Report from the AFI FEST Viggo Mortensen Tribute

By Marc Lee
AFI FEST Daily News

4 November 2009


984__320x240_viggo2In front of a packed house on Wednesday at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, AFI FEST paid tribute to actor Viggo Mortensen before a gala screening of THE ROAD.

In her introduction to the evening, Festival artistic director Rose Kuo called Mortensen “a true Renaissance man,” and interviewer David Poland, executive editor of Movie City News, asked the audience to note how the actor “changes dramatically from role to role,” before introducing a tribute reel.

Afterward, Mortensen recalled watching movies at the Chinese with his son: “We’d have pretty good Siskel and Ebert sessions afterward.”

A native New Yorker, he spent several of his younger years in Venezuela and Argentina before moving to Los Angeles where his first onscreen role was playing a young Amish farmer in Peter Weir’s WITNESS (1985).

“I remember watching his movies in this old art deco theater after work,” he recalled. “My role in this film was to be like a dog and follow around Alexander [Godunov]. Weir made it easy for me. It was a great learning experience.”

He also remembered an earlier part in PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO that was cut and working with Woody Allen. “I couldn’t figure him out, “ he said.

Mortensen moved his way into bigger parts in movies like FRESH HORSES and YOUNG GUNS II before landing prime roles in films like CARLITO’S WAY, ALBINO ALLIGATOR, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, HIDALGO and EASTERN PROMISES.

On the experience of acting, he said, “You meet all kinds of people; you see all sides of yourself. And if you do it properly, you can learn a lot of things.”

Before the lights came down and the curtain rose on THE ROAD, the story of a man and his son trying to survive the apocalypse, he remarked on his view of the film:

“In the end, the story is about you,” he said. “When it comes down to the end, how are you going to survive? How are you going to get food? And how are you going to treat other people? Are you going to be kind?”





One response

  1. texassweetiepie

    Right now, I wonder how women’s rights will survive this war being waged against us. Please, get the government out of my vagina!

    Food, I’ll chase down those with the biggest pork stores in Washington, and grill them over a spit, fueled by the framing wood from foreclosed homes where families once lived. Pork tastes good grilled over pine. It does have a bitter after-taste, but you’ll get used to it.

    How am I going to treat other people? I will push my fear aside,put on my big girl panties, and do my best to treat all with kindness, respect, love, and tolerance. I’ll share everything I have, and lend a hand wherever I am needed.

    That being said, if it’s a life or death situation, I will kill you. I’m sorry, but I’ll be hungry and cranky. I will thank God for the food you provide me, and I promise to bury your bones after I’ve eaten you. Maybe it would happen in Texas, and I can find some nice mesquite wood for grilling? Some grilled napalitos as a side dish, would be nice. If they’re available…probably not!. 😉

    Seriously, we need more people like Viggo. We need those who are the liberal thinkers, whom question, read, learn, seek, and understand. We are desperately in need of those who are peaceful, loving, accepting, caring human beings. How will we survive without understanding that we, everything in the universe and on this planet, are all one? I live because you live and so on and so on.

    September 8, 2012 at 12:59 am

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