Viggo says thanks in pictures
Date: Nov '03
He is a long way from the United States, but Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen feels right at home in Wellington, and he has the photographs to prove it.
More than 150 of his photographs are hanging at Massey University's Great Hall in Wellington for an exhibition opening this weekend. Another collection of his Wellington photographs opens at City Gallery on Saturday. Focusing on light and landscapes with long exposures, most of the photographs are abstract.
They capture various aspects of New Zealand Mortensen experienced while shooting The Lord of the Rings with a smattering from Denmark, Britain and the US. He plays the part of Aragorn in the trilogy.
Wandering around the gallery in bare feet sporting a Lord of the Rings shirt, Mortensen describes how one series of photographs on show were a bit of a fluke. Lost 1,2,3 and 4, he jokingly calls them, were taken when he was geographically challenged in the bush on the West Coast one night. The photographs were snapped so that the flash might give him light to get his bearings.
"I eventually had to lie down under a tree for a while till the moon came over me and I could figure out where I was."
Mortensen has a real affection for Wellington.
"I liked Sunday mornings, when it was empty, walking around downtown before everybody got up to nurse their hangovers. Especially during the warmer months. Or when it's drizzly. When it's miserable and raining, scuttling down a street and ducking into a bar. It's always a good place to be."
The exhibitions give Mortensen a chance show his reaction to the landscape of this country to New Zealanders, he said.
"It's like returning a favour."
Mortensen will open the Mo Te Upoko-o-Te-Ika - For Wellington at the Great Hall - at a gala on Friday to raise money for scholarships to the university's proposed film school. Massey have put up another 200 tickets for the $100 gala after the first 600 sold out. Many of the films' stars would be attending.
Mortensen will help raise money for another cause - Victoria University's Institute of Modern Letters - at a poetry reading at the Paramount Theatre on Saturday night.