Viggo on 'A History of Violence'

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Everything that looks normal, in the end, isn't really. And like a lot of David's movies, at the end you say, 'Well, is anyone really normal?' - Viggo Mortensen

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Viggo on 'A History of Violence'

'It's like a great thoroughly satisfying and complex piece of music to me, this movie.'

Viggo Mortensen
Teen Hollywood




"This movie is a very unique and original piece of work. Cronenberg gets all the credit in the world for it.'

Viggo Mortensen
Rebecca Murray
About.com
26 September
2005




'His work in this is so layered and so subtle that it becomes what I think most great works of art are...universally accessible or applicable.'

Viggo on Cronenberg
Charlie Rose Show Interview, transcription for V-W by Chrissie
22 September 2005




Stories about quiet men who unleash their gift for violence to save their families aren't exactly rare in American movies. After reading the script, which was inspired by a graphic novel, actor Mortensen wondered why Cronenberg took the project on. "I thought it was interesting, but most directors would make an exploitation movie out of it and it might have been interesting to look at, but not very thought-provoking. Obviously, he makes thought-provoking movies, so I wondered why he wanted to do this one. I asked him immediately. He gave -- and continues to give -- interesting answers."

American brutality, Globe and Mail Cannes Review
by Liam Lacey, May 17 2005




'He continues what he's always done, which is taking people apart, almost like they were a machine or an engine, but now more taking their brains apart than their bodies, I suppose. It's more a psychological autopsy and the results are always a little disturbing. Not because he's disturbing, but because we are. As an audience and as a subject.'

Viggo on Cronenberg
Viggo Mortensen, Actor, poet, photographer
Philip Matthews
New Zealand Listener
March 18-24 2006




"...once in a while I'm rewarded as an audience member, like I think people have proven to have been by seeing A History Of Violence, anywhere that I've gone in the world to talk about it. They've been affected, they've been engaged and it's made them, in some way, reflect on their own lives, you know. It's rare that it happens, but every once in a while there's a movie like this one that really, really gets to you, you know?"

Viggo Mortensen
X-Press Online
8 March 2006




"It's a simple narrative on the surface," Mortensen explains. "The setting, certainly. And there are certain things that remind one of genre imagery that you've seen before, whether it's action movies or crime movies or Westerns. There are a lot of elements that look familiar. But it's kind of like the family itself. Everything that looks normal, in the end, isn't really. And like a lot of David's movies, at the end you say, 'Well, is anyone really normal?' "

Hurt's so good
LA Daily News
26 September 2005




'The Stall family is monstrous because it's too normal. That effort to make everything work well, of being extra careful...there's always a little power game. There's a great deal beneath what one appears to be as a parent, a couple, a son. The effort to conceal that is disturbing.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Other Mortensen
By Mariana Enriquez - translated for V-W by Margarita
Página 12,
20 November 2005




'What is interesting to me about this movie, and what it is saying about all the violence, is that violence is everywhere.

Yeah and I think anywhere in the world, you know. It happens to take place in the United States but anywhere in the history of humans and most other animals violence is a way of life. It happens.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen - Cannes Interview
ARTE TV, by Lionel Julien, transcription by Chrissie
16 May 2005




'I think in the end the movie says, to me anyway, violence exists. It will always exist. But as a human being you have a choice to reject it, in the end you do have a choice, and that's what it's about.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen - Cannes Interview
ARTE TV, by Lionel Julien, transcription by Chrissie
16 May 2005




"It's true to when returning to the character of Joey, that we had also considered that that he wasn't necessarily a very violent person, but it was his environment in Philadelphia, with his brother who was from the mafia. He used this period of violence to survive like one of those things he knew about from cultural pressure it's that which moulded him. So, from the outset we don't necessarily see him as a violent person, pathologically violent, but like a normal person formed by social conditions. That's not to say he is more innocent than Ritchie for example. Because he feels remorse, we can see the physical consequences, but also the psychological consequences of violence: on his family and on him."

Viggo Mortensen
FNAC Masterclass - A History of Violence
22 October 2005
Translated for V-W by Kaijamin




'Identity is another important aspect of A History of Violence. I play someone who's escaped from somewhere to become someone else and create a new identity. It is one of the basic acts of human existence that we create an identity. It's not a genetic thing that's given to us as an absolute like the colour of our eyes; it's something we are involved in creating as we live our lives by the choices we make.....If you accept that as a reality then you have to accept the possibility that you can create a new identity, not just with credit cards, but become a different person. I am happy with who I am but my character in A History of Violence wasn't.'

Viggo Mortensen
Ol' Blue Eyes is Back, by Marianne Gray
Take1
8 October 2005




"...at the heart of it, it's a complicated love story between Maria Bello's character and mine, and it is as it's called 'a history of violence'. But it's also a history of anti-violence, or of at least one man's effort to find another way to deal with his problems. And just because you want to change the way you are, doesn't mean it's going to be easy, and it certainly isn't in the story. But there's one thing that the story says that I think is valuable and true, and that's that it's never too late to change the way you look at the world, the way you behave, the way you treat others. Whether you're an individual or whether you're a nation, you can change your ways, you can improve always. And any relationship takes work."

Viggo Mortensen
X-Press Online
8 March 2006




'Tom doesn't go from wearing a white hat to a black hat....David's hope, like mine, was that his transition would be subtle and that you couldn't really fix exactly when you feel it happens because it's normal for people not to show what they are thinking or feeling.'

Viggo Mortensen
Interview: Viggo Mortensen, By Ingrid Randoja
Famous, September 2005




"I dunno, maybe I'm channeling some barbaric ancestor or something."

Viggo Mortensen on his convincing performance
E online
22 Sept 2005

Last edited: 28 June 2014 11:05:52