Viggo Mortensen talks directing debut 'Falling'; first look at family drama (exclusive)

Viggo News

Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Print View Link to this newsitem

Viggo Interview in Skylife Magazine

Source: Skylife.
Found By: Chrissie

Thanks to Chrissie for the find. Viggo is featured in the April edition of Turkish Airlines Skylife magazine.

© Skylife.
Viggo Mortensen made a slow steady climb up the ranks to become one of Hollywood's most reliable and in-demand talents. With a leading role in The Lord of the Rings, one the most beloved trilogies in cinema history, Mortensen had a wealth of opportunities open up to him, making him one of the most recognizable stars in the world. Barbaros Tapan interviewed him for Skylife.

Let's begin with Green Book. It was one of the favorite films of 2018. Was it easy for you to play the character Tony Lip? He was a unique character, and you got lost in him.

I was nervous at first. I was nervous because I am not an Italian or an Italian-American, and I didn't want to do a caricature or disrespect people who were that. I am also aware, as an actor, that there are some really good Italian-American actors and characters on television and in the movies in recent years. I was nervous about that. But there was no question the first time I read the script. I was just blown away.

What is really fascinating in this story is that it's about two people who may have never met in life, who may seem like polar opposites, yet we are given the chance to see them for who they really are. It's a nice message to give the world today.

I have been fortunate to have had a few good movies with good scripts. But I don't think I ever read an original screenplay that was that solid, that was that strong, that was that entertaining, well-structured, and whose dialogue was so sparkling. It was also a profound story and made me think seriously about history and about where we are at now. One of its strengths is that it doesn't tell you that you have to feel or think a certain way. It's just a great story about two people that existed. You walk out of the theater, I have heard this from many people, feeling differently than when you walked in -feeling a lot more positive, with a little hope for the possibility that individuals can make changes in society. It starts from just each encounter, how you behave with people and you don't have to be afraid to just look at someone and say hello just because you have a feeling that they are different, and you may not like them. It's that kind of story. And that doesn't come along often, and, in our times, I think it's valuable on that level too.

Have you ever met somebody who has changed your perspective on life?

I have met lots of people who have changed my perspective and not just authority figures -whether it's directors, movies, or politicians I have heard speak, but also people on the street. Cab drivers or people I have stood in line with and in the supermarket or at the post office. There are conversations you can have where you go, "Oh really? I never knew that." And all of a sudden, you learn something that you didn't know. That can happen every day if you want on some level.

© Skylife.
Have you ever been treated to nice presents in life? It doesn't have to be material things.

Good friends, companionship. That is important. I enjoy that as much as anything. It's nice to get a good book or something. But, there was a night in terms of the presentation so far of Green Book when we showed it at an African-American Studies class with Professor Skip Gates, a very important, very intelligent person, very respected authority in the area. He had seen the movie and it could have gone either way, he might not have liked it and he might have felt, "Well this is not accurate in my opinion," or it's not enough, or something. He was so in love with the movie that he asked us to bring it and show it in Boston to his class at the university. And the president of Harvard University came in and Skip Gates moderated the Q&A. It was a fantastic conversation, a kind of wide-ranging Q&A session with students from the area. It was a mixed crowd and it was really encouraging in terms of what we have accomplished and how accurate we have been with our story. That was a big deal and that, to me, was one of the most important screenings and Q&As and interactions with a crowd.

Green Book teaches us about overcoming prejudice. The '60s were divisive times, and the problem may not have been completely solved but we've come a long way. Can you talk about the artistic community at this divisive time and what it feels it wants to put out into the world in order to speak to its fellow citizens?

I don't know, I wouldn't presume to know what other people want to do. I think good stories are always important. The idea of discrimination and prejudice is a tricky thing and it has a life of its own. It's smart and it's intelligent and it changes. Stories like this, that are getting past the limitations of first impressions, understanding others, and being interested in others who are different than ourselves, are always going to be timely. To say it's unfortunate that things haven't changed as much as we hoped, that's unfortunate, but it's human nature. That's like saying death is bad. Well, death is for all of us sooner or later, so rather than pretending it's not happening or just think of it as this black, dark thing, we should accept that it's a part of life. The answer for me is to make the most of life because that is coming. And human nature is such that each generation needs to learn some of the lessons in this story. Each generation has to go through that process of learning and unlearning, that's part of being a human being. The moment where you stop being open minded, you calcify.

I always see you as a healthy man, drinking your tea or water. So it's an absolute surprise to see you eat all this food in the film. How much weight did you gain for this film and did you actually enjoy eating all this food?

At first, I really enjoyed it. It was great, it was fun. On the set as well, the food that we had to eat in the scenes was really good. After a while, I got tired of it because I realized I had to keep eating that amount just to maintain the weight. We started the shoot and sometimes I would come back after a weekend and I had just sort of gone back to eating normal for two days and Monday morning the costume people would say, "Your pants are a little loose, you need to pick up the pace and have a couple of more doughnuts or whatever, have an extra pizza this time." So, my technique, which is a horrible thing to do health-wise, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, was to have a big meal just before going to bed, you are not supposed to do that. But that was the only way I could keep it to that level. It depended on the day, it was like 40, 45 pounds. But that was just one part. I wasn't just eating, but also lifting weights and being a certain type of bulky body as much as I could be because it was right for the character.

It seems it was easy to gain weight. Was it also easy to lose it?

No. That was a lot harder and a lot less fun, actually. Not much fun at all because I had got accustomed to not just eating a lot but eating things that tasted good. For the longest time, nothing happened, and I was like, "Oh my God, am I stuck?" In fact, our director Peter Farrelly wrote me an email saying, "You must have lost all the weight by now," and I said, "No." And he said, "How much did you lose?" and I said, "Four pounds maybe."

© Skylife.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Found By: Iolanthe

Captain Fantastic is being broadcast on BBC 2 in the UK tomorrow night and although I have it on Blu-ray, I won't be able to resist watching. Which is just the excuse I need for some my favourite Fantastic quotes!

The clan's father isn't a superhero, but because he's played by Viggo Mortensen he's the next best thing.

Manohla Dargis
New York Times
7 July 2016

‘Viggo demonstrates the aspirations of the movie, what kind of movie are you hoping to make, and for me, I can have no better faith than in Viggo Mortensen.’

Matt Ross
Captain Fantastic: Viggo Mortensen and Matt Ross Interview
Jason Gorber
14 July 2016

“Getting to collaborate with him on Captain Fantastic is quite literally the best thing that's happened to me since my wife asked me to marry her.”

Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen To Star In Electric City's Captain Fantastic’
By Mike Fleming Jnr
20 February 2014

Viggo Mortensen gets the role he may well have been born to play, not as a superhero, but as a super-dad determined to raise his kids on his own terms.... The inspired choice of casting Mortensen, a natural Papa Bear, who taps into both his physical strength and spiritual gentleness.

Peter Debruge
23 January 2016

Mortensen, looking his most mountain-man handsome, is winning and charismatic, walking on the knife's edge between principled and unhinged.

Brian Moylan
The Guardian
31 January 2016

The director sent Mortensen a huge box of books of recommended reading, including texts by Tom Brown, the renowned naturalist and author of Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival; linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky; and Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist and writer Jared Diamond, all of which he felt Ben would be intimately familiar with. “I thought that was a great way to frame some of the knowledge that this family would have, Ross says. “It turned out Viggo had read all the books already.”

Cannes Press Kit
May 2016

“...we had this two-day, one-night wilderness survival camp, with just the six of us kids and a guide, she said. “We each were given a knife and had to figure out how to survive. We had to track down our food, purify water, build a shelter. I love being outdoors, but this was pretty extreme.”

“We were building fires because in the forest it was so incredibly dark, Isler said. “All of a sudden, we heard these sounds and saw this shape coming toward us through the forest. It was Viggo, who said he wanted to bring us beef jerky and dried cherries. And we were all like, How in the world did you find us?’ ”

Tulsa teen actress Samantha Isler talks about her role in 'Captain Fantastic'
By James D Watts Jnr
Tulsa World
29 July 2016

‘I like gardening and I grow my own vegetables... I could say to Matt, If it's this time of year, this is how big the vegetables would be. This is what would grow in such a small clearing.” All those things you only see in passing, but it was important to him and to me that the way this family lives be completely credible.’

Viggo Mortensen goes 'extreme' in 'Captain Fantastic'
Josh Rottenberg
LA Times
30 June 2016

‘For Ben, you can alternate between what a great father and this guy's a maniac.’

Viggo Mortensen Goes Green: ‘I Trust Hillary About as Much as I Trust Donald Trump’
Marlo Stern
The Daily Beast
16 July 2016

He looks like the kind of guy who, yes, would worship Noam Chomsky, but he also looks like the kind of guy who would eat him for breakfast. It’s the ruggedly paradoxical, gentle-but-brute presence of Viggo Mortensen, more than anything else, that makes Captain Fantastic a twisting Rubik's Cube of blue and red.

Owen Gleiberman
13 July 2016

Making it endlessly watchable is Viggo Mortensen, here in his fully bearded, hippie-Viking mode.

Stephen Whitty
8 July 2016

“We rented a hotel room for him, but he never stayed there. We just knew he was in the forest somewhere. That kind of commitment really shows in his work.”

Producer Lynette Howell Taylor
Viggo Mortensen
Cannes Press Kit
May 2016

When he appears, caked in mud, looking like a kind of eco-Rambo, splashing barefoot through a river and cutting the heart out of a deer, you'll be thinking: Well, that's just Viggo Mortensen's life, isn't it?

Wild man Viggo Mortensen lets it all hang out in Captain Fantastic
Neala Johnson
Herald Sun
8 September 2016

“Just because it's not possible to be a perfect dad or to be Captain Fantastic, that doesn't mean it's not worth trying.”

In Captain Fantstic, Viggo Mortensen found more than a modern-day Mr. Mom’
By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
15 July 2016

…the movie truly belongs to Mortensen; fierce and tender and tremendously flawed, he's fantastic.

Leah Greenblatt
Entertainment Weekly
7 July 2016

You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Wilson Webb/Bleecker Street.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Found By: Iolanthe
Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

As a little Easter Treat, this week is Anecdote Week. Nothing short or pithy (or new) here! All of these are stories about encounters with Viggo and they are all longstanding favourites of mine.

In the diner, he asks for the time. (He doesn't wear a watch says. Ninety minutes later, we pull up to the departure gates at the airport. I begin to say goodbye. But no, Mortensen is coming in with me. Way earlier in the day, in our first ten minutes together, I mentioned that I forgot my driver's license and that some drama ensued at LaGuardia Airport. He's coming in with me to make sure I get on my flight. He thinks maybe he'll know one of the TSA agents, but when we get to security, he knows no one. Nor do they know him.

The TSA cop wants to know what I was doing in Syracuse for just eight hours. She thinks I'm a drug dealer. At this, Viggo starts to laugh. I tell her I'm a writer and had to interview someone. "Huh." She looks Mortensen up and down. "Are you famous or something?"

On the other side of the security rope, Mortensen couldn't be happier
Why Viggo Mortensen Is Off the Grid
By Lisa DePaulo
25 May 2016

A really nice box-office clerk (I’m not naming names) at a downtown Madrid theater discovers that Viggo Mortensen, whose girlfriend, a famous Spanish film star, was acting in a version (very poor, to be sure) of a famous play which was playing right there, has come to buy a ticket.

Quite possibly, Mortensen could have asked his partner for an invitation and that would have been that. Instead, he insisted on paying like any regular guy. The box-office clerk recognised him, and smiling, gave him a guest ticket. “How much do I owe you?” said Mortensen in his cheerful Argentinian accent. “No, no, nothing, you are invited,” answered the box-office clerk. The Hollywood star thanks her cordially, goes, and ten minutes later returns with an ice cream for the box-office clerk! He insisted that she should take it, although she said she was on a diet, so he sweetened her afternoon. Anyway, when I grow up, I want to be Viggo Mortensen.

Where I said Viggo (Mortensen), I say Diego (Alatriste)
By Juan Luis Sánchez - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
25 November 2011

An interesting photo made by Viggo Mortensen. We were shooting a very rarely photographed "Ghost Dance" by our amazing tribe members who participated in the film. Viggo, a renowned still photographer, had forgotten his camera that day and asked our unit stills photographer, Richard Cartwright, if he might borrow a camera and some color neg film. The unit photographer gave Viggo his Hasselblad panoramic camera... the 15 perf 35mm version. Viggo snaked around the set with the shutter open and he was amazing to watch. His movements were very similar to that of the Native American Ghost Dancers and he captured these incredible handheld abstract time exposures. Absolutely amazing. Fast-forward about 6 months and my phone rings. Viggo is on the other end and invites me to a gallery show featuring some Native American photos, music and poetry that he has authored during the making of "Hidalgo". When I arrive at the gallery, I see the show is entirely composed of marvelously printed images from the ghost dance... amazingly saturated and 8 feet wide. Stunning! At the show, I run into Richard, who loaned Viggo his camera to shoot these same stills. I ask him; "Did Viggo borrow only one roll of film?" Yes... only a single roll. Well, the show was comprised of 16 photographs that were double wide (15 perfs instead of 7) which meant that the collection represented nearly every photo that Viggo shot that day. 16 of the 18 total exposures from the single film roll. Mind blowing.

Shelly Johnson, Hidalgo cinematographer
23 March 2017

Viggo Mortensen's temporary headquarters during the Toronto Film Festival were bare except for one corner, where there was a sculpture assembled from a plastic grocery-store bag draped over a tripod.....While Mortensen used the restroom, I tried to decide if the bag-on-tripod sculpture was a comment on our throwaway culture or a meditation on the relationship between art and reality. Turns out it was his luggage.

"Want to see my luggage?" Mortensen asked, emerging from his hand-washing and following my gaze to the "sculpture." "Let's see what's in here," he added, removing underwear, several T-shirts - one with fishing records on it, another emblazoned with "Bring Our Troops Home" - and a United Nations flag from the bag. "I travel light."

Renaissance man jousts with career-changing role
By Chris Hewitt,
Twin Cities
28 September 2005

Even Mortensen's memories of early childhood are deeply spiritual. He tells me about the time he crawled into the woods and fell asleep. "I was sleeping under a tree, and it was very peaceful," he says. "And then a dog started barking, and that's how my parents found me."

You are always escaping, I say.

Yeah, he says. He calls his mother - on my cell phone, because he doesn't have one - to double-check his recollection. "Hi, it's Viggo. Sorry to be calling so late," he says. "Oh shit. You're in the middle of it? That's funny. Is it the tape? [She was watching a tape of The Two Towers.] O.K., sorry, it's just a quick question and then I'll let you get back to what you're doing. Remember there were a couple of times I ran away? And the time the dog came and found me in the woods? How old was I then? About one and a half. O.K. But, anyway, the dog came and found me and I was sitting under a tree? Happy? Sleeping, right?"

Big look of consternation.

"I was sitting in the middle of the woods crying? I thought I was sleeping. Are you sure?"

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

Bloom tells a story that occurred when the Rings crew returned to New Zealand in the summer of 2002 for sound dubbing and pickups for The Two Towers. "I flew over just to visit Viggo," says Bloom, who had heard that Mortensen was organising a reunion dinner. He, Mortensen and Henry, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler (who plays Arwen), and members of the crew took a bus to the countryside. After dinner, Bloom and Henry went for a walk and noticed how beautifully the moon was shining on a nearby river.

"We ran back and said, 'Everyone's got to see this.'" Bloom recalls. "I was having a Viggo moment - running out, getting people to come and check out the moon." Some decided to wade into the river, but Mortensen suggested the more perilous task of crossing the river. "I'm like, 'F*** off,' and he says, 'Come on.' So were barefoot, waist-high in water, walking on these little rocks to get to the other side and I'm doing it because I'm an idiot and I'm following his lead. Because he's an idiot. And because he's amazing," Bloom laughs. "I can't believe how much this is going to make it sound like I'm in love with the guy."

Orlando Bloom
The Hero Returns
by Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

One last thing that I wish to report is a small anecdote concerning someone. One of my charming girlfriends, attached to the press core assisting all of the DVDrama personel, yesterday was herself helped by a hero and not the least of which since it was Mr. Viggo Mortensen, alias the sensual Aragorn of the Lord of the Rings, about whom we are still having numerous fantasies since the first showing of Peter Jackson's trilogy. Present in Cannes to support David Cronenberg's film, A History of Violence, in which he proves once again his immensity talent, he went to the private evening gathering that followed the premiere screening, which was exactly where my girlfriend was, whose dress suddenly caught fire as she walked down the centre of an avenue edged with small candles. An accident which could have transformed itself very quickly into a catastrophe if the courageous Viggo hadn't intervened immediately, gently throwing himself on her to help extinguish the first flames that could have become a conflagration. Reassuring and concerned he next took lengthy care of her. After this summer the King of Tolkien, Viggo, is today the King of Cannes…

Viggo the Hero
DVDrama, Cannes Film Festival Report
17 May 2005

I order a margarita. He orders a whiskey and a beer. The waiter sees a notepad on the table and his celebrity antennae pop up like Ray Walston’s extraterrestrial ones in My Favorite Martian.

”So just who is interviewing who?” the waiter asks us. This is a formality. He’s pretty sure that this is the guy from The Lord of the Rings. I start to reply, but Mortensen holds up his hand. “She has just set the world record for the longest distance windsurfed by a human being,” he says, tilting his head in my direction.

”No!” the waiter gasps.

”She windsurfed from Hawaii to the mainland,” he continues. “Sure, there was a boat that followed her, and she slept at night, but still. That’s what, how many miles?” He looks at me.

”Um, thirty-seven hundred?” I say. I have no idea.

”And not even a man has done that yet,” Mortensen tells the waiter. “Isn’t that cool?”

The waiter asks me to sign a menu.

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

We wander our way to the Japanese garden, where the cherry blossoms bloom and sit on a steep grass bank. As is his wont wherever and whenever possible, Viggo wears no shoes. He spots an oval-headed balding man, with wisps of gray hair, walking with two younger women.

"Is that Arthur Miller?" he whispers. "Wait till we see his face."

We watch, and even before we see his face, we agree that there is something about the way this man walks that is not the way we somehow know Arthur Miller would walk. And the women are somehow not the women Arthur Miller would walk with in a Japanese garden.

"Let's just say it was," Viggo says, and by this I don't think for a moment he is suggesting that we should conspire to lie about it. Just that, with some willpower and a creative refusal to join the dots and draw a line we will no longer be able to cross, we can delay even this small disappointment and keep alive our moment in the park with Arthur Miller a little while longer.

The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine, 2004

You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Cinematografo.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Viggo at GQ Italia Video

Found By: Eriko
Categories: Magazine Shots

Our thanks to Eriko for sourcing Viggo's GQ Italia photoshoot video clip.

© GQ Italia.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Your April Reminders

Categories: Calendar: Viggo

Better late then never!

Click on image to enlarge.

© Images © Getty.

Display options:
Order by:        
Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Last edited: 15 May 2019 09:08:43