Viggo and León

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Viggo and León

'He called me once to talk about certain aspects of his character and history, such as Alatriste's birthplace. I had never detailed it in any of the five novels published up until now, but Viggo was interested in the fact. 'In Old Castile,' I responded. 'Could it be Leon?' he asked after thinking about it for a while. 'It could,' I responded. So then he went to Leon and walked about covering it inch by inch, remaining in each town, in every bar, talking with whoever happened to be in front of him. In effect, he finally concluded that Alatriste was Leonese. And he said it with such conviction that even I didn't question or argue the point. In that manner, traveling, reading, observing, Viggo filled himself with Spain; with our history, with the light and the shadow that made us who we are. And, in that way, in an astonishing process of assimilation, he finished transforming himself into a Spaniard, down to the bone. '

Arturo Pérez Reverte
El Semanal, July 2005-08-04
Translated by Elessars Queen




"I also tried to discover theCaptain's soul; that's why I went to León..."

The Desired One
By Ester Aguado, Women Magazine, August 2006
Translated for V-W by Graciela




"But of course he's Leonese!, Viggo wanted it that way and I haven't doubted it."

Pérez-Reverte: "I have no doubt about Alatriste being from León"
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno, Diario de Leon




In order to thank him, the people of Valdeteja, the village that, in his own words, had had a deeper effect on this American bohemian, will give him the title of Honorary Citizen [translator's comment: the literal translation from Spanish is Adopted Son, which is nicer, imo], and in a time to come, he will be given such distinction in a ceremony that the inhabitants will hold at the village. A small gesture for the one who also was kind to them.

Viggo Mortensen finds Alatriste in Curueño
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno, Diario de León, 20 March 2005




The most curious thing about this charismatic actor's personality is that he not only shows his pride of "being" from León in León, something very usual among those who want to boast about this title over here but seem to be ashamed of it in other places, but also in Asturias, Madrid, Salamanca, El Álamo or Tarifa he was seen signing autogrphs and wearing a black T-shirt in which you could read the name of León in big letters. Not even Fitur (important tourist industry exhibition) has done so much for this land....his presence over here has been a great help for the name of León to appear at every website in the five continents, thanks to pictures such as this one. Not even the UPL (regionalist party of León) ever dreamt of a better ambassador!.

With León In His Heart
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno, Diario de León, 18 April 2005
translated by Paddy




...Yanes talks about how Viggo is always looking forward to receiving news and things from León and being told anecdotes from there, and he points out that from the moment they started the shooting in Cádiz, Viggo has had the flag of León next to the San Lorenzo one, both hanging from the trailer window, and the music of that land sounds for many hours from Alatriste's caravan.

Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León, by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005




"You have to take into account,' he says, 'that Viggo is a cultured man and he finds out about the places he is going to shoot. In the case of León I know he has read a large number of books about that ancient realm, he knows its poets, writers, painters, its history and geography, and anything that refers to that land is followed with attention and kept.'

José Luis Pérez on Viggo's interest in León
Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León, by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005




'We were talking a bit more, despite I didn't want to tire him with questions that could bother him. Then he told me: 'First of all we are people and we should communicate. Everybody tries to do his job the best one can. So the fact that I am an actor and you are a tavern keeper doesn't imply that each one of us in our jobs stop being a person in order to become something we actually are not, however much fame or luck had favoured us. Ask me what you want, because I'll do the same with you'. We kept talking few minutes more. Then he took his keys, his cigarettes and left, not without thanking everybody for being so kind to him"

Restaurant owner in Valdeteja
Viggo Mortensen finds Alatriste in Curueño
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno, Diario de León, 20 March 2005
translated by Paddy




He doesn't object to a few minutes of easy talk, although time is running out for him to return to Madrid. Then he allows to take photographs of him on San Marcos bridge, staring at the snow-capped summits of the Curueño, he says goodbye and leaves.

But before I arrive home my mobile phone rang, and I heard Viggo's soft voice from the other side apologizing for not having time enough for a more extensive chat. That single detail defines him as an unpretentious person, far-away from those celluloid stereotypes who only care about their image, and never think about those who are near them.

Viggo Mortensen finds Alatriste in Curueño
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno, Diario de León, 20 March 2005
translated by Paddy




And last weekend, on the eve of the summer solstice, like King Elessar, Captain Alatriste went back to León to walk round its streets, taverns, bookstores and even to keep some promise, in solitude.

Returning to Leon after filming
Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León, by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005




When rumour had it that Captain Alatriste had returned, even the roe deer of Vegarada rushed to receive him. And the young ladies from the place, being dressed in all their finery, intoned that famous Leonese "jota"(tr. note: popular Spanish dance and music): "Even the ends of my petticoat/ are telling you/ do not leave. Do not leave/ stay here/ even the ends of my apron.'

Returning to Leon after filming
Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León, by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005




"See you soon, traveller of the world, Leonese at heart!"

Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
"I never imagined such an affectionate and multitudinous welcome"
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
Translated for V-W by Paddy
Sept 2006

Last edited: 15 February 2010 13:16:11