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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

In a recent article there was a lovely story reminding us that Viggo hadn’t only bought two of the LOTR horses for himself, but had also bought the white horse that Arwen rides for her brilliant stuntrider. A typically generous gesture, and his understanding of how important the horse was to her is part of the extraordinary relationship Viggo has always enjoyed with horses in film.

“There were actually three horses that I bought. They were up for sale once the movies were done. There were the two I’d ridden – a chestnut and then the big bay that Aragorn rides – but I also bought the white horse that Arwen rides in The Fellowship Of The Ring when she’s being chased through the forest by the Black Riders. The person who did that spectacular bit of riding was a stuntwoman who I ended up becoming friends with. I knew how much she liked that horse, so I bought it for her.

Viggo Mortensen: “I feel like ‘Green Book’ is more timely than ever”
by Alex Flood
5 December 2020

In the business, he's that worldly poetic soul who can do credible justice to gangland Russian, Sioux, or Elvish dialects. That guy who looks great on a horse.

The Great Dane
Men’s Vogue
By Phoebe Eaton
March 2008

“I've always liked to ride, and it sort of reminds me of when I was a little boy. When you're a kid, you're kind of fearless. You can get afraid of things, but you're not as conscious of your mortality or of getting hurt as when you're an older guy and you're kind of like, 'Well, you know, if I come off goin' full tilt...this is gonna hurt.'”

Viggo on riding bareback in Hidalgo
'King' Star Returns To The Screen, Riding High
By Todd Camp
Star Telegram
6 March 2004

I understand you bought Brego, the horse you used in The Lord of the Rings?

Yes, he became my friend, just like the other cast members. The guy who owned him wanted to sell him, so he said to me, 'I know you've gotten along well with this horse, and I'd like to see him in good hands, would you like to buy him?' I thought about it for a while, whether it would be practical or not, and finally said, 'Why not?'

Hail To The King
by Lawrence French
Starburst #305

"He did things on the horse that the stunt man had difficulty doing. He fell off the horse, he rode bareback, he jumped on the horse at a gallop, which is difficult to do, and he you know, he fell off a few times and he got knocked down and he got kicked a few times, but you know, he also got right back up and wanted to do it again. I think he knew that if there was anything that was really life-threatening, he would come forward and say, 'I don't feel comfortable doing this.' But he never did."

Joe Johnston
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
4 March 2004

There's a part of the body that we weren't aware of called the 'nacho'. In other words, it's sort of right in the middle, it's not your, uh, you know, up front and it's not your...and that got pretty sore. We got a nacho pad, but it was a little too late.

Viggo Mortensen on riding bareback
'King' Star Returns To The Screen, Riding High
by Todd Camp
Star Telegram
6 March 2004

"You know, every actor you work with, you ask them, 'So, how do you ride?' And they always say, 'I ride excellently.' Viggo says to me, 'I ride O.K.' He gets on the horse, and he rides better than me. That's what I mean when I say the guy has no ego problems. He does not exist on the Hollywood plane - do you know what I mean?"

Rex Peterson
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

Is it true that you and your British co-star, Zuleikha Robinson, could have been killed while shooting Hidalgo?

That was scary! We were both riding this horse, and it just took off and headed for this really high wall. I knew that there were trucks and equipment on the other side, and two huge storage jars on top. I was sitting behind Zuleikha, just hanging on. Somehow we stayed on, but Zuleikha lost the reins and I jumped off and grabbed them, and miraculously no one - not even the horse - got hurt. We could easily have been killed. Zuleikha was giggling - I think the shock hit her later. It wasn't caught on camera, but it would have looked like a great special effect. It was unbelievable!

Our Kiss Was Just a kiss
By John Millar
Hot Stars
27 March 2004

"I had no intention of buying a horse off of this movie. But with T.J. he was...I don't know, I just got to really, really like him. He's got such a unique, strong personality. He's a very small horse, you know, technically he's a pony. I mean he's about 14 Hands 2, I guess. And 14 Hands 3 and up is a horse and below is a pony, technically. He's a small horse, but very intelligent, very quick learner, for a stallion very relaxed on the set. He wasn't afraid or worried about the lights, camera, or anything. He was totally calm. You know that comic strip Andy Capp? That guy with his hat? I just think of him like that. He would just be there like, 'Whatever.''

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
By Spence D

It takes a thoroughbred star like Mortensen to make the bond between man and horses believable, and to keep Hidalgo from straying too far into fields of corn.

From hobbits to horses
Jennie Punter
The Globe and Mail
5 March 2004

One of his most recent books, The Horse Is Good, seems to fit in nicely with the relationships he has cultivated with some of his onscreen steeds. "The Horse Is Good was just kind of an exercise. It's just the small part of the results of an exercise that I embarked on pretty much as we started shooting, more or less. Which was I realized that I was gonna be in the saddle most every day and some days all day long. And that point of view is different than sitting here or standing or walking down the street. You're up higher, you're moving a different way, the perspective of the rider through the camera or holding it down lower to get the horse's point of view, with the landscape, the people, and the animals and all that. I thought it would be interesting to do a collection of images, 'cause we'd be in different places - the Northern Plains, U.S., Sahara Desert, the Wild West Show, going down the street, who knows where, on horses. And so that's what that is. So there is some direct connection, but it's also a little more abstract. I mean it was something that interested me on the fringe of doing this movie."

The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More
Spence D

The two horse team was getting a little fidgity. Viggo Mortensen walked over to the horse nearest him and started caressing its right flank slowly, and repeated it over and over, while talking to Renee, standing in the buckboard. The horse relaxed along with its teammate. .........

Appaloosa blog
24 October 2007

"Last week we were filming Hidalgo in High Plains, Montana, where there was no fence for miles; you could just imagine that it was 1890 or 1790," he says. "I was in the middle of a herd of six or seven hundred horses. I was really aware of the fact that very few people would ever get to be in such a place. Nobody in the world gets to be in the middle of that many horses, running as fast as you can." And where does that thought lead you to, I ask. He pauses. "Just, 'Don't forget this'."

The New Hollywood Male
by Charles Gant
Arena Hommes Plus #18

Mortensen arrives at the Stephen Cohen Gallery caked in mud, having just been riding T.J., who plays the title role in Hidalgo ….and then washing him and giving him a conditioning treatment. "We don't do that all the time," Mortensen says. "He's not a pretty-boy horse."

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Source: Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

“I can't lie to you, I had a lot of fun riding around on horseback…”

Viggo Mortensen
CBS News Interview
8 September 2008

You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © New Line Productions, Inc.