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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Last Week Kirsten Dunst observed how funny Viggo is and suggested he should do a comedy. I'm sure we all inwardly agreed because we know just how much humour he can inject into seemingly serious roles - those which sometimes call for light touches of irony or telling looks. As he said to Dominical in 2006, he often slips irony into his roles and certainly found the funny side of Freud. He may have never played in a comedy, but he does play comedy, from Hitch's constant vocabulary suggestions, to his take on Burroughs in On the Road and Freud's drier than dry observations.

"He's surprisingly hilarious. The first time I met him, he was reserved. It was in an elevator. I was like, 'Hi.' He was like, 'Oh, hi.' I learned later he was very shy. So I was nervous, even a little scared, to work with him. I thought, 'This is going to be intense.' Then I got the whole other side, which I don't think many people know. He should do comedy, I've told him that... I'm sure he wouldn't be happy with people knowing how funny he is."

Kirsten Dunst
By Ajesh Patalay
Harper's Bazaar
May 2014

'I've never been offered comedy and don't know why. But sometimes I subtly slip ironic touches into my roles.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Multi-talented Hero
Dominical, by J. A. - translated for V-W by NacidaLibre
27 August 2006

Cleverly, the actor likes to slip a bit of that absurdity into his characters, whether they are On the Road´s Old Bull Lee or the methodical killer from A History of Violence. "For me, in all serious films, there are moments of humour." In that case, wouldn´t you like to play in a comedy? "I don´t think they would consider me for those kind of roles," says Viggo, almost regretfully. "I don´t know why, but they´ve never given me the chance."

Lost in La Pampa
By Pierre Boisson - translated by Ollie
So Film #10 (France
May 2013

In a brilliant cameo, Mortensen gets Burroughs's flat, wry voice exactly right as he denounces Moriarty as psychotic, exposes how the English translation of Voyage au bout de la nuit bowdlerises Céline's original, and hilariously demonstrates his version of Wilhelm Reich's ludicrous, once fashionable orgone boxes for the control of psychic energy.

Philip French
The Observer
14 October 2012

Even though the Beats were expert at perpetuating their own PR (so much of their work is about how great they all are) they were, you know, just guys. Young guys who thought they knew a lot more about life than they actually did. (That is, except for the spaced-out sage William Burroughs, played for marvelous laughs in quick scenes by Viggo Mortensen).

Jordan Hoffman
7 September 2012

'I wanted to show another Freud, not the strict looking grandfather we all know, but someone in his fifties who, it's said, was handsome, funny and charismatic. How was I not to think of Viggo?'

David Cronenberg: "Nunca he ido a terapia, pero me parece una situación fascinante"
Rafa Vidiella
3 November 2011

'I realized from the research is that [Freud] was very funny. He doesn't crack jokes in an obvious way, but he found a way to slip that wit and that irony into things, and in some sense, I guess that character is the comic relief in the movie. The humor helped make Freud feel like not such an impossible task to play…'

Viggo Mortensen Wants the Oscars to Start Noticing David Cronenbe
By Kyle Buchanan
New York Magazine
22 November 2011

I have no idea what Freud was like in real life, so I have no idea how well Viggo plays the Freud, but he gives the character a smug electricity that makes every moment he's on camera pop. He's quite funny too, in a droll and sarcastic sort of way, savoring Freud's many witticisms. This is a Viggo you don't think of when you think of Viggo.

Joshua Miller
21 October 2011

'Viggo and I tried to find the comedy in it, as much as possible. That was fun. I've always been a massive fan of him. He's an impressive human being.'

Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender Explores A Dangerous Method with Movie Fanatic
by Joel D Amos
25 November 2011

'Viggo Mortensen is an absolute joy really, he has his work very methodically put together, he's very precise. But he's also got a great sense of humour, we had a lot of fun, a lot of fun doing our scene's together. The more we did the more fun we had (laughs). It's important as well I think when you're dealing with very heavy material and serious material, that you keep a lightness in-between takes. So when you come to the scene a bit more loose and a bit more relaxed. That helps you find the little nuances within it.'

Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender Interview For David Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method'
Flicks and Bits
21 November 2011

As an admitted Viggo fanatic, it was nice to see Mortensen play second fiddle in Appaloosa. Ed Harris is Marshal Virgil Cole and Mortensen is his trusted friend and fellow gunmen Everett Hitch. The way the actors play off one another is hilarious, with Mortensen's Hitch continually assisting his partner's attempts at reading any word longer than two syllables.

Most under-appreciated performances list
Brian Zitzelman
Seattle Movie Examiner
December 2008

Mortensen is funnier than we tend to remember, and he successfully pulls of Everett's jealousy about Virgil and Allie's relationship without pushing it into homoeroticism or farce.

Katey Rich
Cinema Blend
18 September 2008

….a perfect, dryly comic Viggo Mortensen.

Tom Hall reviewing Appaloosa
The Back Row Manifesto
6 September 2008

"Good luck talking someone into that: ' History of Violence , The Road – that guy? Forget it.'"

Viggo after the interviewer suggests a comedy
On the Road, signs of the apocalypse hit home
Johanna Schneller
Globe and Mail
27 November 2009

You will find all previous Quotables here in our Quotes Section.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Hanway/Lago.