Viggo Mortensen's Plan

Source: El Pais Semanal

An actor with passions that go beyond film: poetry, music, painting, and photography. So these images, which he took during the filming of Todos tenemos un plan, show us. A reunion with Argentina, the country where he grew up.

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1vplan.jpg
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
Self-portrait.

"I like the movie because it's not a clean story. All the characters are frustrated and resentful people."

The Delta del Tigre, 30 kilometers from Buenos Aires, is counted among the seven largest deltas in the world. And also among those that have amassed the most legends, from the splendor contributed by powerful people and tourists to tales of fugitives. So it's the perfect place to set a film noir where the characters have double lives, double faces, and where Viggo Mortensen - who, by the way, is filming for the first time in Argentina, the country he grew up in - plays a man who, fed up with the hustle and bustle of the city, takes refuge in this labyrinth of islands and channels to impersonate his dead twin brother. From then on, the dark edges so intimately tied to the human condition increase exponentially. The actor wanted to capture those chiaroscuros in these photos, which he took during the filming.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
El Dorado dock

Here we see the exterior of what is the Mendizabal brothers' store in our story. This was the first day we were there to rehearse the fight between the brothers and my character (Agustín). Here they beat me up and throw me over the dock. As in most of the islanders´ homes, it has its canine alarm system. When you are sailing down the streams and rivers of the delta, you meet a dog at almost every dock, frequently barking at the top of his lungs at any unknown person.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
'El Monito'

This is Pedro's boat. As is the case for all the islanders who live in the delta, motorboat and canoe are essential for Pedro and later for his brother Agustín. I used it a lot, and liked it. It had been years since I'd steered one, but I got used to it again pretty quickly. My previous experience with motorboats and canoes helped us waste less time between takes, and helped me manage when there was a strong current or tide, or if the motor acted up. Filming on the water, from boat to boat, was an interesting challenge for everyone.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
Sofía rehearses at El Rancho

Sofía - Sofía Gala Castiglione - plays Rosa in Todos tenemos un plan, a character who, in a certain way, is like the conscience of the story, a woman who keeps being sensitive and optimistic in spite of the blows that life has dealt her. Sofía has done a beautiful job with Rosa.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
Dawns

Traveling in boats to the filming locations (sometimes taking a half hour or more on the rivers), very early in the morning, all of us were cold. But we saw some very beautiful dawns. When we returned after dusk, we gazed at memorable moonlit nights. To bear the cold, we'd share a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread. There is no better way to celebrate a good day of work as a team.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
Island House

This construction is very similar to the one used in the film and typical of those you see in the most remote parts of the delta. The area is usually rather quiet in the winter, but in summer, it's transformed into another world: very green, full of life, of flowers, and there is much more traffic on the rivers and streams. Although at times it was hard to film when the temperature dropped to below freezing, especially at night, it was worth the trouble of doing it because the bareness of the landscape and flat light of the winter provided a very special atmosphere for the film. Another technical advantage, this one totally unexpected, was that, thanks to the volcanic eruptions in Patagonia that occurred during the shoot, our cinematographer Lucio Bonelli could count on the filtering being quite similar and constant from the layer of ash that invaded the sky over the province of Buenos Aires on those days.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
Rubén and Ericia's house

This is the house of Rubén, the character played by Javier Godino. It was lit up for a night-long filming of the scene between him, Agustín, Rubén's wife and the grandmother. The wife and her mother are Paraguayan, and Agustín doesn't understand anything when the grandmother begins to speak by the campfire. The Paraguayan actress who plays the grandmother was named Ericia. Unfortunately, she recently died in Buenos Aires at the age of 93. She was a total champ during the filming, because that night was one of the coldest of the whole winter. She never complained and was always ready to do another take. She couldn't hear very well, so sometimes I'd give her a little foot signal and she'd continue speaking her Guaraní [tr. note: Paraguayan indigenous language] and casting powerful and mysterious glances all the while. We appreciate her beautiful work and miss her very much.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
Grandmother Souto

Actually, this is a photo of Ana Piterbarg, Todos tenemos un plan's author, evaluating this house for its conversion into the house of the grandparents of Pedro and Agustín, the two brothers I play (yes, both of them). It was an important choice, since many scenes take place in this house. This image came out of one of the last days of scouting to make the final decisions about the locations, the shooting plan, the technical needs and the possible camera placements for each scene.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
Nico, my other self

Nicolás Guissani was a director's assistant and also my stand-in in the scenes where the two twin brothers, Pedro and Agustín, are together. Before filming, we rehearsed quite a bit together. When I don't do both characters separately, you can see part of Nico's body - his shoulder or his hand, or part of his head, depending on the framing. He did it really well, which spared us a lot of technical problems. He's a great guy and a very good work companion, who knew how to treat all the actors well. In addition, he always managed, in the most relaxed and courteous manner, to get us all to the set on time.

El Plan de Viggo Mortensen -  El País Semanal, 16 September 2012
El Plan de Viggo Mortensen - El País Semanal, 16....
© Viggo Mortensen.
 
"Insidious is"

We didn't film much in Buenos Aires. After spending so much time on the island, it was interesting when it was time to abandon the rivers and enter the urban landscape of the capital. Like Pedro when he traveled to the city to visit his brother, I too felt quite strange walking down the streets filled with cars, crowds of people and loud noises, after several relatively tranquil weeks in the wintry Delta. Suddenly, I had the feeling that there were eyes everywhere in the city center, as in this photo, where you can read "Insidious is."

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Image John Harris.
© Haddock Films.
 
A mystery since childhood

Ana Piterbarg, director and screenwriter of Todos tenemos un plan, which premiered recently, tells us that the Tigre region has intrigued her since she was very young, "I went there to the house of a friend many weekends; it turned out to be an adventure through and through."
Last edited: 30 September 2012 16:37:19
© Viggo Mortensen/El Pais.