Viggo Mortensen Interview
Author: n/a
Publication: Richard and Judy (Channel 4 TV)
Date: 01 Apr '04

A clip of ‘Hidalgo’ is shown of Viggo riding TJ .

Richard: Lovely to see you, welcome aboard! Must talk about the horse first of all, because after the shooting was over, you bought yourself a mustang, that mustang!

Viggo: Yeah, T.J.!

Richard: T.J.

Viggo: There were several ‘paints’ that played him, but he was the close up horse, he did most of the work, you know, when you saw the movie you can see what a performer he was, cos it’s not special effects...

Richard: No, no was either gonna be an interesting horse, as a horse, or a not very interesting horse, you know, and we were lucky with him.

Judy: So I assume the rapport that you built up with the horse was very important?

Viggo: Yeah!, I mean, you know, it’s not unlike working with people really, you know, if you ask politely, rather than insist on having your way, erm, you give the horse, just like people, a little room to come up with their own ideas, you're gonna get better work.

Judy: Where did you learn to ride?

Viggo: I rode a lot as a boy until I was about 11. I lived in South America, in Argentina.

Richard: Did you have to re-learn at all for Lord of the Rings?

Viggo: Yeah, I did, but it’s like, I dunno, riding bicycles, or other things that you do have some memory of it, but I suppose as an adult, you're not as brave as when you're a kid, where, if you fall off, you don’t really care and you get back on. I know that in LOTR and even more in Hidalgo, there were several moments where I was going at, you know, top speed and felt a little precarious and thought, you know, "this is really going to hurt if I fall". (laughs) There were a lot of moments like that in Hidalgo.

Richard: Well, lets see another clip from the new film. Erm, there are lots of overtones from ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, because you were saying before we even started talking on camera, you shot quite a lot of the film in parts of the desert where David Lean shot Lawrence of Arabia.

Viggo: Yeah, since I had the pleasure of working with Omar Sharif, who was also in the movie, erm, he talked about places he had been 40 years earlier, some very close. He said, "Oh, we were a kilometre from here, but you see that town, that wasn’t there. We were in tents", so...

Judy: I must say, it just looks ravishing, the film. It’s really, really beautiful to look at. Shall we have a look at the plague of locusts?

(shows clip, which ends as Viggo's character eats a locust)

Judy: Wow, when we saw the film, we thought that was real, but to be fair, it wasn ’t, although you would have been happy to eat a locust?

Viggo: Yeah, I mean, I’ve eaten...have you ever had grasshoppers that were fried and salty...?

Richard: Yeah, I have, it’s like popcorn right? A bit cardboardy, but didn’t taste bad.

Viggo: ...or shrimp or something...

Richard:... or shrimp, yeah. So what did you actually eat there then?

Viggo: Well, there were some Italians that were working with us, they were very talented and made it with some kind of edible paper and sugar and it was a pastry really, but it had this stuff inside, this black stuff, I was very realistic (laughs).

Richard: And they made millions of them as we saw there, yeah, which were wonderful and they flew (joking). Let’s talk about LOTR, because I assume you read the book before you shot the film?

Viggo: I didn’t, I read it a couple of days before I flew.

Judy: It was your son wasn't it, who said to go for it?

Viggo: Yeah, he gave me his blessing. I was reticent because they had started filming already and I didn’t want to be the one person on screen that you said, well, apart from that guy, everybody seemed to know what they're doing, what story they were in. I was nervous about it, but his encouragement made a difference.

Richard: Lets have a clip, this time from the last film, where you again with conspicuous gallantry and courage, decide the only way to obtain final victory,or to help the Hobbits attain final victory, is to go through the Pass of the Dead and raise the dead to join the army. And here we go, the moment of descision.

(shows clip)

Judy: Every single person we’ve interviewed who was in LOTR, from Ian Mackellen, Orlando Bloom, loads of them, they say that it was one of the most fantastic professional experiences of their lives, all that time in New Zealand. Did you enjoy it?

Viggo: Absolutely! I mean, just watching that clip now, erm, yes I’m watching the scene, but mostly I’m thinking it would be nice to see those guys, you know, and that, and I remember the day we shot it, erm, I mean, most movies work that way, but not as much as this one, probably because of the time span and how hard it was at times. You know, how close we grew together. I look at that and I remember things about that day and other days, it’s just that friendship, that’s the best thing I have from it, as they must have said.

Richard: How did you get cast as Aragorn? What was the story?

Viggo: As has been told many times, there was another actor that was going to play it, a really fine actor, but he was quite a bit younger than I am or was at the time, more or less the age of the Hobbits, which would have given him an extra burden at all times being conscious of trying to seem older than he was. I think that both he and the filmmakers realised that it was not the right way to go, you know. I’m sure that in 5 or 6 years from now he’d be the ideal person to play the part.

Richard: Yeah, a bit more maturity! Well, many congratulations on all of it..Great place to be, thanks for coming on!

Viggo: Thanks for having me!! (Shakes hands with Richard & Judy) Nice to meet you.







































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