profoundly spiritual in this journey. You realize that living to survive makes no sense: you search for nourishment, your fight to keep it, you kill those who try to take it, you kill people to eat them. The conclusion I reached, that it is the same if you have nothing, even if you have reasons to suspect everyone. You must still have some hope. Good is no longer an abstract thing. It means to choose kindness, compassion in the midst of fear, selfishness, distrust.

Viggo Mortensen - The Traveller
By Sophie Benamon
Translated by Kaijamin
Studio Ciné Live
November 2009




'My favourite line of the film happens to be in voiceover, where [my character] says that by the end, the boy has helped him accept his fate and accept the way things are and appreciate life. He says, "If I were God, I would make the world just so, and no different."'

Viggo Mortensen
Against all odds
Melora Koepke
Hour.ca
12 November 2009




"I finished the shoot - as you can understand if you've seen the movie - kind of exhausted. I felt like we'd accomplished something, like we'd touched on something. This movie made me go to places emotionally that had to do with life and death, hope and despair. People get old, people pass away, people get sick in your family, it's going to happen to you sooner or later. You don't know how, but it will. That's life, that's nature. And it made me just accept that more and not resist it so much.."

Viggo Mortensen
Finally Here: The Premiere of McCarthy's The Road.
By Nicole Durbin
Scallywag and Vagabond.com
18 November 2009




"It's not enough just to live more, to kill if you have to or whatever," says Mortensen. "Carrying the fire means being human. There is some ethical standard, some code of conduct -- it's a choice, not an obligation."

Viggo Mortensen
The Road
Jason Anderson
Eye Weekly
25 November 2009




"The landscape was so real, so gritty and hard to live up to," he said. "Against that you couldn't hide emotionally...It comes down to being naked from inside. In any character I want to find ways of coming out of hiding. Far more than any of my other roles though this was about revealing yourself from within, being brave enough to let it all hang out."

Viggo Mortensen: Nowhere to hide
By Richard James.
Inthenews.co.uk
16 October 2009




'...because it's not a special-effects movie in the sense that it was shot in real environments [in the United States], you can clearly see there are places in the world that already look that way, there are people living on the streets of every city as though the end of the world has already happened.'

Viggo Mortensen
Against all odds
Melora Koepke
Hour.ca
12 November 2009




'Everything depends on reaching the coast. And we get there and it's just as bad or worse. It's just as cold. There's just as little food. Just as little shelter or safety, and you can just quit and not even reflect on that, or you can just realize that the thing we kept looking for, which, in fact, we can be grateful for that illusion, because it got us there. It drove us on. It was just that. An illusion. What we're looking for, we always had and still have it. It's each other. Our both being alive. And taking care of each other. That's the thing. That's the most important.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen Hits The Road
by Jenna Busch
The Huffington Post
12 November 2009




'While he may not know exactly how he or his son can manage to survive, he definitely knows why it is worth trying. The simplest way to say it, "sappy" as it sounds, is that he understands, as does his son, that the impulse to be loving is reason enough to live on.'

Viggo Mortensen
ACTOR. POET. PUBLISHER. MAN.
By Amy Wallace
Los Angeles magazine
December 2009




The novel itself has very sparse dialogue, relying largely on McCarthy's descriptions to tell the story. I asked Mortensen whether the limited dialogue was difficult in the making of the film. "It works great for the movie because it's a visual medium. It's all about the emotion. It's a very good challenge for actors... A lot of times it's easier. You don't come across that many scripts that are well-written, so a lot of times it's better not to be talking."

Cinevegas Interview with Viggo Mortensen
By Jeff Otto
Reelzchannel.com
July 2008




"I think what's made this story so universally loved is because it's really about protecting your child, no matter what the circumstances. At its core, it's a love story."

Viggo Mortensen
First look: 'The Road' is fiction, but the bleak scenery is real
USA Today
7 August 2008




"It's an extreme version of what every half-way decent parent goes through, worrying about their children's well-being, that they will grow up to be adults and take care of themselves, so you can leave the world knowing your kids are going to be safe. It's more extreme here, but it's the same worry. If I go, this kid is completely alone. It's every parent's nightmare."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen: A Man Apart
Dave Calhoun
AnOther Man
Issue 7 Autumn/Winter 2008




It's not just a movie about a post-apocalyptic free-for-all, he says. Nor is it a movie solely about fatherhood.

"Although that was initially my entry point," he says. "Having been a father myself, and having had a son who was in some ways like the boy in the movie. But really, it's a film that asks: 'When everything else is stripped away, what does it mean to be human? Does it just mean taking care of your food and those few people you want to protect? Or is there some other reason to be around?"

Viggo Mortensen v the apocalypse
By Kevin Maher
The Times
3 October 2009




"When you take everything away, what's life about?" Mortensen ponders during one of his many tangents. "Do you just live to survive and kill if you have to and take care of your own and that's it? Or is there something more - being a good guy? Carrying the fire? If you don't examine that idea of what it is to be human, you can't confidently say at the end of the movie, 'I know what that means.'"

Viggo Mortensen Walks (and Talks) The Road
By Kat Angus
Dose.ca
15 September 2009




"It's a love story that's also an endurance contest," he explained, and quickly added: "I mean that in a positive way. They're on this difficult journey, and the father is basically learning from the son. So if the father-son thing doesn't work, then the movie doesn't work. The rest of it wouldn't matter. It would never be more than a pretty good movie. But with Kodi in it, it has a chance to be an extremely good movie, maybe even a great one."

Viggo Mortensen
At World's End, Honing a Father-Son Dynamic
By Charles McGrath
New York Times
May 27, 2008




"I've worked on other movies that involved physical hardships, but in this one I was in a survival state of mind, keeping myself hungry, thinking about the past. I've never been in a movie where there was as much pressure on an emotional level. It was difficult, which it had to be to work."

Viggo Mortensen v the apocalypse
By Kevin Maher
The Times
3 October 2009




"There is a strange wizened quality to my face in The Road that is beyond any make-up, and beyond any explanation," he says. "It happens in movies, every once in a while. You go further than you intended. There are looks on my face in that film that have only come from a great leap of faith."

Viggo Mortensen v the apocalypse
By Kevin Maher
The Times
3 October 2009




'I read the script--it's heartbreaking, and it's a tough journey, but, in the end, I felt strangely uplifted. I felt more aware and more focused on things, concerns about family, about the world, just a simple thing like being grateful to be alive. It sounds very, almost, trite, but that's where the movie takes you, in a way.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Hits The Road
By Roger Durling
Santa Barbara Independent
22 November 2009




'Even though I know the movie, backwards and forwards, having shot it, when I saw it the first time, it still affected me so viscerally that I needed to see it again because I wanted to then see the construction and the little subtleties of behavior. When you first finish seeing it, you say, "Well, I don't think I can watch that again." But, after a couple of days, it says with you and you want to see certain things again.'

Viggo Mortensen
Interview: Viggo Mortensen Travels THE ROAD
Christina Radish
IESB.net
9 November 2009




When I ask him where he'd like to be if the end was near, Mortensen briefly waxes poetic.

"My first impulse is to say I want to be in nature," Mortensen says. "By the sea, on a mountain, in the woods. But on second thought, it doesn't really matter where you are -- it's how you are. We forget what's important, because we're in this drive to keep our jobs, or be good parents, or acquire certain possessions.

"But all it takes is an illness or a terrorist attack or a hurricane to bring you back down to earth. And you realize: It's good to be alive, it's worthwhile being kind.

"It's a special thing when art allows you to come to that conclusion."

Viggo Mortensen travels the 'Road' not taken
By Joe Williams
STL Today
22 November 2009




'I love that line toward the end the where the father finds acceptance, with the voiceover straight out of the book: "If I were God I would make the world just as it were, no different." It's simple, but profound. That's the first step no matter what your situation is in life, how bad it is. The first thing you do is accept it. It's not ever over 'til it's over.'

Viggo Mortensen talks about finding hope in 'The Road' and if he'll do 'The Hobbit'
by Keith Staskiewicz
Entertainment Weekly
25 November 2009




"I felt similar in the end [about the emotional weight of the story], where you feel a deep, deep sadness, but there's also a strange uplifting quality. Yeah, we got to the coast, and yeah, it's not any better here--it's not any warmer, there's not any food, there's not any sun, the water's not blue, there's no sustenance. But we realize we had what we were looking for: It was us."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen, King of The Road
By Michael Mechanic
MotherJones.com
23 November 2009




"I'm an optimist. I think people are resourceful. I'd like to think that I would take the approach that when you're really up against it, you'd make the right choice, even if it's not the easy one," he says. "The most important thing about life is life itself, and that's what this movie gets down to."

Viggo Mortensen Walks (and Talks) The Road
By Kat Angus
Dose.ca
15 September 2009




Q: Did you come to any conclusions or reach any sort of epiphany after working through this material so rigorously?

A: It's always better, no matter what excuse there is for not being kind, to be kind. To be loving.

It's really about the here and now
By Gina Piccalo
Access Atlanta
26 November 2009




The film shows a very dark future for our planet. What do you think about that?

I´m a born optimist, and although sometimes I forget because I immerse myself in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I believe in what my character says at the end of the movie: "If I were God, I would make this world just as it is." In other words, even if I could, I would not change this world or this life for any other. Any story that makes you think, accept and be thankful for the life we share on this planet, brief as this could be, it's positive. I don´t believe that people are stupid or evil and would repeat the same mistakes. I believe in the evolution of the spirit.

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen Interview: "This film has made me feel closer to my father"
By Laura Sacksville - translated by Ollie, Rio and Sage
Cuore
13 February 2010




There's a question here for every viewer: could you, under similar circumstances, continue to behave decently? "I find that to be a really interesting question," Mortensen says. "I don't know until I am in that situation. I tend to think I would because I am stubborn. I might not know how to live as I should, but I would know why I should try."

Viggo Mortensen
One for The Road
By Donald Clarke
The Irish Times
8 January 2010




"The consolation is that The Road is out there. The consolation is that people come across it and say, 'Well, why haven't I seen this before?' And I did get to work with Robert Duvall. I think since Gene Hackman retired, Duvall is the only American actor who just keeps going for the truth. And to watch him do that from one take after another was an incredible experience."

Viggo talking about the poor distribution
The Mad Men
Tara Brady
The Irish Times
10 February 2012

Last edited: 19 July 2012 14:31:04