Filming 'Hidalgo'

With Joe Johnston
With Joe Johnston.
© Touchstone / Buena Vista Pictures.

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Filming 'Hidalgo'

"He wanted to eat a real locust," Johnston says. "The locust he eats is made out of sugar. He said, 'You know, I can eat a live one.' I said, 'Let's eat all the fake ones first. If we run out, you can eat a live one.' "

Joe Johnston on filming Hidalgo
A Man of Many Parts
Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post, 2004




"He's just a very simple guy with simple tastes; he doesn't like any luxurious things. I would try to get Viggo to have a decent meal and he would just sit there nibbling on a piece of lettuce, which upset me no end."

Omar Sharif
contactmusic.com
5 May 2004



'All that time I was in Morocco it was neat. We'd be out there in the desert. Everyone else would drive the hour, hour and a half back to town where the hotel was, and I'd stay out in the trailer on the set, alone. The dust would settle and it was quiet. It would get dark and I would wash up, make myself some food or whatever and put on these tapes and a bunch CDs that I got from people and different places like Prairie Edge. I'd play these tapes and songs, ceremonial songs, and I'd have the door open in the trailer and I'd be out in the desert, in the middle of the Sahara. I'd be like singing Lakota songs out there - it was cool! I knew I had to come back here.'

Viggo Mortensen
An Interview with Viggo
by Lise Balk King and Frank J King
Native Voice
January 2004




'The crew was a little surpised by the climatic conditions. I remember one time when we were trying to shoot in the Sahara, where you get these atrocious winds; it was hot, there was sand in the cameras. I heard everywhere: 'this is hell!' and, deep down in my heart, I thought 'this is a giggle compared to Lord...'."

Viggo Mortensen
A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
by Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine, 2003




'A couple days ago, there was this hail. And everybody's just sitting there, kind of setting up the scene with clothing from 1890 and a herd of close to a thousand horses. And the waiting is almost like a ritual, like preparation for a religious moment where something might happen. You have words for the ceremony, the vestments, and all the elements and you're hoping that something good happens. So it's still interesting, the group getting together and doing it.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
by Scott Thill
Morphizm 2002




"The dance had been performed once before in South Dakota, and now we were in the middle of the California desert trying it again, as a sort of mirage, a distorted memory. Just as they had done for the Wounded Knee reenactment, the dancers took their responsibilities in the ritual very seriously; there was an atmosphere that was created through the sheer earnestness of their effort. It transcended anything else that was going on with regard to the filming of the scene. When the dancers had finished and it became my turn to be filmed observing the dance, a pair of dust devils and weird crosswinds suddenly blew in on what had been a completely still day. As soon as the last take of the scene had been shot, the winds instantly and completely ceased, leaving everyone and everything calm and silent for several moments."

Viggo Mortensen on the Ghost Dance
The Man Who Would be King
By Scott Thill
Salon.com, 2003




'Digging up these people and these memories and sharing it, is a big deal. It's not just, 'Hey I got to be in a movie.' I didn't meet anyone that was an extra at The Wounded Knee set that seemed to be 'Hey, I'm just in a movie.''

Viggo Mortensen
An Interview with Viggo
by Lise Balk King and Frank J King
Native Voice
January 2004




As Hopkins in Hidalgo, as part of the team that worked to portray the Ghost Dance and subsequent Wounded Knee massacre, and as someone taking the opportunity to be outspoken about the personal and cultural consequences of the troubled history, Mortensen is a rare bridge. Viggo Mortensen the ikce wicasa (common man) can be trusted not to give out under the weight of the responsibility.

Native Voice Interview with Viggo
by Lise Balk King,
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
December 2003




'I can not believe that somebody can be so perfect. This man must carry a deep secret with him, or he has a skeleton in his cupboard, or something like that. Because Viggo Mortensen is the nicest, most artistic and most generous person I've ever met. And not only towards me, but he also has eye for the 'little/small people'. He gives you things all the time: his poems, paintings, pictures. I have to take all these things home with me to Paris.'

Omar Sharif
Source unknown




'I gained a tremendous affection for the Muslim people..... When I was in Morocco, they didn't reject us out of hand as Americans because of what our government is up to. The people were open-minded.'

Viggo Mortensen
Hidalgo: A Filmmaking Journey to the Middle East
By Zaki Hasan
Q-NEWS Magazine (www.q-news.com) April 2004




"Making Lord of the Rings was an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Mortensen, who made Hidalgo between reshoots for The Two Towers and The Return of the King. "But I have to admit I enjoyed making Hidalgo as much as I did those. I actually think this movie strikes really similar chords in the story it has to tell about tolerance and bias and having faith in yourself and perseverance.'

The man who wouldn't be king: 'Rings' star Viggo Mortensen is anything but regal
By Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
3 March 2004

Last edited: 16 February 2010 11:19:39