Quotable Viggo 2019

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Quotable Viggo: 18 August 2019

In last week’s Quotable I had a quote from Lisandro Alonso where he called Viggo ‘a worker, you know, a machine, all the time thinking good things for the project.’ Viggo always seems to have boundless energy, nothing is too much for him if it will improve his performance, the film, or the experience of his fellow actors. Even his energy must have its limits, and yet if there is more that he feels he can give, he will give it. No wonder so many actors and directors are in awe of his work ethic!



© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.


“He's a horse. I feel like he could go all day, work all day and he's polite and creative and generous. That made it easy. Not only is he physically gifted, he’s graceful and tough.”

Garret Dillahunt
Fred Topel
CraveOnline
20 March 2009




In a world of paste reproductions Viggo Mortensen is a rare gem of creative energy. His work as an actor goes far beyond the normal level of effort exerted by a conventional leading man which results in his performances being elevated into works of art as unique as his poems and pictures.

Viggo Mortensen: An Artist For All Seasons
by Richard Marcus
BNN Blogger News Networ
6 May 2005




"Viggo's a leader, just by sheer dint of his personality. He's an example to us all. He's a massive work-horse, like a massive multiplex."

Bernard Hill
Viggo Mortensen
by Desmond Sampson
Pavement #62, 2003




Viggo Mortensen is an actor who doesn’t do things by half measures. I have never seen anyone who surrenders himself to his character with such passion. I can assure you that his only limits are those of his own life. His physical ability as well as the world of his emotions. Viggo emptied himself out, always. He’d be exhausted at the end of a hard day. He gives everything.

Javier Aguirresarobe
Diary of The Road's Shooting
Translated by Ollie, Remolina, Rio, Sage and Zooey
Esquire (Spain)
January 2010




'…you know, I've had a few leads in indies since I worked on "The Road," and it's become an adjective when you do something: to "Viggo up." The guy is a mule -- he seems tireless. But he's kind and focused too.'

Garett Dillahunt
By Paul Gaita
The Envelope
17 December 2009




“He’s very intense. He’s very Method. There’s no stopping him.”

John Hillcoat
John Hillcoat Hits The Road
By Edward Douglas
Comingsoon.net
19 November 2009




We get into a long, boozy discussion about why he does so much stuff, why he is so bursting with creative energy that he can't just be an actor.

"People who are creators create," he says. "People say to me all the time, 'Why don't you just focus on one thing?' And I say, 'Why? Why just one thing? Why can't I do more? Who makes up these rules?"

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair
January 2004




"[The Battle of Helm's Deep] takes place mostly at night, and it was so complex that we filmed for about four months of nights," Jackson continues, "Viggo was fantastic. He just threw himself into it tirelessly. Every night he'd come along and just fight some more."

Michael Helms
"Awesome Towers"
Fangora Magazine #217
October, 2002




"He is methodical, exacting in his work, he carries out meticulous labors to do something that looks true, and projects it. He is like Robert Mitchum or William Holden, the class of actors whose work seems effortless."

Ray Loriga
Chiaroscuro: Viggo, Light And Dark
By Rocio Garcia - translated by Graciela, Remolina, Sage and Zooey
El Pais
26 June 2009




Filmmaker: What did you learn working with Viggo Mortensen?

Oelhoffen: I like to give space to the actors. I learned a lot because I had the opportunity to see how he worked. Viggo is amazing. He’s a very hard worker. He prepares himself a lot and for me it was a chance, a gift, because we really prepared the character together.

“I Don’t Know If Camus Would Have Approved”: Five Questions for Far From Men Director David Oelhoffen
By Ariston Anderson
Filmmaker Magazine
23 December 2014




“Viggo's energy is endless. He knows no limit."

Orlando Bloom
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere
January 2003




He gives, unsparingly, indiscriminately, ceaselessly. What's good for him is good for everyone.

Premier Magazine
By Gérard Delorme
June 2008
Translated by Chrissiejane




'...and yet, in his many careers, ego has no place...and if ego has no place in his career, apathy has no place in his life. Viggo Mortensen has earned a reputation for having endless energy, for being consummately curious. He drives himself hard in all aspects of his life... He is a connector, the agent who brings people and ideas and feelings together in ways that transcend customary forms of expression and measures of success. We have known Viggo Mortensen through his work on film, and we have been privileged in recent weeks to know him more fully through his photography and poetry. St. Lawrence University is honored to welcome home from the class of 1980, to share some of his poetry with us, Viggo Mortensen.'

Daniel F. Sullivan
St. Lawrence University Honorary Doctorate Address
March 1, 2003




"He is a very multifaceted and slightly compulsive individual, constantly creating in every medium. His creative energy is boundless; I assume acting is another extension of that."

Robert Mann, New York Gallerist
In the Spotlight But Shining On Its Own - Celebrity Art
by Lisa Crawford Watson
Art Business News, 2001

Quotable Viggo: 10 August 2019

This week I thought we'd take a retrospective look at Jauja – a film that for ages and ages had no name, just the tantalising promise of something new and strange. Viggo relished working with Lisandro Alonso on this low budget adventure in the Patagonian Desert and the end result was so mesmerising it took Cannes by storm. And Viggo gave an outstanding performance as Dineson, melting, as one critic described it, 'into the environment, the boundaries of Dineson's self slowly eroding into the Patagonian dirt'.



© 4L Productions


Few stars of his stature would consider such a low-budget arthouse film in a foreign language - let alone co-produce it, be able to act in both Spanish and Danish, and be prepared to sport such spectacularly awful whiskers.

Viggo Mortensen shows his independent side
by Demetrios Matheou
Herald Scotland
4 March 2015




'Jauja is not a place, it's more than that, it's an idea. It's an impossible idea or feeling of contentment, satisfaction, tranquillity. It could be anything...'

Viggo Mortensen
Jauja: Interview with Viggo Mortensen
by Pamela Jahn
Electric Sheep
16 October 2014




"My character is in the same position of the audience -- trying to figure out what is happening."

Viggo Mortensen
A Conversation with Viggo Mortensen at Cannes
Karin Luisa
Huffington Post
21 May 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
Clarín.com
27 November 2014




'Sometimes it was quite awkward and tiring to tramp around in that heavy greatcoat, wearing those slippery-soled riding boots, tripping over that saber. But I found that all of that helped me construct a sort of Danish Don Quixote, a man who has no idea how clumsy he seems in those landscapes, once he is off his horse.'

Mortensen plays a Danish engineer in Patagonia
by Pam Grady
San Francisco Chronicle
14 May 2015




"[Dinesen's] so obtuse, even when he doesn't know where he's going or why he's going or who he is, he still keeps moving forward. It's his stubbornness which I find both pathetic and endearing and, as I say, admirable."

Interview: Viggo Mortensen
Tobias Grey
The Financial Times
27 March 2015




'He's a great actor and I'm a new guy, in terms of actor's stuff, so I think I had to sit down and learn from him. I didn't speak that much, and I think Viggo knows 100 percent how to interpret this guy.'

Lisandro Alonso
Lisandro Alonso On "Jauja," Viggo Mortensen, and Narrative Mysteries
By Luke Goodsell
Movie Mezzanine
17 March 2015




'We didn't have much film. We were shooting it on real film and we had a limited amount, so in the latter stages of the shoot we were down to short ends and that was clear. I'd ask, "Well, how much [film] do you have left?" And [Alonso] would say, "Well I have a piece about a minute or less, and one that's about 39 seconds." And I'd tell him, "Well, at a quick trot to cross that piece of ground, 39 seconds would be cutting it a little close so save that longer bit for the next scene."'

Viggo Mortensen Tells Us Why He Hasn't Done Blockbusters Since 'Lord Of The Rings'
LAist.com
By Carman Tse
19 March 2015




The actor acknowledges that working with a director known for his off-the-grid methods – such as using primarily with non-professional actors – was a bit of an adjustment. "It took a little getting used to," he says. "For one scene I asked Lisandro who was doing the continuity on the set, and he asked me, 'What's that?' The way he works, he's never had to worry about things like that before."

Adam Nayman
Globe and Mail
9 September 2014




[Viggo's] a worker, you know, a machine, all the time thinking good things for the project. Sometimes he was too much for me, because I was not used to that. I was used to working with people who don't know how to read or write, you just organized a little bit of the frame, and that was it. But with Viggo, you have to talk about why you wanna do that, in terms of where to put the camera and the lights, you know.'

Lisandro Alonso
Lisandro Alonso On "Jauja," Viggo Mortensen, and Narrative Mysteries
By Luke Goodsell
Movie Mezzanine
17 March 2015




We didn't have any money in the budget to buy music, but I told him, "I know a brilliant guitar player and we've recorded together." I sent him 10 tracks to see what he's interested in, and he picked "Moonset". He was right—it was perfect.'

Viggo Mortensen Tells Us Why He Hasn't Done Blockbusters Since 'Lord Of The Rings'
LAist.com
By Carman Tse
19 March 2015




[Lisandro] had intended to have a more panoramic look, and when he got the first footage back from the lab and wanted to start editing, he was just like 'send it to me raw, I just wanna look at the whole thing so I can decide where to start and end this sequence.' And then they sent that back and when he saw that format he said, that's the movie. He was smart enough and open-minded enough to realise that even though that wasn't his idea originally, that was perfect, that's the way that the movie should look.

Interview: Viggo Mortensen
Charlotte Pick
The National Student
6 April 2015




"What I think is special about Lisandro is that he's able to make a truly original movie, remarkably original, without referencing other filmmakers or other movies, without drawing attention to what he's doing, without showing off. My feeling is that the film is not in any way pretentious, and yet it stands out from all other movies. That's a hard thing to do."

Viggo Mortensen talks Jauja
By Philip Bagnal
Scannia
11 March 2015




...finding myself with a small team in the middle of nowhere, in the superb landscape I knew because I spent my childhood there, it made me happy. And it was liberating.

Viggo Mortensen: "If The Lord of the Rings can win 12 Oscars, I don't see why Avatar wouldn't win the Oscar for best film."
By Eric Vernay - translated by Donna Marie
Premiere (France
21 May 2014




"It was a crew of about ten people walking over the rocks. We were all tired but we had a lot of fun. By nightfall, since we were 150 km from the internet and telephones, we made a little fire, an asado [grilled meat], we talked... It was a family experience."

Viggo Mortensen
The Lord of the Roles
By Pamela Biénzobas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
In-LAN
August 2014


Quotable Viggo: 28 July 2019

With The Reflecting Skin being released on Blu-ray and DVD in the US soon, it's time to look back over the two films Viggo made with Philip Ridley, Reflecting Skin and The Passion of Darkly Noon. From the start Viggo and Ridley found they were kindred spirits – creative and highly imaginative – the perfect partnership for Ridley's complex 'adult fairy-tales'. Ridley knew he was looking at a superstar before anyone else did and felt he'd found an actor who understood his unique work perfectly. And where else can you find a review that eulogises Viggo's butt?



© Miramax/Zenith.


The Reflecting Skin


His voice is such a growl that you find yourself leaning toward the screen to catch the words. His features are well defined but suggest a curious amalgam of Kirk Douglas' and Burt Lancaster's. His credits include Swing Shift, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Young Guns II, but his onscreen time is so limited that you still may not know who Viggo Mortensen is. In his latest film, The Reflecting Skin, British writer-director Philip Ridley's disturbing tale of repression and decay in the American heartland, Mortensen doesn't appear until an hour has passed - but when he does he immediately marks himself as one of those actors who doesn't need fancy lighting to be incandescent. Cast as a young man returning from the Pacific (where he dropped bombs on sleepy atolls), he displays surly, distant passion that's at odds, yet perfectly in step, with a small town that is seething beneath its bucolic veneer. Word is that he fires up the screen in Sean Penn's directorial debut, The Indian Runner, a film about a good brother and a bad brother that is due for release in September. It's not hard to figure out which brother Mortensen plays.

Viggo Mortensen Interview
by Martha Frankel
June 1991




The Reflecting Skin is one of Viggo Mortensen's first films. Talk about casting and working with him.

"My memory of this is probably wrong, but the way that I remember it is I'd known [casting director] Vicky Thomas for a while so she knew what I was after. Viggo came in initially as someone that I should meet: 'He's an interesting actor, he's your kind of actor. You should meet him.'

"We sent him some of the scenes, and my memory of it was 'this guy is fantastic.' I knew we were going to get on because I do other things – write poetry and take photographs - and Viggo does the same thing. I was staying in a hotel in Los Angeles, and Viggo came around to see me. And we got on like a house on fire from the moment he walked in the door. We couldn't stop talking, we had so much in common. Luckily that's happened to me three or four times: someone has walked through my door and I know I'm looking at a superstar. It hasn't happened for them yet, but you know they've got something very, very special. The star charisma was just overwhelming. By the time we finished talking, he had to play Cameron."

Philip Ridley
hmv.com talks to Reflecting Skin director Philip Ridley
HMV.com
10 March 2016




Viggo shows up well into the film, and we see an early example of his willingness to be both vulnerable and venomous. Naturally, too, we see his buttocks, surely at least part of the appeal for some audience members. It's a beautifully realized scene of vulnerability (echoing perhaps the famous photo of Lennon/Ono by Leibovitz) and it's one of the film's most striking moments.

Jason Gorber
Twitchfilm
23 July 2015




Mortensen also gets to shine in a smaller than expected role but one which is typically interesting of the actor. This is an early role for the actor but one which really begins to show the brilliant talent that would emerge post Lord of the Rings.

David Bishop
Suite 101
16 June 2010




For some, the early lead performance by Viggo Mortensen (who also shows up in Darkly Noon) will be a draw; the then-31-year-old weighs in with a cloaked, edgy turn later elaborated on in Sean Penn's essential The Indian Runner.

Mortensen fits right into the curdled nostalgia of the piece.

Rob Gonsalves
E Film
27 July 2019



The Passion of Darkly Noon


....his reputation for dwelling deep within his characters was established long before Rings. 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."

Viggo Trip
by Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39
2002




"We were on location in what used to be East Germany, on the Czech border. I was there on my own, I didn't have anybody that I needed to talk to on the phone, so I thought I'd try to warm up because I didn't have a rehearsal period. I literally worked the day after I got there. When I stepped off the plane I decided not to say anything. I thought 'I'll just do this today' and then I just kept doing it. I did it the whole month I was there, which was really interesting because I did hear more what was being said, and I did watch people's reactions more closely."

Viggo's Box
By Craig Clevenger
Fond Affexxions #5
Winter Thaw 1995




'Viggo is one of the few people I've worked with who, I feel, is a true kindred spirit. From the moment we first met - when I was casting The Reflecting Skin in Los Angeles - it was as if we'd known each other all our lives. He understands my work totally. By the time we were doing Darkly Noon I hardly had to give him a word of direction. He knew instinctively what I wanted. Just as well really. Because Viggo - being Viggo - decided that, as he was playing a mute, he wouldn't speak at all for the duration of making the film.'

Philip Ridley at the Tokyo International Film Festival
From "The American Dreams: Two Screenplays by Philip Ridley'
Methuen 1997




…Fraser isn't the only person who shines here. Mortensen is quite the revelation as well. Although he has no dialogue throughout as Clay is a mute, his silent actions are evidence that this actor is not one who doesn't need lines to act the role of his career. To a lesser-talented actor, this restriction might have resulted in a poor performance but does not.

"The Passion of Darkly Noon" Review
By Russell Hill
WILDsound



…Mortensen does his usual fine work here, getting across the depth and intensity of his feelings without the use of speech.

Fangoria
Issue 295
September 2010




'Many actors tend to think of their work in terms of career - this strange sort of concept that acting is like climbing up a mountain, that they get bigger with each job - and art doesn't move like that. Viggo knows that instinctively.'

Philip Ridley
Super Natural
by Anna David
Daily Telegraph 2002




What has caused him to race down from his suite, probably giving several PR assistants heart attacks in the process, is the urge to impress upon me that one director has inspired him more than any other he has worked with - Philip Ridley, the British film-maker who cast Mortensen in his Lynchian adult fairy-tales, The Reflecting Skin (1990) and The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995).

"That man will never sell out," he enthuses, "because his vision is unique."

Viggo Mortensen: A Method Actor in Middle-Earth
by Ryan Gilbey
The Independent.uk
2001


Quotable Viggo: 20 July 2019

As this is Aragorn week (like every week in our hearts, of course) I thought we'd stay in Middle-earth a wee while longer. We have become used, over the years, to reading stunning reviews of Viggo's performances. Critics get very excited when a new film with Viggo comes out. But when Fellowship of the Ring premiered, he had been mostly under-the-radar for some time. Then suddenly his performance as Aragorn burst onto the screens like a supernova and the critics saw the light. So, here is a round-up of his reviews across the whole Trilogy. Yup - Return of the King indeed.



© New Line Productions Inc.


Fellowship of the Ring

Mortensen, in the film's best performance, brings heroic stature to Aragorn, befitting a man descended from kings. Aragorn's conflict with Boromir, given haunting complexity by Bean, strikes at the essence of brotherhood and roots the film in emotion. It's emotion that makes Fellowship stick hard in the memory.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Jan. 17, 2002




…Billy Boyd and Sean Astin nearly steal the picture as the accident prone comic relief. Nearly, but not quite. That is left to Viggo Mortensen as mysterious warrior Aragorn. Brooding, intense, and handy with a blade, Mortensen is the film's greatest strength - Han Solo to Wood's Luke Skywalker.

Nev Pierce
11 December 2001
BBC. co.uk




Viggo Mortensen, I predict, will become a heart-throb after his romantic and brooding turn as heroic warrior Aragorn.

Henry Fitzherbert
The Express on Sunday
December 16, 2001




Viggo Mortensen stuns as the tormented, destiny-shucking warrior Aragorn, exuding a bravery that will make men admire him and an intensity that will make women want to hop into his leather jerkin. (Let's just hope he doesn't inspire a resurgence in Renaissance Faire fashion.)

Tor Thorsen
Reel.com 2001




The real champ of the film, even over Sir Ian... is Viggo Mortensen… Picture Han Solo without the wisecracks mixed with and Indian scout mixed with Sir Lancelot stirred together with the leadership and loyalty of a leader we all wish we had. In the dictionary under the term "Star making performance" there should be a photo of Viggo as Aragorn. The only thing keeping him from becoming the next HUGE leading man is if he decides he doesn't want to be. Women will love him and men will too. To top it off, he has a terrific (but brief) scene of incredible romance.

Nick Nunziata
CHUD
December 2001




The Two Towers

As Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen's weathered face brings his character an intensity and life that the book's extensive backgrounding never did; his threadbare regality is more eloquent than any exposition.

Russel Swensen
LA Weekly
December 20-26 2002




Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn carries himself with the perfect air of strength, compassion, and quiet nobility that you expect from someone who you would be willing to follow into battle.

efilmcritic.com
Brian McKay
22 December 2002




Towers belongs to Mortensen, an actor of considerable range who makes Aragorn's moral and romantic dilemmas seems amazingly plausible and immediate.

Louise B. Hobson
Calgary Sun
December 18th, 2002




Mortensen as much mobilizes this cast of thousands externally as he does within the narrative, and plays the true-hearted hero with enough gravity to make Aragon believable without slipping into parody Prince Valiant clichés.

Todd Gilchrist
FilmStew.com
18 December 2002




It's crucial that the film, like the journeys it narrates, is straggly. I spent the duller sections thinking about how flaxen-haired Legolas looks like a Milky Bar hippy as he pings his egg-slicer-strong arrows at the barbarous monsters. I also drifted off looking at Viggo Mortensen: has a more virile, dynamic actor ever appeared on the silver screen?

Sukhdev Sandhu
The Daily Telegraph
December 18, 2002




Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn easily dons the mantle of epic hero that used to be worn by Charlton Heston, and he's a lot sexier.

Christopher Tookey
The Daily Mail
December 20, 2002




Viggo Mortensen finds an astonishing stillness and poise at the heart of Aragorn.

Suzi Feay
The Independent on Sunday
December 15, 2002



Return of the King

Aragorn has the slinky swagger and dreamy stubble that make him look like a legend created by Tolkien, Sam Shepard and Ralph Lauren. Fortunately Mr. Mortensen also has a touch of modesty as an actor, which allows him to take up space as if he belongs in the center of the frame rather than battling the other performers for it.

The New York Times
Triumph Tinged With Regret in Middle Earth
Elvis Mitchell
December 16, 2003




This is Return of the King though, and Viggo is that king… Viggo is noble, Viggo is powerful, Viggo is resplendent. He's a young Sean Connery but with a grittier style. More than anyone else, this is Aragorn's film.

Film Hobbit
Cinemablend.com
16 December 3003




The dashing Mortensen never lets his audience down…

Diana Saenger
Reeltalkreviews.com
December 2003




Subtly, Mortensen suggests that gradually Aragorn is growing into the stature of a king. The scene in which he walks into a cave filled with evil spirits, all of them transparent and angry, is dramatically and technically brilliant, a metaphor made real.

Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 16, 2003




As the capstone to one of the single greatest achievements of modern motion-picture history, The Return of the King is generally peerless - Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, the King of the title, is inescapably Shakespearean in the meaty thrust and parry of his role...

Marc Savlov
The Austin Chronicle
19 December 2003




...Viggo Mortensen takes his final step towards stardom…

Scott Weinberg
Efilmcritic.com
17 December 2003



Quotable Viggo: 13 July 2019

It's a long time since we had a Lord of the Rings Quotable and I was thinking – what would the films have been without Viggo? A bit like the book without Aragorn, I imagine. Ignoring the fact that no one else could have embodied Aragorn the way Viggo did, can you imagine the shoot without Viggo's extraordinary work ethic, his friendship and care for all those around him, his deep research into all things Tolkien? In the same way that Aragon did his best to look after and inspire the Fellowship, Viggo became the natural leader of the cast, his energy, thoughtfulness and sheer grit taking them all gracefully through very difficult shooting conditions.



© New Line Productions Inc.


'Viggo came late to the project, but he brought a dedication and an understanding of the role that became an example, particularly to the younger cast members. You have to remember that this was Orlando Bloom's first movie. Not only was Viggo valuable in his performance, but he was valuable as a leader of the cast.'

Barrie Osborne
The Lord of the Rings: The Untold Story
By Ian Nathan, Empire
December 2004




"It's interesting, because Viggo is such a humble individual...We sort of viewed him as our king and as an inspiration, and I think that he certainly wouldn't see himself as that. There is quiet leadership to him, and it's not intentional, and I think it's simply because he takes care of the people around him."

Elijah Wood
The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine, 2004




"Viggo's a leader, just by sheer dint of his personality. He's an example to us all."

Bernard Hill
Viggo Mortensen
by Desmond Sampson
Pavement #62, 2003




'Viggo is just the coolest guy, it's hard to say too much about how cool he is. If you spend enough time with people they will do something to piss you off, or that shows them to be just a normal human being, but I think Viggo does like to push himself to be just the best person he can, and that comes across. If you believe in reincarnation, he does seem to be quite far along his line. He does seem to have learned a lot of lessons, and seems quite old and wise. But he's not a serious fuddy-duddy. He'll go surfing with us, and he likes to go out at night and have some drinks.'

Billy Boyd
Lone Star
By Peter Ross
Sunday Herald, 2004




Instead of the standard luxury lodging demanded by most stars on set, Viggo and co-star Orlando Bloom shared a converted bus while filming Rings. Viggo stocked the bus with a wine cellar and wallpapered the inside with candid behind-the-scenes photos. A source on the set said the bus was the site of frequent cast parties, with the motto, "Everyone is welcome, but when it's time to go, get out!"

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




"Watching the dedication of Viggo Mortensen is really inspiring. He is Aragorn. One time I wanted to film the sunrise and sunset for a Fellowship scene. Viggo said, "I'll just camp out," and pretty soon, we had everyone there--the makeup crew, Orlando Bloom and other cast members who weren't in the shot, like Miranda Otto and Bernard Hill. We made a big fire, camped out, filmed our early sunrise shot and went fishing. It was great!"

Barrie Osborne
Source Unknown
2003




Mortensen's humility and generosity turned his Rings co-stars into some of his biggest fans. They tell you of the time when a snowstorm shut down production. The cast was being transported to safety when Mortensen seized a four-wheel drive vehicle and drove back to the set in order to save the hobbits' four-feet-tall scale doubles from getting snowbound.

The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere
January 2003




"At the end of shooting one day, we went out and had a drink and Viggo was just so encouraging of everybody he'd worked with, including the extras. He always had a kind word to say to everyone. And I don't know anyone who has a bad word to say about him. He bought flowers for all the extras on one incredibly rainy day. He was just really generous with his time but he never talked himself up. He's quite shy about talking about his own achievements. They were really lucky they got him for this. He kind of makes the film for me."

Jed Brophy
Viggo Mortensen
by Desmond Sampson
Pavement #62, 2003




"It's funny: you look back on these things 10 years later and ask yourself, 'Who had a major impact on me?' As an actor, it was Viggo. I was unpacking a load of boxes recently, recounting old memories, and I remembered how lucky I was that he was around me at that time."

Orlando Bloom
April 2011
Shortlist.com




"I read an article that said, 'Finally, someone's found the niche for Viggo Mortensen: the rugged hero who has a deep intellect and a great humanity. That's what Aragorn is, because Viggo has brought that to it. He's very like that as a human being."

Bernard Hill
It's Good to be "King"
by Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today, 2003




"After the end of a long day's shooting, when all the other cast would be either in bed or in the bar, [partner and co-screenwriter Fran Walsh] and I would be home grappling with the script for the next week's shooting. At midnight, a nine-page handwritten memo would come rattling through the fax from Viggo, outlining his thoughts about that day's work and the next few days to come. He would suggest passages from the book we should look at. This wasn't an exception - over 15 months it became the rule. In the small hours, it was actually comforting to know there was somebody else out there grappling with the same nightmare that we were."

Peter Jackson
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003




He hadn't read 'Lord of the Rings' at all when he came to the project. By the end of it all I think Viggo knew more about Tolkien and his context than anybody else on the whole production. He read absolutely everything there was - every critical book there was to lay hands on. He doesn't do things by halves!

Jude Fisher
Q&A at Book Signing
The Science Museum, London
November 8, 2003
Published with permission from Ian Smith




'In many ways I realized no matter how much I researched and drew from that, in the end my best resource and closest thing to what we were going through as characters was what we were going through as people."

Viggo Mortensen
Good Fellow
by Jamie Painter Young
Backstage West
5 January 2004




'Ultimately, you create your own luck. Fate does step in. When we ended up with Viggo, fate was dealing us a very kind hand. Viggo, in hindsight, was the one person who was perfect for this film.'

Peter Jackson
The Lord of the Rings: The Untold Story
By Ian Nathan, Empire
December 2004




"For me, Viggo is one of the heroes of the film and a personal hero, in that he's a great friend and someone I admire in his approach to making the film.'

Barrie Osborne (Producer)
Viggo Mortensen
by Desmond Sampson
Pavement #62, 2003




"In a story like Lord of the Rings, whether the Ring and Sauron are evil is incidental to me. Even if we were not to get the Ring anywhere near Mount Doom. Even if we all died. It doesn't really matter," Mortensen says. "It's the fact that everybody got together and decided to go on this trip. That's the thing. That's the miracle."

Viggo Mortensen
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003




"I felt I had to do other things than just act,' he says. 'That's why The Lord of The Rings answered my desires. There was art, poetry and acting all in one role. Even if I live to be 100, I'll never forget the thrill and the memory."

Viggo Mortensen
I've Loved All My Leading Ladies
by Garth Pearce,
Now magazine, 2002



Quotable Viggo: 7th July 2019

Viggo is now deep into editing ‘Falling’. Finally he has complete control of the finished look and performances of a film he is in after years of submitting ‘unfinished pictures’, as he described the actor’s lot in 2002. So I was thinking - which films and performances does Viggo like to watch? We know that going to the cinema as a young man nudged him towards acting because he wanted to discover just how cinema magic was woven. But it's not all Dreyer, Bergman and Pasolini...



Image Emma McIntyre.
© Getty Images.



'….I went to see films with my mother when I was a child. Towards twenty, I lived for a year close to London, and I went to a cinema which only showed classics. I discovered Bergman, Ozu, Pasolini, Dreyer ... It was a revelation.'

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




"I started thinking about acting about a year before I actually tried it," he says. "I just started watching movies in a different way, not just as entertainment. I started to really think about the ones that got to me, the ones that transported me so that, when I walked out of the theater, I'd be surprised. I'm really not in the desert? Or the 18th century? And I started to wonder what's the trick, how does a movie do that to you, technically? I wanted to try and figure that out."

Viggo Mortensen on 'Two Faces of January,' LOTR and what his movies teach him
By Stephen Whitty
The Star-Ledger
21 September 2014




'I discovered [The Passion of Joan of Arc] when I was 20. I didn't know very much about movies, I wasn't even an actor: I wasn't yet measuring all of Dreyer's esthetic innovation and radicalism, but it still had a crazy effect on me. The story, the way it's told, but especially her, Falconetti: her modern way of acting, her immediacy. Whatever moment you're watching the film, she's there.'

Viggo talking about Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc
"It's women who made me want to be an actor."
By Clélia Cohen - translated by Donna Marie
Vanity Fair (France)
June 2014




He opens a large cardboard box at his feet. There are about a dozen books... all are published by Perceval, a small press he runs with a partner. Then he pulls out a DVD of The Passion of Joan of Arc, a 1928 silent movie. He informs me that the original negative was destroyed in a fire, and that the filmmaker died believing his masterwork had been obliterated. But a complete version was found in a closet in a Norwegian mental institution in the early 1980s and was restored.

"You published this too?" I ask.

"Nah," he says. "You should just see it."

Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004




"The real trigger for me was the film that everyone was talking about when I was twenty: The Deer Hunter, particularly Meryl Streep. What an inspiration! All the actors in that movie are amazing, no doubt; but there's something about Meryl Streep in that movie that makes me identify with her. I don't know why, something mysterious that you can't put your finger on, but which haunts you deeply, and for a long time..."

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




'Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, Jessica Lange in Frances, Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata, Anna Magnani... All of these roles have something indiscreet, indecent. You don't necessarily need to go through a series of tearful or hysterical scenes, it can be very sober and minimal, but this impression of seeing "inside" the person remains. This exposing of emotions touched me and inspired me very much.'

"It's women who made me want to be an actor."
By Clélia Cohen - translated by Donna Marie
Vanity Fair (France)
June 2014




"When I saw Death in Venice, by Visconti, I had a big shock. It is one of the movies that has really inspired me. I saw it again recently, it's a little dated, especially the flashbacks, but still ... That mixture of beauty and sadness ... And also the performance of Dirk Bogarde is so extraordinary! Its impact on me has been enormous."

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




It should come as no surprise to learn that Mortensen is an admirer of Greta Garbo, the "I vant to be alone" diva, and also John "The Duke" Wayne, star of Howard Hawks' Red River, a classic western and one of Mortensen's favourites.

"I just think John Wayne was wonderful, and I'm not looking at him as just this icon," said the chisel-jawed actor, a study in seriousness behind innocent blue eyes.

A New John Wayne: Viggo Mortensen Saddles Up for Hidalgo
By Peter Howell
Toronto Star
5 March 2004




"I like Missouri Breaks. And Red River, a case, as in this movie, where most of the main actors are not known as "western" actors. Montgomery Clift had basically never done a movie, much less a western, and he's an urban easterner. He comes out stepping smack in the middle of John Wayne's turf, and working for Howard Hawks, he must have been a little nervous, I'm sure. But he did a great job. I think he pushed Wayne into giving my favorite Wayne performance."

An Actor Lured By Western Promise
By Ty Burr
Boston Globe
28 September 2008




'I think I insulted [Warren Robertson] one time, unintentionally, but he knew what I meant. The teacher had talked about a certain movie, I think it was a movie with Montgomery Clift... I can't remember. But anyway, I went to see it, and I remember saying, you know, "I learned as much from that movie as probably a month of going to class..."'

Viggo talking about his time at the Warren Robertson Theatre Workshop
Viggo's Box
By Craig Clevenger
Fond Affexxions #5
Winter Thaw 1995




'I'd call my mom, and she'd say, "How are you doing?" "Oh, fine." "What have you guys been doing?" "Well, Henry and I watched all three Godfather films. He didn't care for the third one, but he liked the first two." And she'd say, "Isn't he a little young for that?" "No, he can handle it.'

Viggo Mortensen: Grilled
By Steve Pond
The Wrap
25 November 2009




"I am an old romantic, and I love costume movies. Elizabeth is my favourite."

A Latin Man Comes From The North
By Riccardo Romani - translated by Cindalea
GQ (Italy)
May 2007




Are there special actors or movies that influenced you as a lad/young man?

(to do interview via email is a classic horror scenario because of the often very short answers, for example to a question like this. But Viggo Mortensen begins his answer with "Among others" and then mentions 88 movies and 63 actors. Very kindly he points out that nothing must be edited away. All mentioned, nobody forgot. )

Euroman Interview
11 August 2015




He tries... never to watch the same film twice. "You can spend your whole life looking at movies made outside the United States [alone] and never see them all," he marvels. There is at least one exception to this rule, however: Adam Sandler's 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore, which he will watch any day, any time. The very mention of it makes him launch into his own Sandler imitation, which isn't half bad. "It's just one of those charmed movies," he says.

History Teacher
By Missy Schwartz
Entertainment Weekly
19 August 2005



Quotable Viggo: 22 June 2019

A friend recently described Viggo to me as ‘seductive’ and they weren’t just talking about how he looks. In films he’s been described as seductive playing everything from Satan to Freud, so what is it about Viggo that really draws everyone in? His looks certainly do, as does his extraordinary acting but there is something more. Viggo’s interesting take on it is that the most seductive characteristic anyone can have is honesty and there is a deep truthfulness and authenticity in everything he does which really resonates with people. I think Diane Lane hits the nail on the head in the last quote when she says that “he has a quality of self-knowing that challenges everyone that he meets”.



© Libertad Digital.


Are you are aware of being very seductive?

"Only when I get into a character. And only if I believe in it myself."

By Simona Coppa - translated by Ollie
Grazia
9 October 2012




[In Captain Fantastic] Mortensen infuses Ben with his own seductive temperament, while giving him a steely, patriarchal edge.

Ann Hornaday
The Washington Post
3 June 2016




"There are actors whose performances come as light emanating from the screen. Then there's Mortensen. His effect is gravitational. It draws you closer, inward."

Actor Geoffrey Rush after seeing the film at Tiff
Naked Viggo Mortensen: artist at work
By Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post Film Critic




He is Hollywood’s most appealing man probably because he is Hollywood’s least threatening man. He is paternal but not patronizing; he possesses strength without aggression. Even in his most violent scenes, the tension builds but Mortensen rarely acts on it until necessary — like a judo master, he seems able to take another’s energy and flip it to his advantage. You desire him, but he doesn’t set out to seduce. He is one of the few actors for whom the female gaze has been possible (the shock of seeing a naked man on the screen only exists because it is still so rare). The women in his movies are drawn to him as if there’s a hidden stillness that they need to reach, like finding a pond in the middle of a forest. So much of masculinity on film feels like watching a gift you don’t want being unwrapped. But Mortensen’s operates on another plane.

Viggo Mortensen, the Unlikely Leading Man
New York Times
By Thessaly La Force
15 October 2018




Viggo Mortensen, however, is that rare American actor who is both muscular and humane, tough and sensitive, fighter and lover. He seduces us with a threat of danger, his chiseled Nordic physique and stunning blue eyes.

Viggo Mortensen Talks The Road
By Anne Thompson
Indie Wire
13 September 2004




Viggo Mortensen is an extraordinarily beautiful man. But his handsome features are merely a suggestion of the tremendous sensitivity and resonant spirit that inform his inner self. He speaks with a gentle yet engaging passion and carries himself with a sense of calm that seems to radiate outwards to anyone in proximity - whether it be the ardent fans he enjoys speaking to while walking up red carpets or the hotel waiter who brings him boiling water so he can brew his cherished maté, a syrupy tea first tasted as a young boy growing up in Argentina.

Viggo Mortensen: "It's my nature to do a lot"
By covermg.com
10 July 2012




He’s a star who doesn’t act like a star, yet everyone in his orbit feels his power.

Joe Morgenstern
Wallstreet Journal
7 July 2016




As for Viggo Mortensen, whilst one always appreciates the power from his eyes and his physical presence, here, his capacity to invest total honesty into this impressive man who tries never to lie to his child even as he feels his life-force disappearing, is prodigious.

The Road
Hervé Deplasse
Brazil Magazine (French)
December Issue 2009




Is Viggo Mortensen the most interesting man in the world?

Viggo Mortensen: Still here, still fantastic
The Film Experience
By Nathaniel Rogers
24 April 2016




...while he’s clearly driven by a need to express himself via many outlets, he still exudes a sense of some private, fundamentally unknowable core self. It permeates his screen presence, too, and is part of what makes him so intriguing as an actor.

Viggo Mortensen: Still here, still fantastic
The Film Experience
By Nathaniel Rogers
24 April 2016




David Cronenberg said that when he first met you to talk about A History Of Violence, his goal was "to seduce Viggo". How did he go about it?

He was honest. I think the most seductive or interesting thing is when people are honest.

In Conversation With Viggo Mortensen
Dorian Lynskey
Empire
March 2008
Empire




All great artists reveal themselves more in their work than in interviews. Every time Viggo's in front of the camera or picks up a pen or a canvas or a camera, he's opening the door to his heart. This is where he's telling you the secrets of his life . . . Viggo cannot strike a fake note. I say with absolute experience that if he doesn't believe it, he won't do it.

Philip Ridley, Director
The Reflecting Skin and The Passion of Darkly Noon
The Telegraph




"...as an actor you can't wish to work with anyone more truthful and more honest than him. He brings an incredible pathos to the role, and I was so pleased to be doing scenes with him."

Sean Bean
A Fantastic Leap of Faith
by Brent Simon
Entertainment Today, 2001




"I think he has a quality of self-knowing that challenges everyone that he meets - perhaps unwittingly. But the electrical charge of that challenge of 'How well do you know yourself? Cause I know myself real well.' You know, that's kind of the unspoken Viggo experience. He's also fascinated by other people. And when you combine those elements, it's very charismatic. It can definitely be interpreted as sexy."

Diane Lane
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston
Premiere 2003

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Last edited: 18 August 2019 04:34:55