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.....
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
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.
Franck Nouchi - translated by Ollie and Zoe
19 May 2014
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.
By David Thomson
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
29 June 2008
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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."
Chiaroscuro: Viggo, Light And Dark
By Rocio Garcia - translated by Graciela, Remolina, Sage and Zooey
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
15 May 2014
And what does Viggo think?
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?
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
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
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
By Jack Foley