Interviews 2013

Viggo Mortensen: "It's a shame that the government has cleared the way for open-pit mining."

Source: Noticias Net-Rio Negro

He was also forthcoming about part of his character in the film that he shot in La Lobería. He confirmed a quick return to the area and gave his opinion about San Lorenzo and his passion for soccer.

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Image Guadalupe Gaona.
© 4L Productions.
Viggo Mortensen passed through Viedma. While it was initially a mystery which few were inclined to confirm, reality has finally shown us a person behind the character who is very friendly, charitable, and involved with caring for the environment.

Filming has already ended, and now the actor, a fanatical supporter of San Lorenzo de Almagro, is relaxing in La Pampa for a few days before returning to his home country.

His love for this country, the result of spending his childhood in Argentina, is widely known.

In any case, he has never been in such close contact with the Atlantic Coast of Patagonia as on this occasion.

In contact with the newspaper Noticias de la Costa, Viggo Mortensen talked about our region, people, his character, nature, and even his beloved San Lorenzo.

What is your impression of the city of Viedma and of our Atlantic Coast?

"I can't say that I came to know Viedma very well, but I was here long enough to feel that there are many creative people here and in Carmen de Patagones. Artists, poets, crafts. The few people I had a chance to talk with were very nice to me. It seems like a lovely place to live. I can say a little more about the coast, since I lived there for almost two weeks, filming Lisandro Alsonso's new movie in the La Loberia district. The coast is beautiful. I also travelled through the interior a little, and liked it a lot."

Had you been there before?

"Spending those fall days near the coast revived other memories of the province connected to my childhood in Argentina. In the 60's, when I was between 7 and 9 years old, my father brought my brothers and I and our mother to that part of the country several times. Camping trips. At that time the roads were not as good as they are now. We travelled slowly and the landscapes seemed immense and beautiful to me. I remember that we once passed through Viedma (I suppose by way of Highway 3 from Bahía Blanca) and went along the coast as far as Península Valdés. Our car had a serious breakdown and we waited several days in Puerto Madryn until our car could be fixed. The peninsula and its animal life were not yet protected. We swam very near seals, elephant seals. At that time, there were people who killed many of those magnificent creatures with rifles and shotguns. My father loved those animals and that place - so much that I remember he wrote several times, as others did, to people in the federal government to ask that the peninsula be designated a National Park. I don´t know whether his letters helped, but finally it was decided to suitably protect that special place. On other occasions, we went to the southeast of Rio Negro province (I guess by route 23) to do some camping. We fished, swam, and had a very good time in the forests and rivers of that area. The long trip by car - my two brothers and I squeezed into the back seat with our sleeping bags and other things - was always worth the trouble. We never wanted to go back to Buenos Aires. I tell you all this to say that it seems to me that the most valuable thing that the people who live in this province have is the natural environment, the beautiful variety of landscapes in an untouched state."

Do you believe that the natural environment you speak of is being protected?

"I know that, as in many parts of the United States, they have begun to talk seriously about initiating, on a large scale, the practices of 'fracking,' open pit mining and other technology that is equally damaging to the environment, with the goal of extracting natural resources from those lands. When that has been done in the country I was born in, it has been proven with certainty that the land, the water, the animals, and the people suffer grave consequences. Deaths and serious illnesses, unique places destroyed for many generations. It´s not worth it to abuse and spoil the world we live in so much for just short term profits. It seems to me that the healthiest thing to be done, with the most long term benefit, in Rio Negro and in the world in general, is to seriously look for good alternatives to provide for people´s energy needs. Jobs and benefits will come from that effort, the same things that those who want to destroy the environment are promising, but without the massive destruction of the earth and its fauna. From what I've read, it seems to me that neither the regional nor the federal governments in Argentina talk enough about natural resources exploitation methods that would be healthier for people and the environment. For example, the new provincial government gave the go-ahead to open pit mining. That´s a pity. When people start demanding a greater effort in regard to healthier methods for the exploitation of natural resources, and I think this will happen, as it has in other countries, I hope politicians will pay attention. Rio Negro is too beautiful a part of the world to be disregarded. The people know, and they will protect it."

What are your thoughts about your character? What can you tell us about the film?

"I can't advance much information about our story; its mystery has to be protected until the film is ready. But I can tell you, it has been very interesting to play a Danish soldier during what is called "The Conquest of the Desert" in Nineteenth century Argentina.

With this character, I speak a Spanish quite similar to that of my father, who is from Denmark. This accent reminds me of many things from the years I was growing up in Buenos Aires and Chaco. It also brings to mind, as I said, the summer trips we could take to this beautiful province. I also like that my character rides a horse for a great part of the film. I've always liked horses."

What do you think of the quality of the local actors who took part in the film?

"They were great! They worked very well and were very patient. They took the challenge of recreating the period of our film very seriously. Many of their faces and the look in their eyes made me think of those who could have been the ancestors of some of them, the people I had seen in the photographs from Tehuelches, Mapuches and other native people, and also of soldiers, gauchos and European immigrants from the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century."

Have you considered coming back?

"I haven´t the slightest doubt."

"We are doing well, little by little," he said about CASLA

"I like the work Pizzi has done very much." (San Lorenzo´s coach)

"He is very straight forward, but he's not arrogant, and I think he inspires the players," said the actor about his beloved team.

"San Lorenzo has been a bit unlucky in this tournament, especially in the initial ties. Also, after the impressive victory over River, [they had] a couple of rather bad matches, like the one they played against Tigre and especially the one we lost against Racing. But I have confidence in the team and I believe we will continue progressing.

"The style of play and the collective attitude are much better than what we lived through last year. Little by little we are doing well," he said.

Peña San Lorenzo

"I met several of their members, and I had the honour of watching the match against Racing with some of them. Those Cuervos know that, as Pipi Romagnoli said, 'San Lorenzo is a feeling you cannot explain.' We had a very nice time (especially with the great goal by Villalba at the beginning) and it was a pleasure to talk about the club with them, although I almost wanted to shoot myself after Academia's fourth goal. [tr.note: Racing´s nickname]. Saja is great! The story would have been very different if Ramón Díaz [tr. note: San Lorenzo´s coach 2006-2007] hadn´t caused this great goalkeeper to quit San Lorenzo...

Hold on Ciclón!"
Last edited: 18 April 2014 11:27:50
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