Quotable Viggo

Quotable Viggo 2020

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Quotable Viggo: 29 March 2020

In these frightening times when many of us are having to isolate ourselves and fall back on our own resources, it’s good to have some life philosophy to chew on and Viggo can be quite the philosopher. Here are some quotes I’ve gathered over the years to reflect on. No matter what our situation, stay curious, stay interested, stay deep in life and stay well out there in Viggoland!



© Libertad Digital.


"Time passes, the world changes, people evolve and it’s nice to stop every now and then and not do anything. I want to imagine things that interest me, to give myself time to get excited about something."

Viggo Mortensen
"I’m a guy who sticks his nose in everything"
By Stuart Gollum
Gala Magazine
30 August 2006




"It’s the endlessly entertaining, often ridiculous, sometimes admirable, sometimes embarrassing attempts that some people make to find some meaning in their lives that make life worth living."

What I’ve learned – Viggo Mortensen
By Kal Fussman
Esquire
22 April 2015




He understands why, in dire times, you'd be tempted to "set your house on fire and never answer the phone again, but it would be better to ask yourself: How can I be most useful to this world? Not that I'm some ****ing genius."

Viggo Mortensen (free radical)
Twenty one reasons to dig Viggo Mortensen
by Allison Glock
GQ Magazine 2003




“...I know I can’t read all the books or watch all the movies in one lifetime.” Does he find that frustrating? Mortensen fixes me with his intense blue gaze. “Mostly no,” he says. “If we could run out of books and movies, then we would be bored.”

Viggo Mortensen is lord of all things
Chitra Ramaswamy
The Scotsman
24 May 2013




"When I'm out in nature it can be an inspiration. If I am going through a rough period, if I just go out for a walk, on some level everything is all right because I'm here, do you know what I mean? That's my way of dealing with stress."

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




“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master,” he tells me. “He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”

Viggo Mortensen is lord of all things
Chitra Ramaswamy
The Scotsman
24 May 2013




“I like to write and paint and make music and go walking on my own and garden. In fact, gardening is probably what I enjoy doing more than anything else.”

Really? Anything else?

He looks at me, his gaze is quite level. “I like gardening a lot.”

Viggo Mortensen on 'A Dangerous Method'
By John Preston
Seven Magazine
The Telegraph
11 February 2012




‘I feel at home in many places, and with time, I learned that in life it is more important who you are, what you do and how you feel than where you are.’

Viggo Mortensen Under The Spotlight
Selecciones Magazine - Translated for V-W by Graciela
March 2009




"To survive in the world, we have to interpret our sense of what is happening and at times, it's important to know. People can separate artists and those that think they aren't [artists], but all of us are artists. It's something that we do all the time, interpreting signs that are given to us and other situations, imagining consequences. It's a way to get involved, to link yourself with the environment, with what surrounds you."

"We are all artists" - Viggo Mortensen
By Susana Parejas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
7 Dias
2 September 2012




"A photo, a painting, a poem or music that we use to express our experience is not the main thing, but what you are expressing. How you sense the world around you is art in its own form. To stop for one silent moment and just see what happens."

Viggo Mortensen
Margt til lista lagt article from Fréttablaðið
visir-is
Translated by Ragga
June 2008




"For a long time now, I’ve been certain of one thing: there are more things that connect me to others than there are things that divide us. We should be able to all understand each other. I’ve proved it."

I wouldn’t look the Alatristes of today in the eye
By Oskar L. Belategui, translated for V-W bu Margarita
Hoy Sociedad
3 September 2006




'Mother Nature is the first school. She makes you wise if you watch her. '

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




Q: What makes you happiest in life?

MORTENSEN: There's no one thing. I like a certain amount of solitude at times. I like feeling very free and open to the world. Any time I'm outdoors, whether it's in a desert or a sea or the forest. I like the elements - whatever the weather is, I don't feel that any moment is wasted at all.

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




“Even though many people seem to be not interested in art or in things like nature or life itself, we must force ourselves to remember, we must force ourselves to be deep in life."

Viggo Mortensen, The Photographer Of Dreams
By Giovanni Valerio - translated by Cindalea
Panorama First
July 2008




"I think five minutes can be an eternity if it's well used, you know. There are periods of time that are gems, but you don't have to go into a blizzard in South Dakota or into the rain forests of New Zealand or the middle of the Sahara. You can find that just walking down the street."

Viggo Mortensen
The Rebel King
By Chris Heath
GQ magazine, 2004




"My house is the Atlas mountains or the Iceland ice, the forest, the rivers or the sea, the stars, the setting sun. If I stop one day, I die. You must make the difference between loneliness and isolation: between the two, I see a road that can take me farther than I would dare imagine. And wherever this leads me, I still want to take it!"

"You must read Camus if you're plugged in"
By Cécile Lecoultre - translated by Donna Marie
24 Heures
27 January 2015




"We are the stories we tell about ourselves, the stories we tell about others, the stories we read about everyone and every thing."

Viggo Mortensen’s heroes
Ethan Gilsdorf,
Boston Globe
3 March 2012

Quotable Viggo: 21 March 2020

This week we have the third part of our look at Viggo’s work with Actor/Directors. Viggo was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Ben Cash in Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic, taking the role a little away from Ross’s original concept but delivering a performance full of authenticity which Ross loved. An actor giving another actor space to truly create something remarkable. Not for nothing was Viggo Ross’s first and only choice.



© Eric Simkins/Bleecker Street.


I often ask actors what it's like to work with directors with an acting background but, strangely, so seldom get to ask actor-turned-directors what it's like to work with actors.

[Laughs] I think it makes them comfortable because I'm an actor. I think a lot of directors don't understand the acting process. I think they feel alienated from it. They're either overtly respectful or overtly disdainful of it, you know? It's very hard! Good acting is seamless, right? That's why everyone thinks they can do it. Good acting should look absolutely seamless. It's like ducks: the feet are really moving under the water. I think I understand the process because I've been an actor my whole life. Truthfully, I love acting and I love actors. Not all directors do.

A Conversation with Matt Ross & Viggo Mortensen
Anthem
20 May 2016




"Viggo was an easy first choice, casting him was intuitive."

Matt Ross
Film takes audience on 'Fantastic' journey
Jay Meehan,
The Park Record
21 January 2016




“Viggo was a central collaborator in terms of his ideas about the script. He had wonderful and insightful ideas about everything, including adding his own original music to the film. For me, he exemplifies a very high level of artistry and integrity. That is one of the things that made him my first choice to play Ben, Physically and temperamentally, he was absolutely right.”

Director Matt Ross
Cannes Press Kit
May 2016




‘I've been around long enough to know to know that this was one of the best things I'd read in a long time. But I have to say, when I met Matt Ross, I said, "This is a great script, a near perfect blueprint for a story, but I don't know how you can make a movie as good as the script unless you find six genius kids." He said, "Well, we will try!" I was nervous. Fortunately, he included me in the process of the final auditions for each of the kids' roles and they were all so talented.’

Viggo Mortensen on Captain Fantastic, Being Typecast, and the Long-term Benefit of Being in Lord of the Rings
Vulture
7 December 2016




…almost as soon as they began talking about the movie, Mr. Mortensen sent Mr. Ross a 10-page list of factual questions. "He was very interested in the family compound," Mr. Ross said. "He wanted to know all about the sanitation, the water source, the food supply — things like that."

Viggo Mortensen Goes Off the Grid With 'Captain Fantastic'
By Charles McGrath
The New York Times.
28 June 2016




What are the distinct differences you see in being directed by someone who is also an actor? Are there things Matt did as a director that made your job easier?

You don't have to be a great actor to be a good director of actors. But I haven't seen anybody do a better job of than Matt did of going the extra mile every day to make sure everybody was comfortable, and not just the kids. This was only his second full-length film. It was very ambitious. We're talking about an indie movie where we are changing locations almost every day, you have a lot of child actors who have limited working hours legally, and you are shooting outdoors a lot of the time. That would be challenging for any director, even a seasoned one. But he was great at creating the illusion. That's how good an actor he is: Inside, he was probably ready to curl up and die. [Laughs.]

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen on Captain Fantastic, Being Typecast, and the Long-term Benefit of Being in Lord of the Rings
Vulture
7 December 2016




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
May 2016




How different was the character from the page to what Viggo Mortensen brought to it?

Ross: I think the character as originally conceived was a little bit more… he had a bit more of a twinkle in his eye, a little more of a trickster. Not a jokester because that implies a broad comedic performance. What [the character’s] doing is so extreme and rigid, I thought one of the ways he would counter balance that is with a real ‘joie de vivre’ – a real playful, fun father. So he was constantly mocking his children and playing with them and poking at them. It was different kind of energy. More like Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. A guy that you love and want to be around. Not obnoxious but playful. But that’s just not Viggo’s energy and I never really talked to him about it. I just let him reflect and interpret [the part] as he would. I liked what he did because what he does is bring credibility and an authenticity. I thought that was just as valid of an interpretation.

Matt Ross Reveals How ‘Captain Fantastic’ Changed from the Page to the Screen
by Tommy Cook
Collider.com
7 September 2016




“...what was surprising to me about working with him is that I could never catch him acting. He doesn't have any false moments."

Matt Ross
Dr. No: Viggo Mortensen Has Made Turning Down Roles Into an Art Form
By Oliver Jones
The Observer
6 July 2016




‘…for me, I can have no better faith than in Viggo Mortensen.’

Matt Ross
Captain Fantastic: Viggo Mortensen and Matt Ross Interview
Jason Gorber
Dorkshelf.com
14 July 2016




“I’m thrilled that CAPTAIN FANTASTIC has been included among this year’s Academy nominees! Our movie has heart and brains. It entertains, inspires, and encourages honest communication in equal measures. I’m extremely proud to represent Matt Ross’ extraordinary story. It is one of the finest collective efforts I’ve ever been a part of. YES WE CAN! I wish my mother, who loved movies and taught me about them, was still here to enjoy this moment.”

Viggo’s reaction to his Oscar Nomination
Entertainment Weekly
25 January 2017




How much of Viggo Mortensen is there in the movie, since you also have a farm, make cheese...?

Viggo Mortensen: I don´t make cheese, that comes from a lie told by Karl Urban three years ago, he said I had a farm in Segovia, something I would love.

Matt Ross: He makes all his clothes and shoes. I´m going to continue making myths about you.

More on Viggo’s goat farm...
Hablamos con Viggo Mortensen y Matt Ross por el estreno de 'Captain Fantastic'
By Mikel Zorrilla
Blog de Cine
19 September 2016




Viggo Mortensen’s dedication to his craft and to the world of the story he’s telling have been an inspiration to me for years,” said Ross. “There is a depth to his art that I greatly admire. Any film he’s in is a film I want to see. He’s one of the greats. Getting to collaborate with him on Captain Fantastic is quite literally the best thing that’s happened to me since my wife asked me to marry her.”

Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen To Star In Electric City’s ‘Captain Fantastic’
By Mike Fleming Jnr
Deadline.com
20 February 2014


Quotable Viggo: 14 March 2020

This week is the second part of my look at Viggo’s work with Actor/Directors and we are revisiting The Indian Runner. It was directed by the rather volatile Sean Penn and Viggo gives one of my favourite performances of all time in the film. There was an interesting dynamic between Sean and Viggo throughout filming, stemming in part from the fact that Sean was an actor and Frank was a part that was right up his acting street. Sparks definitely flew but the result was – as we all know – completely mesmerising.



© Westmount.


Taking his cue from Bruce Springsteen's song "Highway Patrolman", Penn spins a morose tale of two brothers in late Sixties' Nebraska: one good (local cop, family man) and one bad (Vietnam veteran, petty criminal). It is easy to see Penn's furrowed brows behind Frank, the hell-raising brother who fights shy of responsibility and spits out half-chewed peas at his pregnant child bride.

Geoff Brown
The Times
November 28, 1991




“I was over at Robin [Wright]'s little house in Santa Monica Canyon, waiting for her to get dressed for a date. The television was on, sound off, and I saw a face: he was only a cameo in a movie, but I saw the face that I'd had in my head when I wrote Indian Runner. He had something, an angularity, a severity to his handsomeness that I perceived as being 'like Frank'. So I watched the movie through, and I called Don and said, 'Find out who he is.'”

Sean Penn
When Viggo Met Sean
filminfocus.com
7 Sept 2007
Excerpted from Sean Penn: His Life and Times by Richard T Kelly




'One day, during the filming of I can't remember which film, I went back to my hotel and found a message: "Sean Penn called you," with a telephone number. I asked myself which of my friends was playing a trick. And there was a spelling mistake in Sean. I call: "Sean Penn?" "Yeah," replies Sean Penn, grumpily. "It's Viggo Mortensen. What do you want?" I didn't even realise I could have been friendlier. (Laughs.) And then, he told me about "Indian Runner'. He saw me in "Fresh Horses', a TV film which I had made for HBO. I had a little scene at the end. He sent me the script and I was instantly hooked. At the start, I preferred the character which was finally played by David Morse. Mine was just described as "the baddy'. But I said to myself that, behind the slightly too obvious behaviour of Frank Roberts, there had to be a really complex reason. The filming was extremely interesting ... The more so because Sean was very involved. It was there I became friends with Dennis Hopper. After that, the offers arrived.'

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




"He was dazzlingly committed all the time. He literally brings the kitchen sink for a character," says Penn, who delighted in seeing Mortensen arrive on set each day with a "Santa Claus sack" full of various props he'd chosen. "He's an often solitary, very poetic creature, Viggo, and all of that worked [for the movie]."

History Teacher
By Missy Schwartz
Entertainment Weekly
19 August 2005




"Viggo's inherent kindness as a guy showed in a sort of languid movement. And that was a lesson for me about what parts of people express themselves without trying."

Sean Penn
When Viggo Met Sean
filminfocus.com
7 Sept 2007
Excerpted from Sean Penn: His Life and Times by Richard T. Kelly




“I had always thought of Frank as a barking dog that bites,' Penn says, 'so I asked Viggo to spend some time with a friend of mine who's a Hell's Angel who knows the world and also is a fighter - not that there's a lot of fighting in the movie, but I felt that he should know it and be able to feel that physical confidence.”

Sean Penn Bites Back
By Christopher Connelly
Premier
October 1991




“Sean had decided that Viggo and I were going to rehearse for two weeks, but we were only going to rehearse our big scene in the bar. So he had a bar set up in a gymnasium where we could shoot baskets but also really do our work. And during those two weeks, I have a feeling it was harder for Viggo, because Sean identified more with the role of Frank, and he would really try to push him to do certain things. But Viggo just kept holding back. He never really did the scene in those two weeks.... I think Sean was still a little nervous going into the bar scene. Then I remember a real struggle for what was going to happen, what the moments were going to be between the two of them. And something happened, it crystallized, and suddenly Viggo was on fire.”

David Morse
When Viggo Met Sean
filminfocus.com
7 Sept 2007
Excerpted from Sean Penn: His Life and Times by Richard T. Kelly




As moody and volatile as the problematic Frankie, "The Indian Runner" starts off with a killing and sustains a threat of possible violence throughout even its gentlest episodes. That threat is especially evident in the presence of Mr. Mortensen, a magnetic actor capable of both scary outbursts and eerie, reptilian calm. (Mr. Penn's own acting style is strongly echoed in this performance.) It is some measure of Mr. Mortensen's savage, mocking ferocity that in a final confrontation with Dennis Hopper, who plays a bartender given to in-your-face philosophizing, Mr. Hopper seems easily the tamer of the two.

Janet Maslin
New York Times
20 September 1991




“I think I stimulated Viggo's temper. And, as I remember, I think I got a little bit personal. But I think he was professionally responsive, he knew where to go for what I was looking for. When you're abusive to an actor, it's one thing-when you're abusive to a character, it's another. And I think I found it was helpful to both of us to raise my own tempo a little bit, get in the same place as him, share the vibe…”

Sean Penn
When Viggo Met Sean
filminfocus.com
7 Sept 2007
Excerpted from Sean Penn: His Life and Times by Richard T. Kelly




“I was praying for such a wonderful actor. I wasn't disappointed.”

Viggo Mortensen: The magician of The Lord of the Rings
by Aurelie Raya
Paris Match
8 January 2004




Facially, Mortensen looks like a cross between Sam Shepard and echt movie villain Lance Henriksen, a suggestion enhanced by his character's myriad jailhouse tattoos (applied in hours-long makeup sessions) and the unperiodlike leather brace on his right hand and wrist, which he wears constantly and removes only immediately before shooting. Word on the set is that Mortensen busted a knuckle and sprained his wrist during rehearsals for a fight scene, but when asked about the injury, his eyes take on a demonic glint.

'Sean Penn,' he says, 'bit me.'

Sean Penn Bites Back
By Christopher Connelly
Premiere
October 1991




"I remember Sean saying to me on about the sixth week of shooting," Indian producer Phillips recalls, "'Don, Viggo's going to be a humongous star.'"

Don Phillips
The Hero Returns
By Tom Roston,
Premiere 2003


Quotable Viggo: 7 March 2020

While we wait (and wait) for more Falling to fall into our laps, I’ve been thinking of the many films Viggo has made which have been directed by fellow actors. Captain Fantastic with Matt Ross, The Indian Runner with Sean Penn, Albino Alligator with Kevin Spacey (remember that one?) and, of course, Appaloosa, one of my favourite Viggo films with another of my favourite actors, Ed Harris.



© New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers.


In 2000, Ed Harris made his directorial debut with the fantastic Pollock. Hollywood pundits fawned over the film and the actor-turned-director ad nauseum. Strangely, his follow-up, the wonderful western, Appaloosa got largely lost in the shuffle. Even more irking, the always-strong Viggo Mortensen got little recognition for a nuanced supporting turn. With the moustache of the year (that should be an award), Mortensen turned a rather standard best-friend part into a quiet tour de force.

Oscar nominations 2009
Scott Taverner
martiniboys.com
January 2009




Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen, two of my favorite actors today, had the on-screen chemistry that every filmmaker dreams of. Rugged, badass and tough lawman who just flat out kicked ass through the whole film. Viggo played Everett Hitch, the faithful deputy/ sidekick and even the sometimes needed vocab checker to the infamous lawman Virgil Cole, played by Ed Harris. They were brilliant. There just isn’t much more I can say to communicate how well they were in Appaloosa.

Troy
Moviewiseguys.com
6 September 2008




Harris's first and only choice for the role of Everett Hitch was Viggo Mortensen, with whom he'd shared the screen in "A History of Violence."

"I had just finished reading Appaloosa when we shot 'A History of Violence,' and I gave it to Viggo and told him that I really wanted to make it into a film with him in it," recalls Harris. "One of the greatest things about Viggo is his sense of loyalty. He's a man of his word. Once he committed to the project, he was completely on board."

"We see eye to eye," says Mortensen of his experience working with Harris.

Appaloosa: New Western by Ed Harris
Emmanuellevy.com
August 2008




"He's got kind of a weird sense of humor I like."

Ed Harris
Mortensen Packs a Big Gun
By David Germain
Associated Press
17 September 2008




“Not only do I have a great respect for him as an actor but as a human being. He's a really decent guy. He's great on the set, treats everybody really respectfully. I just thought he'd be perfect. These were two guys who had to communicate a lot about being who they were and the knowledge of each other without really talking about it ... If Viggo couldn't have done it, I don't know if I would've made the movie”

Ed Harris
Viggo is one straight shooter
By Kevin Williamson
Toronto Sun
6th September 2008




“I figured if he wanted to do it - if he responded to the material - then he would immediately understand what this was between these guys without us having to talk about for hours on end,"

Ed Harris
Globe and Mail
22 September 2008




“ ….I like this one because it’s told in a leisurely pace. I enjoyed being in it because Ed didn’t try to reinvent the genre or appeal to younger audiences. He said, ‘This is how these stories are told, and I’m going to respect the genre.’”

Viggo Mortensen
Play It As It Lays
By Philip Berk
Filmink
April 2009




"Viggo is very detailed and he really got into the fact that Hitch had been at West Point - so he was particular about all of his gear, the saddlebags and his haircut. In the book, his character is probably a little more of a hick. But Viggo's thing was I don't want to say 'ain't.' Viggo wanted to refine Hitch a bit, to clean him up. It made sense and was a nice choice."

Ed Harris
Globe and Mail
22 September 2008




"When I first had [the 8-gauge shotgun], I said, `Do you really need it to be an eight-gauge, Ed? It's not that manageable, it's not going to be accurate at much distance. I said, `I'm not going to shoot that thing off a horse, because I'd get blown off the horse, realistically.'"

Mortensen Packs a Big Gun
By David Germain
Associated Press
17 September 2008




One area the actor always takes seriously, whether in The Lord of the Rings or Eastern Promises, is hair. For Appaloosa, Mortensen grew a thick goatee and bushy mustache while keeping his haircut military short, a reflection of Hitch's training at West Point.

"I showed up with it that way and just kind of maintained it," he says. "I based it on pictures."

As Mortensen discusses his versatile hair options, Harris, 57, chuckles. "I wish I had some versatile hair options," he says. "I actually had a (hair) piece made, and we screen-tested it. It was pretty interesting looking."

Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris gab about garb, camaraderie in Appaloosa
By Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today
2 October 2008
USA Today




“… the love of my life in the film … the beautiful Renée Zellweger.” and finally… “The REAL love of my life in the film, Viggo Mortensen”.

Ed Harris’s introductions
Appaloosa Premier at TIFF – reported by Topaz
5 September 2008




Mortensen said he was hooked by the dynamics between the two men. They love each other, said Harris, even if they might never say those exact words. It's a deep, complex friendship, though don't expect it to unravel like the one between the cowboys in Brokeback Mountain.

Said Mortensen: "They cut those scenes."

Appaloosa: TIFF press conference diaries
by Mark Medley
National Post
5 September 2008




"I'm really honoured and privileged to introduce to you a man of conviction, of compassion, intelligence, artistic integrity, a great actor and a fine citizen of the world, a man I'm proud to call my friend : Viggo Mortensen."

Ed Harris introducing Viggo at Deauville
With thanks to Dom and Ellie
13 September 2008


Quotable Viggo: 15 February 2020

Viggo's Directorial and Scriptwriting debut, Falling has finally premiered at Sundance and, of course, we are hoping that this will be the start of many Festival showings and a good run out there in Cinemaland. I've gathered together a mixture of reviews and comments (I was really hoping for more reviews!) for a Falling Quotable round-up, hopefully the first of many!



© HanWay Films/Perceval Pictures.


Mortensen says that even though his father, mother, grandparents and uncle all suffered from dementia, and that the film is dedicated to his two other brothers, this is not an autobiographical story but one that sprung out of many places and it just suddenly all came to him, like a dream, on that plane. It finally became a story of a fictional family that shares traits of his own. "A few days after I got home I said I'm just going to look at this thing because I ended up writing a short story sort of. On the plane I couldn't sleep so I just kept writing and then it just became something that had nothing to do with my family but this story."

Viggo Mortensen On 'Falling' Into A New Phase Of His Career With Directing Debut Set To World Premiere At Sundance
By Pete Hammond
Deadline.com
23 January 2020




He started sculpting a story about finding common ground with someone you disagree with.

"As I was writing the screenplay, I was thinking about what's actually happening in the country," he said. "How do you deal with hate speech or with someone who just doesn't accept, won't even listen to you, doesn't want to know anything about what you perhaps stand for, what you identify as — all those kinds of things."

'Falling': Lance Henriksen Says Viggo Mortensen's Feature Debut Made Him Realize The World Is Changing – Sundance Studio
ByDino-Ray Ramos
Deadline.com
28 January 2020




"I would've preferred not to be in the movie, I have to say that, but to get it made one of the conditions was I had to act in it. I've been around for a long time as an actor, but if you haven't directed a movie you haven't directed a movie – I'm unproven and I'm lucky to get a chance."

Viggo Mortensen talks directing debut 'Falling'; first look at family drama
Tom Grater
Screen Daily
15 May 2019




[Falling] gives erstwhile action star Henriksen (Bishop in "Aliens") an unprecedented opportunity to actually act…It took long enough for someone to entrust a part as tricky as this to Henriksen, whose plunge pays off in Mortensen's sensitive hands.

Peter DeBruge
Variety
24 January 2020




As a director, Mortensen doesn't make things easy for himself: We figure that a film like this is headed for some kind of redemption, but Willis seems completely irredeemable for much of the film. But Mortensen is too smart to go for an easy reconciliation, instead exploring shades of resignation and acceptance, particularly in the wake of an argument that can stand as a father/son version of the one in "Marriage Story" — primal and fearsome, it goes to places so dark that all the characters can do afterwards it attempt to crawl out of the wreckage.

"Falling" is a finely drawn character drama, as you might expect from much of Mortensen's acting career, and a film that pays attention to small details that bring these people to life.

Steve Pond
The Wrap
24 January 2020




Having quietly spent years augmenting his acting work with prodigious output in music, poetry and visual arts (not to mention founding a publishing house that champions other artists' work), Viggo Mortensen finally takes the director's chair in Falling, a masterful family drama taking a compassionate view of a father whose faults are impossible to ignore…

…Falling doesn't transform its emotional landscape into a simple question of rejection or forgiveness. It's comfortable knowing that meanness and affection can exist in the same person, and that tolerance, even when it only flows in one direction, benefits both giver and recipient.

John DeFour
Hollywood Reporter
24 January 2020




"Falling" is unpretentious and perfectly accessible to mainstream audiences. Mortensen's patience, his way with actors and his trust in our intelligence are not unlike late-career Eastwood, which isn't a bad place to be so early in one's directing career.

Peter DeBruge
Variety
24 January 2020




Since discovering his sexuality, his father Willis has questioned the truthfulness of John's reality in such insensitive ways that it's hard to picture why any son would stick around to help – blood or not. But in that regard, Mortensen delivers such a defining performance that is so capable of impacting many whose experience is similar. His character's reservations is matched with a nuanced delivery of emotion that feels as passionate as it is affecting.

Part of what makes Falling work for me is its dedication to not hide the ugly truth in what could've been a story that settled for stereotypical character growth and a happy ending. But if truth be told, it's also what makes Mortensen's Falling a difficult watch.

Brittany Witherspoon
Popculture Reviews
24 January 2020




Viggo gives a beautifully understated performance here, letting Henriksen (whom it's nice to see in a really meaty role, again) carry the load and dive into Willis' damaged psyche, giving a riveting performance, which allows the supporting cast to do just that: support a pair of great actors doing what they do.

Vsmoviepodcast
28 January 2020




In Mortensen's most notable directorial flare, Falling flashes back and forth between John's childhood on the farm and his present-day life in California as a well-to-do suburban husband to his Chinese-American partner, Eric, and father to their daughter, Monica (Gabby Velis). There's nothing novel about interwoven timelines, but Mortensen's vision of how the two interact is poignant and meditative.

Luke Hicks
Film School Rejects



In many ways Falling is a tough film to watch, as we're essentially voyeurs, watching horrible family dysfunction without it ever really amounting to much, other than the fact that there's some grace to forgiveness even if its undeserved. One can't fault the craft or the acting, with Mortensen low-key as the kindly son forced to keep in his simmering rage… One thing FALLING does that's terrific is that it gives Lance Henriksen a showcase role. One of the best in the biz, Henriksen's been perennially underrated ever since the eighties, and approaching eighty he's as good as he ever was, sinking his teeth into the role with vigor…

…It's a passionate debut for Mortensen but it's not an easy watch.

Chris Bumbray
JoBlo.com
24 January 2020




It's a confident, assured directorial effort by Mortensen, who breezes through the various time periods (with Borg/McEnroe star Sverrir Gudnason as young Willis) with ease…

…Falling makes the case that it is never too late to move beyond the hurt and chart a new course. It's a passionate, heartfelt debut for Mortensen, and a film many will relate to because of how tough the material is to watch.

Travis Hopson
Punch Drunk Critics
24 January 2020




The film does a super solid job of balancing the multiple facets of John's life. Be it his gay marriage, his Mexican speaking daughter, or his time spent serving his country. Rather than belabor any one point over the other, Mortensen peppers in each of these dynamics to perfection while still delivering the importance and power of each of these attributes. That is to say, it's not a 'gay' movie, it's not a 'political' movie, it's not an 'Alzheimer's' movie. No, it's a movie about a complicated, quiet, and modern-day life… Mortensen would tell the audience at the film's closing night Q&A that "there's no shame, no matter how hard it is, in forgiving and accepting. No matter how much you might hate them. You've only got the 1, or the 2. When they are gone, they are gone."

"Falling" is both a story about a trying child/parent relationship, and it's a film that you should watch.

Toni Gonzales
Awards Circuit
11 February 2020




The ending of Falling is ambiguous enough to allow the audience to decide where Willis ends up, and I'm okay with that. Everyone will bring their own experiences, opinions, biases, and baggage into the theater. What they bring out is up to them.

VSA Staff Writer
Vsmoviepodcast
28 January 2020




"We worked really hard. It's been a long road," he said. "You never know how people are going to look at a movie. You just have to make it and be faithful to what you're seeing, and hope other people like it. As William Goldman said, 'nobody knows anything.'"

Viggo Mortensen On 'Falling' Into A New Phase Of His Career With Directing Debut Set To World Premiere At Sundance
By Pete Hammond
Deadline.com
23 January 2020

Quotable Viggo: 9 February 2020

Viggo, we all know, is a man with an amazing array of different abilities. And now he’s showing the world his Directorial talents. He can do almost everything can’t he? Well – not quite and thank God otherwise we’d wonder if he was human! There are still a few areas where he’s challenged, though his motto mostly seems to be ‘just do it anyway’ because you never know what might come of it. As he says, below ‘What counts is the will, not the achievement of the goal.’



© Bleecker Street


Do you feel like a Renaissance man?

No, because even at 500 years old, I still wouldn't be able to get anything right.

Encounters - Direct Response from Viggo Mortensen
By - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
El Mundo
21 April 2015




The Lord of the Rings star shows a full complement of skills including driving the family's bus, lighting a fire, playing guitar and rock-climbing.

"To be honest about the climbing scenes, I have a little vertigo," says Mortensen. "It gets me. I’m glad I look like I’m comfortable."

Viggo Mortensen is a marvel in 'Captain Fantastic'
Bryan Alexander
USA Today
19 May 2016




“When everyone climbed down for lunch, I was still standing up there,” he said, laughing. “The kids were like ‘Viggo come down to lunch!’ and I said ‘No, just send a sandwich up!’ I was absolutely terrified. I couldn’t look down.”

Viggo Mortensen on His Idealistic New Film "Captain Fantastic"
by Gillian Sagansky
W Magazine
8 July 2016




… you took up surfing for the first time in New Zealand. How did that go?

Let's just say I'm not as good as the hobbits.

Chairman Of The Sword
By Liane Bonin
Entertainment Weekly
10 December 2003




“I don’t play soccer well… I sing just like I play soccer! But I like it, so I do it anyway, it’s just a matter of starting, fear is useless…”

Viggo Mortensen
A Hollywood star in RSM
Argentinean TV interview with Mariana Fabbiani
11 October 2008




'...I'm surprised they let me do [the paintings in A Perfect Murder], 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




“I usually use the excuse that everything is abstract. That way, I can do whatever I want. And if you don’t like it, it’s because you don’t get it,” he joked.

Viggo joking about his art
Viggo Mortensen Brings The Law Of Appaloosa To Madrid
By Jose Arce - translated by Graciela
La Butaca
20 November 2008




You’re a painter, a musician, a photographer, an actor, a poet and you’re a natural at swordplay. Is there anything you won’t try at least once?

You know what? I’m not so interested in skydiving. I’m not sure why anyone wants to jump out of a plane that’s working perfectly well.

The Last Word : Viggo Mortensen
Canadiens Magazine
8 December 2009




I don't read music and I've never had lessons but it's fun and I find it very relaxing. I'm okay with mistakes and people not liking what I play. I just do it.

Viggo Mortensen on Good
By Angus Fontaine
Time Out, Sydney
9 April 2009




‘When I'm awake, I dream of perfection. It's not about reaching it, I'm aware that it is not possible. My concern is to seek it, to try very hard to shoot the perfect movie, to have the perfect marriage, to paint the perfect painting – above all to know that it will never work out. What counts is the will, not the achievement of the goal.’

Viggo Mortensen
I Have A Dream
By Viggo Mortensen - translated by CoCo and Techadmin
Zeit magazine
23 July 2015




“I think I've learned more from my mistakes than from things that turned out well.”

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




What are you still determined to learn to do?

What I haven’t.

ForWord magazine
17 January 2007

Quotable Viggo: 1 February 2020

We know Viggo is a one-off original but it's surprising how often he's compared to the great actors of Hollywood's heyday. Most often to one of my favourite silver screen actors, Gary Cooper. I think it's a tribute to the huge range of his acting skills that he's been compared to everyone from James Dean to Robert Mitchum. Just for fun – because we know he's not really like any of them - I've pulled some of them together. It makes for rather a long Quotable and a few are quite surprising!



Two Faces of January image © StudioCanal


John Wayne and Harrison Ford

With his aqua blue eyes and chiseled jaw, he is every bit the American film hero - a Harrison Ford or a John Wayne, but with a darkness lurking beneath.....

Sasha Stone
Santa Monica Mirror
28 September 2005




Hands down, this is the best performance that Viggo Mortensen has given in a film yet. He is just breath-taking in the film......Viggo's acting here reminds me of vintage Harrison Ford, before... whatever happened to him. Think WITNESS or maybe even THE FUGITIVE. He's just very very good.

A History of Violence review
Harry
Ain't it Cool News
28 September 2005




A wonderful reflection on the evocative power of cinema. And, incidentally, the umpteenth confirmation of Viggo Mortensen´s great talent. Mustachioed , astride his horse in a cavalry uniform, sword in sheath and a splendid hat on his head, he is reminiscent of John Wayne in the early John Ford films.

Jauja review
Franck Nouchi - translated by Ollie and Zoe
Le Monde
19 May 2014



Gary Cooper

There's a scene in that film, Eastern Promises, where his character, Nikolai, stubs a cigarette out on his own tongue. At that moment, all was made clear: Mortensen was an old-fashioned star, as confident and as taciturn as Gary Cooper.

Viggo Mortensen
By David Thomson
The Guardian
10 April 2009




Mortensen, who became a hunky heartthrob as the warrior Aragorn in the "Lord of the Rings" series, carries himself like Gary Cooper here, radiating earthy charm and easy humor, as well as a quiet determination.

James Sanford
Kalamazoo Gazette
2004




Mortensen again proves to be one of today's few actors who can evoke quiet self-sufficiency and absolute resolution, à la Gary Cooper. The odd fragility of his features—he truly looks here like a man who has been reduced by solitude and ascetic living to the barest necessary husk of self—convinces us totally that Daru is a modern anchorite as well as an ex-soldier who has known terrible times.

Loin des Hommes review
Jonathan Romney
Film Comment
1 May 2015




Mortensen has a heroic presence but he is also unafraid of conveying an almost feline grace. There are moments in this film when he reminded me of the young Gary Cooper, and of Steve McQueen, two other actors who convincingly integrated sensuality and masculinity. These are qualities he shares with Kateb, and when they are together on screen their interaction is absolutely riveting.

Loin des Hommes review
Christos Tsiolkas
The Saturday Paper
31 July 2015



De Niro and Brando


Fantastic performance from Viggo Mortensen.....he is absolutely a brilliant actor, he is the Robert de Niro of his generation, the Marlon Brando of his generation, the man is a genius.

Mark Kermode
BBC Radio Five Live
30 September 2005




Mortensen's interpretation, in Penn's film "The Indian Runner', of Frank, a Vietnam veteran who cannot adapt to civilian life, an habitual rebel, mutinous, violent, alcoholic, but at the same time vulnerable and touching, is perfect. His presence is both incandescent and dignified, recalling that of Robert de Niro in Scorcese's "Mean Streets'.

Viggo Mortensen: The magician of The Lord of the Rings
by Aurelie Raya
Paris Match
8 Jan 2004




Even acting-wise, comparisons will be made between Viggo Mortensen's quietly menacing Mafioso to that of the young Robert De Niro in "The Godfather Part II," who morphs into Marlon Brando's Don Vitto Corleone in the first chapter of the epic saga, "The Godfather" (1972)

History of Violence review
Emanuel Levy
emanuellevy.com
1 Sept 2007




'To me, there's a lack of self-consciousness to the great actors. I think the performance of Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises is brilliant: he's living the guy's life on screen and you can't take your eyes off him. It's the same with Marlon Brando. You might not know why you're drawn to him, but you are.'

Actor Richard Jenkins commenting on Viggo
Metrolife film
29 June 2008



Clint Eastwood


He's just somebody I spotted as having a kind of appeal that I don't see a lot of actors having anymore. It's just mainly from when I grew up that I'm always on the prowl for guys who could kind of play the roles Clint Eastwood played 30 years ago. And he sort of seems to be that kind - with some real serious acting chops.

Josh Olson on Viggo Mortensen
Interview with Jock Olson
by Rebecca Murray
About.com
August 2005




Viggo, speaking vintage Castillian Spanish with his own voice, dominates the film as a kind of Medieval Clint Eastwood, short on words, long on deadly action when required…

Viggo Mortensen - Heroic On And Off Screen
By Alex Deleon
Fest21
16 October 2006




He's got the cowboy drawl down pat; shoots a Colt .45 with confidence; delivers sharp one-liners like a kinder, gentler Clint Eastwood; and has a great seat on a horse. Even when the movie gets a little slow--and it does, a 3000-mile desert race will do that to a movie--Mortensen's onscreen appeal saves the day.

Hidalgo
Leigh Johnson
Hollywood.com



James Dean


I was looking for a young James Dean. Then, Viggo Mortensen walked into the room. I knew almost instantly that he was the one. There was such a charisma about him.

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




If Jack Kerouac looked like a matinee idol - who in fact turned out to be a really good actor - he'd be a lot like Viggo Mortensen. But if James Dean wrote poetry and took pictures, he'd be closer.

Vim and Viggo
By Merle Ginsberg
W
September 1997




Great things have been predicted for Mortensen: his good friend Michael Blake, who wrote Dances With Wolves, has called him 'the new James Dean'.

Sean Penn Bites Back
By Christopher Connelly
Premier
October 1991



Robert Mitchum and William Holden


"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




Mortensen tends to play listeners – whether the laconic adventurer-king Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, or Nikolai, his Russian mobster in David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises.

It's part of what makes the 55-year-old Danish-American star an old-fashioned sort of movie idol. He's cut from the same chiselled, masculine material as Robert Mitchum, with whom he shares a dimpled chin and a taste for complex heroes.

The Two Faces of January
By Tim Robey
The Telegraph
15 May 2014



And what does Viggo think?


HP: Does it mean anything to you when large movie magazines compare you with Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and James Stewart? And say that you have the same "uugrundelige", under the surface madness?

VM: That's something, but you need to be lucky. If it happens you say "thank you", but you can never count on it.

Go'Aften Danmark Interview
TV2
By - transcribed/translated by Rosen
23 September 2007




"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




Joe Johnson said that you reminded him of a matinee idol of a bygone era, such as Gary Cooper, how does that make you feel?

Very flattered, because they are very good actors. What they were good at, beyond what they looked like, or whatever their presence, is the same thing that I admire in Omar Sharif, which is a kind of acting that is often under-rated and under-valued.

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

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Last edited: 29 March 2020 05:38:44