Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category


Viggo Mortensen: ‘Often people are desperate, so I do what needs to be done’

Posted by Staff in Apr 07,2015 with No Comments

Viggo Mortensen is in his socks – he likes to go shoeless whenever he can – and is making a cup of tea. If this does not seem a thing of note, you’ve never watched Viggo brew. He carefully portions out green leaves from his own pouch into his personal silver vessel – a modern version of the South American mate gourd – then decants the water into a silver Thermos, adding the leaves to brew. “I’m ready to go,” he says, pulling his vessel close.

I mean, obviously he’d have been ready to go five minutes ago if he’d just dunked a tea bag in a cup with a slosh of milk like most of us do, but it’s clear Viggo likes to do things on his own terms and to his own very precise standards. You just have to look at his CV to see that. Viggo became an internationally fancied and bankable star as Aragorn, king of men, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy starting back in 2001. It’s a reputation he’s cemented over the years, in large part with another trio of films – A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method – all directed by David Cronenberg. Though he received an Oscar nomination for Eastern Promises in 2007, Viggo never capitalised on the earning potential the LOTR franchise offered. In fact, that idea is baffling to him. He says he only took the role of Aragorn to please his son, Henry, who was around 10 years old at the time.

Given the choice, what Viggo wants above all else is to tell a story he thinks is interesting. “I don’t really look for movies based on the budget or the nationality or the language,” he has said. “I just want to be in movies that I wouldn’t mind seeing 10 years from now.” Looking at the films he has been in since he made his name, it’s fair to say his vision of enduring storytelling is not one seen in the romcoms and blockbusters that typically make for box-office hits. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview: Viggo Mortensen

Posted by Staff in Apr 07,2015 with No Comments

Viggo Mortensen describes the character he plays in Argentine director Lisandro Alonso’s sinuous, dreamlike movie Jauja as “a sort of Danish Don Quixote”. Shot in northern Patagonia and set in the late 19th century, Jauja’s title refers to the mythical Peruvian land of milk and honey. Mortensen plays Gunnar Dinesen, a former Danish cavalry officer seeking a new life for himself and his teenage daughter. When his daughter runs off with a heedless beau, Dinesen dons his old cavalry uniform, mounts his not-so-trusty steed and sets out on a strange adventure to look for her.

As is his way, Mortensen supplied many of his own accessories for this Spanish- and Danish-speaking part, including a telescope, compass, watch, sabre and some of the clothes he ends up in. Dressed in high-topped cavalry boots with clinking spurs and sporting a shaggy moustache, Mortensen plays Dinesen as a well-meaning but faintly ridiculous relic. “I find him an admirable character in a way,” says the 56-year-old actor. “He’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.”

Dinesen is the latest in a series of knights errant Mortensen has played for the cinema. Most famously he incarnated Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03), then there was an Oscar nomination for his Russian mafioso with a body full of tattoos and a heart of gold in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises (2007), and a turn as a dashing 17th-century Spanish knight in Captain Alatriste (2006), a film based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s popular series of novels. When you also consider that the publishing company Mortensen founded in 2002 is called Perceval Press, after the chivalric knight in the Holy Grail legend, an altruistic tendency begins to emerge.

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Viggo Mortensen on ‘Jauja,’ Producing, Protecting Directors’ Visions

Posted by Staff in Nov 25,2014 with No Comments

In “Lord of the Rings,” he protected the Shire and the Fellowship of the Ring. These days, he’s more likely protecting the original visions of some of the world’s most exciting – and challenging – young moviemakers, and bringing them to larger audiences.

Doing so, Viggo Mortensen, U.S. born, Argentina raised, New York-bred, of Danish descent, has leveraged wisely his star status and fanboy suzerainties, dazzled with his dominance of not only English and Spanish, but Danish, Amish and Lakota, and played some not exactly super-hero roles, characters who are ineffectual (Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja,” a Cannes winner), conflicted (David Oelhoffen’s “Far From Men,“ a Venice prize winner) or plain seedy (“Drive” screenwriter Hossein Amini’s directorial deb, “The Two Faces of January”); to all of whom Mortensen has brought not so much his good looks but a large humanity.

One case in point: Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja,” which brought Mortensen to the summer resort of Mar del Plata last weekend, where he was its unquestionable star at the opening ceremony of Latin America’s only “A”-grade festival.

For an actor who has been the lead in one of the world’s biggest movie franchises, Mortensen hardly acts off-screen like a Hollywood super-star. He has a problem in Morocco, for instance, he confesses at Mar del Plata. Like Pope Francis, he supports Argentina’s San Lorenzo de Almagro. He’s also a fan of Real Madrid. The two will face off in the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup, which takes place in Morocco Dec. 10-20. For the first time, he says in interview, he’s wishing that Real Madrid will lose.

A quick discussion of the improved defensive abilities of Spain’s Isco Alarcon and Colombia’s James Rodriguez, two world-class attacking mid-fielders, follows.

In “Jauja,” which is set in 1882, Mortensen plays Captain Denisen, a Dutch surveyor brought in at the end of the Argentina’s Conquest of the Desert, a euphemism for its army’s wholesale slaughter of its native inhabitants.

On “Jauja,” Mortensen took a production credit – as on “Far From Men,” in a practice begun on Ana Piterberg’s 2012 “Everybody Has a Plan” – and arranged the (spare but important) score. He is also highly articulate – in this case in English – about what he wanted to achieve with both. Read the rest of this entry »

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Viggo Mortensen Talks About Taking Risks in Hollywood Filmmaking

Posted by Staff in Nov 25,2014 with No Comments

“All around the world it’s getting harder to make films,” said the star of ‘Jauja’

One of the most talked-about films in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard this year, Argentinean auteur Lisandro Alonso’s Jauja, had its local premiere Sunday at the 29th Mar del Plata Film Festival, presented by the director alongside star Viggo Mortensen and writer Fabian Casas.

The film, winner of the FIPRESCI award at Cannes, features a Danish-speaking Mortensen as a 19th army captain who sets out on a hypnotic and somewhat magical journey through the Argentine Patagonia to find his kidnapped young daughter.

Mortensen, who grew up in Argentina and speaks perfect Castellano, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about how the film didn’t get support from Denmark, the hardships of making personal films in Hollywood and how Jauja managed to do what Interstellar did — with no money.

The son of a Danish man and an American woman, the actor, who just won the Best Actor category at the Fenix Awards, had been asked to make a film in Danish for a long time. Surprisingly enough, this Denmark-Argentina co-production didn’t get any support from that country, and still hasn’t been picked up for distribution there, unlike in the U.S. and the U.K. where it will be released in the winter.

The star of David Cronenberg’s edgy Eastern Promises, A History of Violence and A Dangerous Method claims the problem with backing and supporting films such as Jauja is simple: “they don’t see a lot of money there,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »

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Watch: 37-Minute Interview With Viggo Mortensen On Creativity, Working With David Cronenberg & More

Posted by Staff in Jan 17,2014 with No Comments

Viggo Mortensen was at the height of his popularity when the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy came out over ten years ago. Instead of capitalizing on that fame by starring in more high profile projects, he has since become incredibly selective, having appeared in only ten films since 2004 with many of them being outside typical studio fare. His collaborations with David Cronenberg include three of those ten films: “A History of Violence”, “Eastern Promises,” and “A Dangerous Method.” Which begs the question: why does he love working with Cronenberg so much? Well, he talks about that in a half hour-long interview with Jian Ghomeshi on the Canadian radio show, “Q.”

The interview, overall, is fairly loose and Viggo is able to really get into it about his working process with David Cronenberg. He talks about how Cronenberg’s convinced him to do things he otherwise would not have done, such as playing Sigmund Freud in “A Dangerous Method.” He even remarks about how apprehensive he was about starring in “A History of Violence,” but meeting with the director helped ease him into the part. It’s really interesting to hear Viggo Mortensen’s opinion on the director and when the host suggests that the two of them are like brothers, Mortensen does not hesitate to agree with him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Viggo Mortensen: ‘I’ve been wanting for some time to be in an Argentine movie’

Posted by Staff in Oct 22,2012 with No Comments

Saturday saw Viggo Mortensen deliver a Screen Talk at the BFI London Film Festival, talking about his career-to-date and his latest film Everybody Has A Plan.

Award-winning actor Viggo Mortensen delivered a Screen Talk at the BFI London Film Festival on Saturday in which he discussed his latest role in Ana Piterbarg’s Everybody Has A Plan (Todos Tenemos Un Plan) as well as highlights of his film career.

Mortensen – who spent the first ten years of his life in Argentina – plays identical twins in Piterbarg’s film, which was screened at the festival. He said he was attracted to the project because although he had worked on three Spanish-language films before, this was the first one in which the dialect was easy and familiar. Read the rest of this entry »

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