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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

A few weeks ago, we took a look back at A Walk on the Moon. This week I thought we’d look at another of Viggo’s pre-LOTR films, A Perfect Murder. Like AWOTM, he plays an irresistible lover, and as a bonus we have a heap of original Viggo art thrown in for good measure. When the director wanted to buy in art for David Shaw, Viggo – being Viggo – decided he would do it all himself…





“Normally I think it’s an extreme lack of ideas to make re-makes,” Viggo Mortensen says, “but on the other side – when you can make “Hamlet” over and over again why not Hitchcock?”

Nice And Sensitive Movie-Star
By Susanne Johansen - translated by Majken
Berlingske Tidende
10 October 1998




'I played a painter and I needed to have all of this artwork around me, so I asked if I could do some paintings myself. I just went crazy. I couldn't sleep. I did about 45 paintings in two weeks.'

Viggo Mortensen on A Perfect Murder
The Hot New 39-Year-Old
by Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine, 1998




“If it hadn't been for the role in A Perfect Murder I would have never painted seriously. I used to make some sketches every once in a while, nothing more.”

The Painter Hero
By Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan
CIAK
March 2002




'All three of the main characters in A Perfect Murder are ambiguous,' he warns. 'At my first meeting with Gwyneth, I took two photographs of her. I used both of them for the main artwork in Murder. It helped me to believe in my character.'

Versatile Viggo
By Louis B Hobson
Calgary Sun
5 June 1998




'...I'm surprised they let me do that, actually. There was just a little time before we were going to start and I just asked, "What if I did this myself? I showed them a couple of small samples and they said sure if I made this bigger and I said OK. So it was one of those things where you're at a job interview and they say can you speak Chinese? Because if you can speak Chinese you've got the job. And, of course, you go, "Yeah sure. You'll water ski or whatever. Then, you just figure you'll figure out how to speak Chinese between now and next Wednesday. Well maybe it's not that extreme... I like to draw and stuff but the reason they used photography in it was because that was something that I did know and I had a certain stock pile of images I could play with. That helped!'

Viggo Mortensen on doing the paintings in A Perfect Murder
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
by Carnell, Carpe Noctem magazine #15
1999




Because of his role Mortensen had to face an interesting phenomenon: Would David Shaw's images reflect the artistic feelings of himself, Viggo Mortensen or do they belong to the character of David Shaw? "I think both are right", answered Mortensen, "I didn't have time to occupy myself too much with this duality. I think that the artwork represents on the one hand my own subconsiousness and on the other hand my ideas on who David is."

Warner Brothers German Press Release
Translated by always smiling




“...there's also some other personal belongings in the movie because, as he says, "my movies are a kind of photo album for me. When I look at them some years from now, they'll reflect my feelings and where I was at that time. The pants I wear are some I found in Denmark. Other belongings are some things I got from my aunt in Jystrup. They're just some small things which make me feel at home and more relaxed," Viggo says.

Nice And Sensitive Movie-Star
By Susanne Johansen - translated by Majken
Berlingske Tidende
10 October 1998




"Viggo's ability to go into his part is very special. And his demands on himself are unique. For instance, he lived for a long time in his character's shabby apartment in Brooklyn to identify himself with the character.”

Nice and Sensitive Movie-Star
By Susanne Johansen - translated by Majken
Berlingske Tidende
10 October 1998




Interviewer: Is it true that you sang serenades to calm Gwyneth Paltrow before the love scenes in 'A Perfect Murder'?

Viggo: How do you know that?

Interviewer: She has said that herself.

Viggo: That's correct. To calm her and create a certain atmosphere of intimacy I did sing a couple of love songs that I learned in Argentina when I was young. I don't know if that ended up scaring her instead.

Viggo from Hollywood
By Poul Høi
M/S Magazine
August 2001




If you're a woman you will remember the way he slid his hands backward over her cheeks as they made love in his grimy loft.

Talking about 'A Perfect Murder'
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004




In the end, the actor who makes the biggest impression is Viggo Mortensen, whose gentle presence seems to be masking some diabolical undercurrents. He's the only character who keeps us guessing throughout, and he manages to steal every scene he appears in by slyly underplaying the role.

Judge Clark Douglas
DVD Verdict
12 June 2012




Viggo Mortensen undergoes an interesting transformation in his key scene with Douglas; we believe him when he's a nice guy, and we believe him even more when he's not; he doesn't do a big style shift, he simply turns off his people-pleasing face.

Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-times
June 5, 1998




But Viggo Mortensen, well heck, now there's an actor with some bite!! If you have yet to hear much about this man, open your ears, and listen wide. This guy can act...and act well goddammit! I have loved almost all of his performances, with his role in THE INDIAN RUNNER (5/10) and last year's G.I. JANE (6/10) standing out in my mind, and certainly a force to reckon for all great future character roles. Watch for him...he's hot!

Berge Garabedian
Joblo.com
2 November 1998




In 'A Perfect Murder' he is - in spite of Michael Douglas's and Gwyneth Paltrow's presence - the star.

Viggo from Hollywood
by Poul Hoi
M/S (Danish magazine)
2001



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Warner Brothers.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

We quite often have quotes and anecdotes here from actors who have appeared with Viggo. Just to mix things up, this week we are turning the tables with a Quotable of Viggo’s memories of some of the major actors he’s had a chance to work with over the years. Harrison Ford, Omar Sharif, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Nicole Kidman, Ian McKellan, Diane Lane, the list is endless and here are just a few.



Harrison Ford in Witness

[Harrison Ford] was most of all professional. Conscientious. Interesting to study. I had the greats before me: Peter Weir, above all, with his calmness and efficiency. In the evening, when I came back from my wandering, they let me watch the rushes. Witness was an idyllic experience.

Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002



'He was really into the building-the-barn scene. I was supposed to be handing him tools and he'd say 'Hand me a whatever,' and I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. He probably built most of that barn himself.'

Viggo Mortensen on working with Harrison Ford in Witness
The Hot New 39-Year-Old
by Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine, 1998



Charles Bronson in The Indian Runner

"Charles Bronson I didn't get to know extremely well but I liked him; in fact, there's a version of the scene where I go to my parents' house at the beginning of the story. It was a really interesing scene with Charles and Sandy Dennis playing really well. In fact Charles delivered some of the best acting I've ever seen. Shame it didn't make the movie, but I could understand Sean's reasons. He thought my character should be more messed up. But it was a scene that was very awkward; I was high, and was really insulting. It was horrible, but also fascinating."

Viggo Mortensen talking about The Indian Runner
Uncut
November 2007



Al Pacino in Carlito’s Way

"I loved working with Al Pacino. He was unusually generous for someone in his position. He has a very open mind, and a very open heart."

Viggo Mortensen talking about Carlito’s Way
Uncut
November 2007



“He is a very interesting man, with a great sense of humour, very hard working and, above all, very generous and humble. You learn a lot from people like him. I don’t know if he is the greatest. I liked him best during his early stage, in films like Scarface, Serpico or The Godfather.”

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



Demi Moore in GI Jane

'Demi Moore was probably the biggest shock, because she never asked for any special treatment. She was having to do some amazing things as a girl soldier. She never complained, although I know she was in pain and afraid of certain things. She never said anything, whereas the guys were whining and complaining on some days.'

I've Loved All My Leading Ladies
By Garth Pearce
Now magazine
January 2002



Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington in Crimson Tide

'Watching Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington was pretty interesting; to be at several scenes when they're arguing in speeches and stuff. I'd say that's fun to watch those actors go at it like a sporting event and I had a front row seat. '

Viggo Mortensen on Crimson Tide
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
by Carnell
Carpe Noctem magazine #15, 1999



Christopher Walken In The Prophecy

"I accepted, in part because I had always wanted to work with Christopher Walken," the actor says while sitting on the sofa's edge. His face lights up when saying Walken's name. It's evident that Christopher Walken is a cult actor for many young actors nowadays. "I would do any movie with him, no matter what [it was]."

On "The Prophecy'
Viggo Mortensen: A Very Devilish Devil In The Prophecy
by Ferran Viladevall
La Opinión
1995



Nicole Kidman in Portrait of a Lady

'She never stopped working and getting inside her character's head,' he says 'You look at some of these people and wonder why they've done so well. With Nicole,it was clear, she has all the talent, but never lets it get in the way of hard work. She's also down-to-earth and could tell jokes very easily. The film crew fell in love with her.'

I've Loved All My Leading Ladies
By Garth Pearce
Now magazine
January 2002



Michael Douglas in A Perfect Murder

Q: What surprised you about your other costar, Michael Douglas?

A: Just before Christmas, Michael was singing Christmas songs all day long, but he'd change the lyrics and he'd make the crew sing along, too. It was just goofy. You don't think of him as being that kind of a dorky guy.

The Hot New 39-Year-Old
By Dennis Hensley
Movieline magazine
August 1998



Diane Lane A Walk on the Moon

You've worked with many actresses: Demi Moore (GI Jane), Sandra Bullock (28 Days), Nicole Kidman (Portrait of a Lady), Gwyneth Paltrow (A Perfect Murder), Diane Lane (A Walk on the Moon) ... With who did you have the best relationship?

They were all great. But it was one of the lesser stars, Diane Lane, who perhaps impressed me the most. She's been working for years with little recognition in comparison to her talent.

Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002



Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings

…it must be said that the casting is inspired. Take Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf. He is very prepared, he knows what he has to do. And he has a good sense of humour and truly enjoys life. I don't know if it's a sign, but Ian came to see one of my plays, long ago, when I was unknown.

Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
By Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002



"He had more tricks than a bag of merlins and he really used them all."

The Man Who Would Be King
By Nick Dent
December 2001
Source: Black & White magazine, #58


Omar Sharif in Hidalgo

…one of the great things about this experience was working with Omar Sharif, and I think his casting was very important to the movie. It was already a good story, but him playing this part, I mean he's very right for it. The man he plays speaks several languages, he has some curiosity about the West, Omar has one foot in the east and one foot in the west, he lives in France, he's an Egyptian Muslim, and he's a perfect piece of casting.

Also, in terms of cinema history; obviously because of his connection to Lawrence of Arabia. You know, it just lifted the movie to another level, so, personally, it was a lot of fun to be able to sit close to him, not only working, but kind of pestering him with questions about David Lean, Peter O'Toole, and what it was like for an Egyptian actor to have that experience.

Hidalgo - Viggo Mortensen Q&A
By Jack Foley
Indie London
April 2004



Robert Duvall in The Road

It was the very last take, and it was the scene by the campfire, and I knew that Duvall wasn’t satisfied. I knew that there was something, that magic little thing hadn’t happened yet. He said, “If we could do one more take … let’s just do one for ourselves,” and I go, “Yeah, whatever.” Then, suddenly, he says, “I had a boy once,” and the hair just went up on the back of my neck, and I was like, “Wow, that is so right.” I realized that, which happens once in a while, and you are just so happy that it happened. … It’s so simple and beautiful and obvious, and he said it with such feeling that, when we went back to the line from the scene, there was a little pause, so I asked, “What happened to your boy, your son?” And the rest was magic.

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Hits The Road
By Roger Durling
Santa Barbara Independent
22 November 2009



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Paramount Pictures.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

This week I have a tongue-in-cheek look at what it’s like to be a man coming into Viggo’s orbit. The looks, the multi-lingualism, the triple-Oscar nominated acting ability, the thoughtful gift-giving, the poetry, the painting…the… well, I could go on and on. That’s not in the least bit intimidating, especially if you are Omar Sharif… right?




"Viggo Mortensen is an extraordinary person... I suspect a defect somewhere. It's not possible, I have never met someone who has no defect. He has all: he is kind, he is generous, he is tender, he is a pacifist, he is tolerant - I'm also tolerant, I like that kind of people - and he helps everybody. He writes poetry, he makes photos... it's extraordinary... he is handsome, he acts well... then we say to ourselves it's not possible, people like this do not exist. I did not manage to find it out but there has to be a defect somewhere. One cannot be that perfect!"

Omar Sharif
"Hidalgo": en tête à tête avec Omar Sharif - Trans. by Casablanca
by Peggy Zejgman
allocine.com
24 March 2004




The Empire Icon award this year went to the disgustingly multitalented Viggo Mortensen, who speaks more languages than God, paints, writes poetry and still finds time to do a bit of acting.

Jameson Empire Award Winners Announced!
Helen O’Hara
Empire Online
30 March 2009




“Now, Viggo, you speak seven languages, you write poetry in three languages, Danish, Spanish and English, you ride horses superbly and you’re a great swordsman and all our womenfolk are in love with you… do you understand how annoying you are?”

Radio interview with Richard Glover
ABC Sydney
24 March 2009




Viggo Mortensen isn’t just a celebrity, as you’re probably aware. He isn’t even just a fine actor. He’s also a painter, a poet and a photographer, and he makes records, too, often in collaboration with Buckethead, the masked wizard guitarist. In addition, he’s also conversant in half a dozen languages — yet another body blow to an interviewer’s self-esteem. But I soldiered on.

Viggo Mortensen On ‘The Road,’
By Kurt Loder
MTV.com
25 November 2009





Viggo Mortensen is a smolderer. He opens those intense, I-know-how-to-build-my-own-kitchen eyes, and he wins my girlfriend over every time. Obviously, I want to hate him because anyone that ruggedly handsome has to be despised on principal alone, but like Paul Newman and his absurdly delicious salad dressing, there comes a day when you just have to admit a dude's alright.

20 Actors Who Deserve Your Support
By Josh
Cinema Blend
22 August 2010




Liev Schreiber on heading straight for the gym the minute he knew Viggo had been cast as his wife's lover:

'I had to have some definition in my body if I was going to take my shirt off in the same movie that Viggo runs around naked in. Trust me, that's mighty intimidating.'

Liev Schreiber (the husband)
Calgary Sun, April 1999




Holding a glass of red wine and laughing, Agustín Díaz Yanes asserts, "Viggo is terrifying. He sends you a handwritten letter, all decorated and painted, and when he arrives at your house for dinner he’s an intolerable guy: he cleans the fish and picks up the dishes. My wife is fascinated, and she compares the two of us. Damn, what’s a guy supposed to do? The bar is set very high."

The Lord of Simplicity
By Ernesto Garratt Vines - translated by Margarita
Wikén - El Mercurio
30 March 2007




"He could really earn his keep as a painter, certainly as a photographer," says his Rings co-star John Rhys-Davies, who plays Gimli, a dwarf. "He is also a substantially better fisherman than I am. He can catch more fish, and I hate him for that!"

Could Viggo Mortensen Be The Perfect Man?
By Nathan Cooper & Mike Glynn
Star, 2003




Knowing Mortensen (as the William S. Burroughs-inspired Old Bull Lee) was well read, Riley was "terrified during improvisation that he might ask me something about Nietzsche, like, 'What do you think about the Ubermensch?' The night before he arrived, I spent hours Wikipedia-ing Jean-Paul Sartre and others just in case he threw me a curveball." (He didn't.)

Why Kristen Stewart Slashed Her $20 Million Paycheck, Plus More Making 'On the Road' Stories
By Stephen Galloway
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 2012




Viggo Mortensen is a character actor at heart, he's a method, no-restraint genius who looks like a mechanic, crossed with zoo keeper, crossed with a brooding former model turned emotionally-tortured bad boy. I need to stop holding that against him. If not for my own credibility, so he won't steal my girlfriend and kill me with his bare hands in my sleep on his way to winning at least three Oscars before he's done.

20 Actors Who Deserve Your Support
By Josh
Cinema Blend
22 August 2010




"He is so brilliant he makes me sick."

Elijah Wood
Talkin' To Me?
By Gunnar Rehlin
Scanorama magazine, 2004




Viggo Mortensen can do anything. Until recently, that wasn’t true. We could all look at him and think, “Yeah sure, but can he speak French?” The answer was no, and our world had a modicum of balance. Now it turns out that answer was yes, and we are all f*****.

Evan Saathoff
Badassdigest.com
25 August 2014




"He's an unbelievable man. He brings chocolates to the set, expensive haute cuisine chocolates, and he hands it out in plastic bags. He writes music and he's painting and doing poems; you feel pathetic around him."

Jason Isaacs
Jason Isaacs Loved Working With Chocolate Man Mortensen
ContactMusic.com
1 March 2012




"Oh wow. It's Viggo," says the "Dorian Gray" star. The observation was understated -- no hoots, hollers or autograph mania here. But the surprise was unmistakable as a publicist escorted the handsome British star down a corridor at Toronto's Intercontinental Hotel.

"You sound impressed," the woman comments, hurrying the 28-year-old actor off to another interview.

"Sure I'm impressed," Barnes smiles broadly. "That's Viggo Mortensen!"

Ben Barnes spots Viggo at Toronto
Constance Droganes
CTV.ca
12 September 2009




When the world goes boom, I want Viggo Mortensen to be my dad.

Marshall Fine
Huffington Post
24 November 2009




“Doesn’t everybody want to be Viggo Mortensen? I do!”

Matt Ross
Captain Fantastic: Viggo Mortensen & Family
by Christine Westwood
FilmInk
11 June 2016



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Touchstone / Buena Vista Pictures.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

For many of us who first discovered Viggo while watching The Lord of the Rings, one of the films that really made our eyes pop when frantically buying every back-catalogue movie we could lay our hands on was A Walk on the Moon. As one of the critics below says, we were hit by full-on ‘paint-peeling smouldering sexuality’. How many of us had the moment when he bites the tag off Pearl’s neck on replay? Oh… and of course it’s also really, really great film with a wonderful performance by Diane Lane.





Ask any movie-loving woman to name the sexiest scenes on film and, after ticking off the old standbys - Dennis Quaid getting Ellen Barkin off in The Big Easy, Kevin Costner painting Susan Sarandon's toenails in Bull Durham - chances are good that she'll pull out her well-worn copy of the 1999 indie sleeper A Walk on the Moon.

The Appealingly Weird World of Viggo Mortensen
By Amy Wallace
Esquire
March 2006




The rest of the leads also seemed to just click into place during the auditions. Getting Viggo Mortensen was Goldwyn's only "moment of panic," the director says, because he wanted a free spirit type, but definitely not a hippie, and he had his heart set on the actor from "A Perfect Murder," Gus Van Sant's "Psycho."
"When I saw some of Viggo's work, I thought, that's always who I've had in my head. I realized there is not one other actor anywhere who could play Viggo's part other than Viggo. He has this kind of complexity and mysteriousness to him. He doesn't have to say much and you get a lot."

Tony Goldwyn, Director of A Walk on the Moon
Actor Goldwyn side-stepped cliches for summer of '69 directorial debut
By Robin Blackwelder
SPLICEDwire
24 February 1999




“I knew I wanted him for that role in such a way that I was saying, Please take some of my money and give it to him… because he gives immeasurable depth to what he does, full commitment, full conviction.”

Diane Lane
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004




Mortensen found working with Lane "as good as I'd hoped it would be. She's a good actress and she makes the work really easy. She's very relaxed and very focused on what's right for the scene and not her own vanity."

Talking With Viggo
George magazine
1999




Originally called ''The Blouse Man'' in honor of its traffic-stopping title character, ''A Walk on the Moon'' has its elements of attractive fantasy. The blouse man is one of the peddlers who visit the camp to sell their wares, and it took Ms. Gray many rewrites to turn him into an object of desire. However, as played with silky eroticism by Viggo Mortensen, the gentlemanly Walker Jerome arrives to charm the camp's old ladies and weaken Pearl's knees.

Janet Maslin
New York Times
March 26, 1999




As the guy Pearl falls for, Viggo Mortensen drips with sex appeal.

Robin Dougherty
25 February 1999
Miami New Times




'If Viggo and I convince people we're enjoying every second of that encounter [in the waterfall] we've really done our job as actors. It was freezing in that river. The water was filled with debris and cigarette butts and the rocks were covered in little worms.'

Diane Lane
Calgary Sun
10 April 1999




'I know that some people are describing Walker as a hippie, but he really wasn't. He was a little older than that generation and probably more influenced by jazz and the beat generation, so that made him maybe a little more open to things. It wasn't just about Woodstock for him.'

Viggo Mortensen on A Walk on the Moon
Viggo Artist & Actor
by Jae-Ha Kim
Cleveland Plain Deale
1999




Walker is no mindless hippie going with the flow. He cares about Pearl. Certainly, he cares about pleasing her sexually. She gets her own flight to the moon at the same time as Neil Armstrong. And what Walker does to her under a waterfall should be bottled. Their sexual connection is reinforced by the blazing chemistry between Lane (the adorable child in "A Little Romance'') and Mortensen. While he seems pallid in his solo scenes, Mortensen comes alive when Lane is around. It's clear why Pearl would risk everything for this stranger.

A Steamy 'Walk on The Moon'
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, April 2, 1999




'I knew I was up against Viggo Mortensen. Come on, the guy is easy on the eyes, and he doesn't wear a lot of clothes in this movie. If anyone was to believe that I might get the girl, I was going to have to do some work. So I jumped rope, I ran, and I didn't eat.'

Liev Schreiber
People Magazine
26 April 1999




"I think being a conventional leading man is something that gives him a lot of trouble," says Goldwyn, recalling Mortensen's fears that A Walk on the Moon's Blouse Man might become a one-note sex god. "Of course, the success that implies is very attractive, but the trappings of that for someone like Viggo, who has so much to offer, can be very scary."

Viggo Trip
by Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39
2002




As the Blouse Man, Viggo Mortensen is rugged and attractive, but the character is underdeveloped. In a way, this is unimportant, because his primary function is as a catalyst.

....Following its world premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, A Walk on the Moon received a standing ovation from the 1300 viewers in the Eccles Theater - an occurrence that's a testimony to the film's emotional strength and truth. It's easy to make a bad movie about a woman finding herself by cheating on her husband, but difficult to fashion one that hits most of the right notes.

A Walk on the Moon
Reelviews
James Berardinelli
1999




...no man other than Viggo Mortensen could carry the moniker 'Blouse Man' and retain the sort of paint-peeling smoldering sexuality that he wields throughout this film (to say nothing of his nuanced, stunning performance, which I guess I'm saying next to nothing about. But don't we all assume such a performance from Viggo?).

Liz W Garcia
HitFix
13 July 2015



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Miramax Films/Village Roadshow.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo


Found By: Iolanthe

If you like a bonkers and rather bloody B movie then Renny Harlin’s Prison is for you, though it’s probably only appeared on most of our radars because Viggo is in it channelling ‘a James Dean vibe’ and… um… taking a shower. What’s not to enjoy? The film gathered a new audience and lots of new reviews when it was released on Blu-ray in 2013, bumping up my quotes quota enough to give the film the full Quotable works. It's pretty close to Halloween, after all!





Mortensen shows good leading man chops well before Hollywood took notice of him…

Shlockmania Blu-ray Prison review
18 February 2013




The film, shot on location in a prison in Wyoming, is certainly not a milestone of the genre, but it is entertaining with actors in a good situation - and, for the first time in his career, it gave Mortensen the chance to fully reveal his charisma.

Portrait: Viggo Mortensen - The Actor As Artist
By - translated by Sally
DVD Special (Germany)
June 2008




Before Viggo Mortensen became Aragorn and before Renny Harlin became known for helming such flashily forgettable action fare as The Long Kiss Goodnight and Driven, the two made sweet incarcerated horror music together with the aptly named Prison (1988). Well, not that sweet, but Prison does have the dubious distinction of being one of Harlin's best as well as the finest film to come out of the late '80s trend of the return of the vengeful executed (remember Wes Craven's Shocker?).

Haunted Prison
Independent Film Channel
30 October 2007




“When I was casting this little million-dollar horror movie, I really wanted to get good actors though to make it stand out. We saw something like eighty guys in Hollywood, guys you would know from TV and bit parts in movies, but they all felt like the same old thing and I was really frustrated. After we get done with the eighty guys in comes Viggo who had hardly done anything at that point, I think Witness was his only film but I just looked at him and thought please let him know how to act. My mantra was that I wanted to find the next James Dean and he was awesome, very low key and on the spot I said this is our guy.”

Director Renny Harlin
Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011




“He was definitely somebody that people were keeping an eye on and what have you. He was this striking looking guy and he really was a good guy and still is. He’s just a very nice person. But boy he really brought up the smoldering intensity right away. That was terrific.”

Screenwriter Courtney Joyner
Late night classics – Prison
Jason Bene
Killerfilm.com
2 June 2010




“There was such a charisma about him. I really thought that this film would make him a household name. Unfortunately, since the film wasn’t really released theatrically, it took Viggo a little longer to get there, but he still got there eventually.”

Renny Harlin
Review Fix Exclusive: Q & A With “Prison” Director Renny Harlin
Patrick Hickey Jr.
Review Fix
14 February 2013




He… handled almost all of his own stunts, a move that would earn him a stunt team t-shirt by Hodder by the end of production.

Locked Up 30 Years Later: Kane Hodder in ‘Prison’
by Meagan Navarro
Bloodydisgusting.com
6 March 2018




“It was a real low budget horror exploitation thing. The cast was a bunch of people [who were] New York stage actors. For that kind of movie, it was a pretty experienced group of actors; good actors got those parts. So, I was surrounded by people who really knew what they were doing, which was nice. It was fun to work with them. I mean, the story was what it was. It was a horror movie and it was on the cheap side and all that, but Renny Hahn had a certain amount of visual flair. Other that,I don't know if it stands out any more than the other movies at this time. I liked the location, I liked Wyoming.”

Viggo talking about Prison
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
By Carnell
March 1999




I know it’s cliché to say an actor has intensity but I think Prison is one of [Viggo’s] more intense roles. There is a scene in the prison yard when he’s going toe-to-toe with a prisoner who’s trying to run the yard that is just cool as hell. His performance actually in Eastern Promises kind of reminds me of Prison because in both films he uses his eyes so much.

Prison Review
Daily Grindhouse
19 December 2011




Viggo Mortensen is something of a find as Burke, an inmate apparently bred on James Dean and Montgomery Clift films. All the supporting roles are solid as well. As for the Spirit of Forsythe, he’s not just another masked menace or a flesh-rotted presence, but more of a malevolent specter à la The Keep. When his hell breaks loose, it’s quite chilling.

Prison Review
Hollibonitos
Starblog.com




It’s interesting to watch him here as he channels a James Dean vibe, with his wedge-cut hair and sulky, almost shy delivery.

Prison Review
David Maine
Popmatters.com
20 February 2013




Viggo Mortensen, in an early role before stardom, offers a strong-willed, no-frills performance that suits the character wonderfully.

Martin Liebman
Blu-ray.com
2 February 2013




This was Mortensen’s first lead role, too, but he delivers with a calm and extremely cool persona who holds his own against the more traditional thugs.

By Rob Hunter
filmschoolrejects Blu-ray review
16 February 2013




Prison features a strong cast of recognizable actors, many of whom were at the start of their careers. Viggo Mortensen (The Prophecy) has enjoyed the most success and it is easy to recognize his talent in this early piece. His performance is subtle as a short-time convict gradually pushed into the role of reluctant hero.

Horrortalk.com Blu-ray review
19 February 2013



You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Empire Pictures.


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Last edited: 10 December 2019 21:05:12