Viggo has been busy preparing for Green Book we all know what that means – a humungous amount of deep and varied research. Viggo has always said that this is the best part of his job. He loves learning about new things, visiting new places, immersing himself in the life of the character he's playing. He goes much further than most actors, often taking things to awesome lengths that have become legendary in the business. The only thing that defeated his research methodology was wily old Lucifer…
© Focus Features.
'…it's not just in the viewing that there are no small parts, but there are no small roles in terms of preparation, either. I ended up spending a long time in East Harlem where there are a lot of Puerto Ricans, and listening day and night to the music. I found a wheelchair that was from 1974, which is the one you see. I left Manhattan with a big collection of salsa music from the early '70s, and I think I bought the entire catalog of Fania, a record company. I went back to Los Angeles and I made dinner in the wheelchair, wheeling around. By the time I got there I was completely ready and I had a lot of fun. It might as well been a whole movie, because each character is the whole movie for the person playing the character.
Viggo talking about Carlito's Way
10 Lessons on Filmmaking from Viggo Mortensen
3 November 2016
The Passion of Darkly Noon
For his role as a mute in 1995's The Passion of Darkly Noon, Mortensen remained silent throughout filming. "I only heard him speak after the shoot was over, and then only to say, 'Thanks everybody, so long.' He'd make clicking noises in the back of his throat to communicate," recalls costar Brendan Fraser. Mortensen refused to break character even to settle his hotel bill. "The concierge probably didn't speak English, and here's Viggo gesturing with his hands and pointing, scribbling on a pad. And I think Viggo eventually got 50% off the bill. If you know Viggo, it makes perfect sense. In a way, he transcends the acting."
by Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39
One thing to remember is that all the actors did go through the brutal training themselves, except for Viggo Mortensen. He trained alone a lot earlier than his fellow actors. He spent a considerable amount of time observing actual training sessions and talked to several active and retired Navy Seals. Most of the supporting cast were angry with him that he didn't go through the grueling training, with the exception of Moore, but in the end, that's exactly what Mortensen wanted so that the actors who have a reason for not liking his character.
Demi Moore Displays Sheer Will and Determination as 'G.I. Jane' Turns 20 Years Old!
By Rick Rice
22 August 2017
A Perfect Murder
'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
The Lord of the Rings
I heard that you showed up on the set with a copy of the 13th-century Icelandic Völsunga Saga.
Yeah. I was on the plane to New Zealand, thinking, God, what have I done? Once I got off the plane, I went to the bookstore and got a copy of the Völsunga Saga and a couple other things that I was pretty sure I'd need. And then I had a friend send me whatever I could remember that I had on the bookshelf at home. It wasn't as if all the elements of the book were unfamiliar to me, given my background. Tolkien even took the names of the dwarves right out of Nordic texts.
Veni, Vidi, Viggo
By Bilge Ebiri
Yahoo Internet Life magazine
23 November 2001
I worked with him 12 years ago on horses, we rode together down by the Mexico border in Arizona while working on Young Guns 2… So when I heard that he was interested in the role [of Hopkins] I anticipated that kind of commitment to research and sure enough, days after he was cast he called me and said, 'Who do you know on Pine Ridge reservation and can I go there?' Within a week he was out with these Lakota horsemen and riding with them, and on a long ride to Wounded Knee."
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004
A History of Violence
Mortensen's commitment translated to a collection of artifacts he purchased in the Midwest on his travels, which included ducks and a bank in the shape of a fish head that says 'fishin' money' on it and is set on the diner's cash register, posters of Birds of North America, some landscapes, a small ceramic eagle and other animal sculptures for his daughter's room which he thought Tom's character would have in his home."
Cannes Film Festival 2005 Press Kit
'He called me once to talk about certain aspects of his character and history, such as Alatriste's birthplace. I had never detailed it in any of the five novels published up until now, but Viggo was interested in the fact. 'In Old Castile,' I responded. 'Could it be Leon?' he asked after thinking about it for a while. 'It could,' I responded. So then he went to Leon and walked about covering it inch by inch, remaining in each town, in every bar, talking with whoever happened to be in front of him. In effect, he finally concluded that Alatriste was Leonese.'
Arturo Pérez Reverte
El Semanal - Translated by Elessars Queen
"You say, 'Well, where's Viggo today?' " says David Cronenberg, recalling the conversation that happened more than once on the London shoot, last year, of the exceptionally fine new thriller, Eastern Promises. "And they say, 'Oh, he's in St. Petersburg.'
"And you say, 'What!? I thought he was at the hotel.' "
Star's Eastern Immersion Impresses His Director
By Steven Rea
16 September 2007
"I wanted to go to Auschwitz, which I did, and I was looking around. I'd found a map that showed all the places where the camps were. I went to every single one. I drove like a maniac, day after day, and sometimes it was difficult to find them. People don't want to talk about it so much, and in most cases, there's just a plaque. The thing that was valuable was just standing there. It was spring, there were flowers, and the sky was blue. You sit on the grass and yes, you're moved by all these things and the ghosts that you can feel. I was thinking about the guards, the prisoners, the kids... but there were things that I didn't expect. It's hard to explain, but it just keeps opening and opening, and you can never stop learning."
Play It As It Lays
By Philip Berk
While he was on a tour doing publicity for another movie, Mortensen would sneak off and talk to homeless people, whose survival-oriented existence paralleled that of his character. "Every major city around the world, there are people that live outside, and they have the same concerns as our characters," he said. "How am I going to get food? How am I going to stay dry? How am I going to keep people from stealing my stuff or hurting me? You can't get any more basic than that."
Viggo Mortensen: 'Road' Warrior
Mortensen talks about playing a father in the post-apocalyptic 'The Road.'
By Sam Adams
18 November 2009
A Dangerous Method
Once he committed there was never any going back; it was full on, "Let's do research of the Viggo kind" -- which is very deep, to say the least. He'd send 25 emails of Freud's cigars, you know, with pictures going back and forth: "What kind were they?" "How many did he smoke a day?" "What shape were they?" "What strength?" "Would he have ever varied the kind during the course of the day, or did he always smoke the same kind?" "Could he afford them?" "Were they expensive?" You know, it went on and on and on.
David Cronenberg Discusses His Dangerous Method
by Luke Goodsell
23 November 2011
Two Faces of January
I was mainly interested in what kind of generation [Chester] was from. I spoke with my father's friends, men who came of age during the Great Depression and served in WWII, like Chester. And that informed how he'd wear his clothes, how he'd speak, his gestures and his attitude towards women. The one thing about these men that I found most interesting was that, even at their most downcast, their appearance was paramount. Every day, they ironed their shirts and smoothed their hair, no matter what.
Actor Viggo Mortensen
Sunday Style Magazine
13 June 2014
What past did you invent for this Captain Dinesen?
I took things from another Dinesen. A writer and adventurer who also went to the New World at the end of the 19th century. A hunter, he was the father of Isak Dinesen whose real name was Karen Blixen. I took things from my grandfather, my father's accent and since I know something about the history of Denmark and Argentina, I could link them.
Viggo Mortensen: Film and Soccer Activist
By Horacio Bilbao - translated by Ollie and Zoe
27 November 2014
Loin des Hommes
'I've walked I don´t know how many kilometers, from alley to alley, going up and coming down thousands of steps around the Casbah and the old European neighborhoods, letting myself be drawn towards a nameless destination, going forward or retracing my steps according to noises and colors, mental associations, memories, questions I was asking myself. Everything perfect, everything inconclusive, everything valuable, the city came into me, and I into it.'
Viggo on preparing to film in Morocco
For It To Rain
By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
19 October 2013
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
'Lucifer? Ah...that was fun, but difficult, because the truth is that I couldn't prepare the role the way that I usually do...going to Lucifer's house or meeting him or meeting his family.'
"If they give me a Salvadorian script, I'm game."
By Isabela Vides - translated by Margarita
La Prensa Grafica
7 March 2007
La Prensa Grafica