From the Australian edition of Empire (January 2002):
Perhaps because he was cast as The Lord Of The Rings's enigmatic Aragorn so
late in the day (he replaced British actor Stuart Townsend after ground had
already been struck), Viggo Mortensen threw himself into the role with unprecedented gusto.
Much thanks to Laura! From the May issue of Art Business News magazine
In the Spotlight but Shining on it's own - Celebrity Art
.... "Certainly celebrities who create fine art already have established a name, a reputation, and an audience. However, while notoriety may turn heads, it appears to be the quality of the art- the technique, medium, use of color, composition, emotion, perspective - that is capturing the attention of fine art collectors.
..."Robert Mann, of his eponymous gallery in New York, did not become involved in Viggo Mortensen's work because Mortensen is a celebrity. In fact, Mann wasn't aware of his status as an actor. What he noticed first was Mortensen's art. For Mann, Mortensen, who starred in 'A Perfect Murder', is not a celebrity artist, but an artist who also acts.
" 'I didn't know about his acting', said Mann, 'but I do know he's incredibly gifted as a visual artist. 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.' "
"To create a category called 'celebrity art', Mann believes, is unfair. 'I'm sure there are people out there who could be influenced by fame,' he said, 'but that's not the audience I'm trying to connect with. The connotation of celebrity art is not good. It implies dilettante. I wouldn't put Viggo in that context. He doesn't have to paint; that's not the point. I think Viggo needs to make art - really needs to. That's the way he expresses himself' "
" ...independent art dealer Claudia Wishnow concludes 'A celebrity's renown lends so much cache to the art, but if the work doesn't stand on it's own, it doesn't matter who painted it.' "
On page 72 of the article is a photograph of a multi-medium painting of Viggo's entitled "Apart" (2000)
|1/29/01||A collection of interviews from Jam! Showbiz|
Thanks to Faye K. for sending in this older interview.
Actor Viggo Mortensen: The virtuoso bad boy takes a gentlemanly turn in The Portrait of a Lady
It somehow seems ironic that Viggo Mortensen, virtuoso bad boy, wants to meet at the Snow White Coffee Shop, and now sits beneath a looming portrait of Prince Charming. You may remember him from his turn as the wired, paraplegic ex-con in Carlito's Way - he tries to rat on Al Pacino. In Sean Penn's The Indian Runner, he abandons Patricia Arquette in the throes of labour only to bash in Dennis Hopper's head in a bar, and in Daylight, his wannabe hero disastrously attempts to one-up Sylvester Stalone's rescue effort. In The Prophecy, Mortensen rips out Christopher Walken's heart and snacks on it as, yes, Lucifer. This is what you know. So when he pulls back your chair, apologises for the rain and hands you a book of his poetry called Ten Last Night, it comes as a something of a shock. That he has the courtesy to do this. That he writes poetry. That it is good. That he is, really, a gentleman. Jane Campion, who directed The Portrait of a Lady, says Mortensen was shy at first. «Nicole [Kidman] and I had to beat him up. We called him Kiddie just to try and get him to treat us like pals. Of course, eventually we warmed him up so much we couldn't control him.»
In Portrait, Mortensen plays Caspar Goodwood, one of the intrepid,, long -suffering suitors trying to win the hand of Kidman's Isabel Archer. «Caspar is insistent. He basically says, 'I love you and I am willing to wait as long as it takes,'» Mortensen says. «I admire that.» But how would such zealously romantic notions play to a roomful of the tattoed tough guys Mortensen has played in the past ? Wouldn't they think a guy who follows a woman around Europe declaring his undying love somewhat pathetic ? Mortensen shrugs. «How can a man be pathetic who really loves someone ? »
Mortensen will next be seen pounding Demi Moore into shape as a command master chief training the first female Navy SEAL candidate in Ridley Scott's tentatively titled In Pursuit of Honor (previously G.I. Jane). Though Mortensen spent months researching the role, he did not work out with Demi Moore - who, he says, 'is tough as nails' - before the cameras started to roll. «It's kind of a lonely job,» Mortensen says of the chief. «The guy's the leader, there's a distance and an isolation he has to have. I had to start off at a certain level to feel like I could lord it over them.» Surprisingly, Mortensen sees some parallels between the 19th century romantic he plays in Portrait and the hardcase master chief in Honor. «I think they're both gentlelmen. By the end you get that - the chief has a really old-fashioned code of ethics.»
In Portrait, while John Malcovich and other characters joust with words and shatter each other with glances, Mortensen gets to wield the ultimate weapon : the raw, raging physicality of a simple kiss. Does he like kissing ? «I guess the simple answer is yes.» . As Mortensen explains it, «kissing and the lack of kissing» are crucial in illustrating the theme of the movie. Why ? He smiles like the devil he once was. His reply is cryptic. «Sometimes it's just nice to wait.».
by Jodie Burke
Sybil was kind enough to send me the interview from JANE magazine. Here it is:
Leggo My Viggo
Forty-year old actor, poet, painter and photographer Viggo Mortensen
can be kind of overwhelming. After all, it's not every day you get to
meet a real-life Renaissance man. Viggo you may remember, played the
sadistic Navy SEAL who got his butt whipped by Demi Moore in G.I. Jane.
He was last seen in A Perfect Murder, with Gwyneth Paltrow (yep, those
were Viggo's paintings in the movie.) Right now he's trying to find
out who wears the pants in the Bates family, in Psycho; and in April,
he'll play a blouse-selling hippie in A Walk on the Moon.
I read somewhere that you had the best walk.
Evan was kind enough to send an article about Viggo that ran in the December 16th Chicago Sun-Times. Here it is:
Sensitive side of `Psycho' (December 16, 1998)
Viggo Mortensen is relating a tale that involves Vince Vaughn, a butcher knife and the threat of bodily harm. But, oddly enough, the actor isn't describing the shooting of his latest film, ``Psycho.'' He's remembering a country music concert. ``Vince and I went to see Buck Owens one night after we had finished that day's shoot [for ``Psycho''],'' Mortensen said during a call from his Los Angeles home. ``I had gotten one of the `Psycho' knives to give to Buck as a present 'cause it was his birthday. They wanted us to give it to him on stage that night. ``So we bumbled our way through our speech to Buck. He opened the box and saw the knife, and the fiddler started making the ``eek eek eek'' [noise from the shower scene]. Buck got all excited and started posing as a damsel in distress. Then he began chasing Dwight Yoakam all around the stage with the knife. I don't think he realized it was real.''
Though blond and chiseled, Mortensen isn't your typical Hollywood actor. His intense features and sly eyes convey an edge that eludes your Brads, Leonardos and Matts. The actor also exudes intelligence, whether he's playing a magnetically sadistic Navy SEALS officer in ``G.I. Jane'' or a genteel suitor in ``The Portrait of a Lady.''
Acting, though, is just part of the story. Besides the film roles for which he's won critical acclaim, Mortensen also is a published poet, musician, painter and photographer. And the well-traveled Manhattan-born artist is fluent in Danish and Spanish. During down time between filming love scenes with Gwyneth Paltrow in ``A Perfect Murder,'' Mortensen kept his leading lady entertained by serenading her with Spanish songs. (His original paintings also made it into the film.) So it's a little surprising when, during the middle of an interview, he singsongs, ``Clap on, clap off.'' ``Whatever happened to those things?'' said Mortensen, 40, laughing. ``That was a good commercial. All my references are outdated because I don't watch television anymore. But I remember that one.''
Mortensen can be forgiven for not watching much TV--the busy Renaissance man just doesn't have the time. There's his role in ``Psycho,'' in which he plays Anne Heche's semi-clueless boyfriend, Sam Loomis. His art show at Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif., has been extended. And he has a new book, Recent Forgeries (Smart Art Press, $27), which features his paintings, photographs and poetry, as well as a CD of his poems and songs. On record, Mortensen's speaking voice--especially in Spanish--actually is more melodic and alluring than his singing. Confident and clear, he draws listeners in as he spins tales of deceit and humor.
That confidence is exhibited again on the new spoken-word record ``The New Yorker Out Loud Vol. 2.'' The two-album collection includes readings by musician Chuck D and actress Suzy Amis. But it's Mortensen's readings of selections from Jack Kerouac's ``On the Road Journals'' that are truly mesmerizing. That he scored and mixed the avant-garde jazz in the background is an added bonus.
Now Mortensen is collaborating with his ex-wife Exene Cervenka (of the punk rock band X) on ``One Man's Meat,'' a record that will accompany his next art exhibit. ``I don't know what it's going to be about yet,'' Mortensen said. ``Perhaps just about how in our society people just devour each other, whether for money, or fame, or notoriety, or to just grandstand.''
Mortensen's work schedule hasn't always been this busy. After what he believed was a prodigious start in his acting career, the fledgling actor learned that his first two roles in films by Jonathan Demme and Woody Allen were edited out. But it wasn't long before he was cast in a small role in the 1985 film ``Witness.'' That part, which was supposed to be a one-day job, expanded into a speaking role as Alexander Godunov's younger Amish brother. ``I was basically told to shadow him,'' Mortensen recalled, laughing. ``So wherever he went, I followed.'' These days, Mortensen is taking the lead.
Eleven Views of Viggo (sidebar to the above article)
Viggo Mortensen is an accomplished poet, painter and photographer. But it's his acting that has captured the public's eye. Here's a look at some of his roles: "Witness" (1985). Best scene: Eyeballing Kelly McGillis' flirtation with Harrison Ford. "The Indian Runner" (1991). Playing the bad brother, Mortensen carves out a niche for himself at the simmering villain. "Boiling Point" (1993). Portrays a deliciously dumb and trigger-happy ex-con. "Carlito's Way" (1993). Very convincing as a sleazy, wheelchair-bound snitch. "The Prophecy" (1995). He's Lucifer. The devil made him do it. "Albino Alligator" (1996). Nice twitchy performance as a guy in a suit who is not what he appears to be. "Daylight" (1996). He's a doomed, mountain-climbing businessman arrogant enough to think he can be the story's hero despite the presence of Sly Stallone. "G.I. Jane" (1997). Gives new meaning to the term "knock out" in his scenes with Demi Moore. "A Perfect Murder" (1998). Really got into the role of artist David Shaw by doing all his own paintings. To soothe Gwyneth Paltrow for their love scenes, Mortensen seramaded her with Spanish love songs between takes. "Psycho" (1998). Rivaling the shower scene: Mortensen bares his backside early on in the movie. "A Walk on the Moon" (1999). Will debut at Sundance next month. He plays a traveling salesman who woos Diane Lane.
|8/30/98||Movieline magazine has a two page
interview with Viggo in the August 1998 issue (Antonio Banderas on the
cover). Here's the opening paragraph of the two page interview. A big
thanks to Amy for sending the text.
In an era when young actors are hyped to the moon after making a film or two, only to be ungraciously spat out at the first misstep, it's after making his debut as Alexander Godunov's younger brother in "Witness" Mortensen worked in lots of movies, but the ones with titles you'd remember didn't feature him in any way that made him stand out. It wasn't until he starred opposite Nicole Kidman as a sexy suitor in "the Portrait of a Lady" that audeinces took notice of him, so of course they mistook him for a newcomer. Hollywood heavies perked up their ears. Demi Moore cast him as a magnetic, poetry-reading-but-over-the-edge Navy SEALs trainer in "G.I. Jane." Now on screens as the artist with a half-amorous/half-homicidal relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow in "A Perfect Murder," Mortensen is hotter than he's ever been, and he's already signed on for his next project, Gus Van Sant's high profile remake of "Psycho."
Note: There follows a page and a half interview by Dennis Hensley. Viggo will be playing Sam Loomis in "Psycho." Check out the Internet Movie Database for more details. Thanks also to the Ravenkeeper for the notice.
|6/15/98||Viggo is in the June 22nd issue
of People (by Danielle Morton). Here's the text (thanks to Megan
for the text and to Nita and Melakia for letting me know):
If you're not distracted by the bared flesh of Gwyneth Paltrow or the chiseled cheekbones of Viggo Mortensen, you might notice the art in A Perfect Murder. The energetic, large-scale canvases in the loft of Mortensen's character-Paltrow's sinister artist lover- really are the work of the 39-year-old actor, who also takes photographs and has published a book or his poetry. How does he find the time? "I don't have a TV," says Mortensen, the New York raised son of a Danish businessman and an American homemaker. The actor, who ordered moviegoers to attention last year as G.I. Jane's sadistic master chief, is just as versatile onscreen. Divorced from Exene Cervenka of the '80s punk band X (they have a 10-year-old son, Henry), Mortensen specializes in chilly villains (except in an upcoming remake of Psycho, where he will play the boyfriend of Anne Heche's doomed damsel). "When I started out I couldn't try out for anyone even remotely shady because I looked sort of boyish," he says, "But once I did [a villain] reasonably well...good luck getting the part of the nice small-town druggist."
Click here for a People Online interview with Viggo and a picture.
|3/17/98||Viggo is in the April 1998 (p.351)
Issue of Vanity Fair! (thanks to RavenKeeper!) Here is the article "The
Scene-Stealer" (courtesy of an email from Jackie. Thanks!):
VIGGO MORTENSEN, actor (Twenty-eight films): Not a household name (yet), Viggo Mortensen has logged a lot of face time on the big screen in the 90's. Perhaps his image doesn't snap into place because his roles have been so richly varied. He played Henry James's genteel doormat Caspar Goodwood in The Portrait of a Lady and furnished unexpected shadings to the chiseled role of Demi Moore's commanding officer in G.I. Jane. Critics find in him a romantic waiting to be released. The genie bottle could be this year's Over the Moon, an independent film co-produced by Dustin Hoffman. A familiar figure on the L.A. punk scene (he was married to Exene Cervenka, the former lead singer of the punk band X), Mortensen is also a published poet, which probably shouldn't be held against him. (An interesting point: He's between Sir John Geilgud and the Fondas (Bridget and Peter). Quite a company.)
[ Main Drag | Galleria | Rant | Digital Brunch | VIGGO CORNER | MÍ Casa | Voices ]
page last modified: 1/04/02