Viggo Mortensen
Villain(s) Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. October 20, 1958 (1958-10-20) (age 52)New York City, New York, U.S.
Born Actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter
Occupation 1984–present
Number Exene Cervenka (1987–1998)

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Viggo Mortensen

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Mortensen in March 2010.

Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. (born October 20, 1958) is an American-Danish actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter. He made his film debut in Peter Weir's 1985 thriller Witness, and subsequently appeared in many notable films of the 1990s, including The Indian Runner (1991), Carlito's Way (1993), Crimson Tide (1995), The Portrait of a Lady (1996), G.I. Jane (1997), A Perfect Murder (1998), and A Walk on the Moon (1999).Mortensen made his major breakthrough in 2001 with the epic film trilogy The Lord of the Rings. In 2005, Mortensen won critical acclaim for David Cronenberg's crime thriller A History of Violence. Two years later, another Cronenberg film Eastern Promises (2007) earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Other well-received films in recent years have included Appaloosa (2008) and the 2009 film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road.Aside from acting, his other artistic pursuits include fine arts, photography, poetry, and music. In 2002, he founded the Perceval Press to publish the works of little-known artists and authors. Mortensen is politically active. He campaigned for Dennis Kucinich in the 2008 United States presidential election, and later endorsed Barack Obama for President. Mortensen has one son from his previous marriage to musician Exene Cervenka.

Early life

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Mortensen was born in New York City. His American mother, Grace Gamble (née Atkinson), and Danish father, Viggo Peter Mortensen, Sr., met in Norway. His maternal grandfather was from Nova Scotia, Canada and his maternal grandmother's family was from New England. Mortensen's family moved to Venezuela, Denmark, and the Argentine provinces Córdoba, Chaco, and Buenos Aires, where he learned Spanish. His father managed chicken farms and ranches in Argentina. They remained there until Mortensen was eleven, when his parents divorced and the boys and their mother returned to New York, where Mortensen spent the rest of his childhood. He graduated from Watertown High School in Watertown, New York.[citation needed] After high school he went to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, earning a bachelor's degree in Government and Spanish.[citation needed] Then, driven by the need for a defining purpose in life, he went to Europe and lived in Spain, England, and Denmark, where he took various jobs like a truck driver in Esbjerg, Denmark and a flower seller in Copenhagen, Denmark, before again returning to the United States two years later to pursue an acting career.[citation needed]

Following his appearance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in 2006 he was granted an honorary doctorate by his alma mater.

Career

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Mortensen at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

Acting career
After several years of experience in live theater, Mortensen made his first film appearance playing an Amish farmer in Peter Weir's Witness (Mortensen had actually acted in at least one prior film, The Purple Rose of Cairo, but his scenes in the latter film were deleted from the final cuts). Also in 1985, he was cast in the role of Bragg on Search for Tomorrow. Mortensen's 1987 performance in Bent at the Coast Playhouse, Los Angeles, won him a Dramalogue Critics' Award. Coincidentally, the play, about homosexual concentration camp prisoners, was originally brought to prominence by Ian McKellen, with whom Mortensen later costarred in The Lord of the Rings. In 1987 Mortensen guest starred as a corrupt police detective on the hit series Miami Vice.

During the 1990s, Mortensen appeared in supporting roles in a variety of films, including Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady, Young Guns II, Prison, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Sean Penn's The Indian Runner, Carlito's Way, Crimson Tide, G.I. Jane, Daylight, A Walk on the Moon, American Yakuza, Charles Robert Carner's remake Vanishing Point, Philip Ridley's two films The Reflecting Skin and The Passion of Darkly Noon, A Perfect Murder and Gus Van Sant's Psycho (1998 remakes of two Alfred Hitchcock's movies Dial M for Murder and Psycho), 28 Days, and The Prophecy, with Christopher Walken. Of these roles, Mortensen was probably best-known for playing Master Chief John Urgayle in G.I. Jane.



Mortensen's major mainstream breakthrough came in 1999, when Peter Jackson cast him as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. According to the Special Extended Edition DVD of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Mortensen was a last-minute replacement for Stuart Townsend, and would not have taken the part of Aragorn had it not been for his son's enthusiasm for the J. R. R. Tolkien novel. In the Two Towers DVD extras, the film's swordmaster, Bob Anderson, described Mortensen as "the best swordsman I've ever trained." Mortensen often spent days hiking to the film's remote locations, in costume and carrying his sword, in order to appear authentically travel-worn; he also performed all of his own stunts, and even the injuries he sustained during several of them did not dampen his enthusiasm. At one point during shooting of Two Towers, Mortensen, Orlando Bloom and the stunt double for John Rhys-Davies all had fairly serious injuries, and during a shoot of them, running in the mountains, Peter Jackson jokingly referred to the three as "the walking wounded." Also, according to the Special Extended Edition DVD of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Mortensen purchased the two horses, Uraeus and Kenny, whom he rode and bonded with over the duration of the films.

In 2004, Mortensen starred as Frank Hopkins in Hidalgo, the story of an ex-army courier who travels to Arabia to compete with his horse, Hidalgo, in a dangerous desert race for a contest prize.

In 2005, Mortensen starred in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. He was nominated for a Satellite Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for this role. In the DVD extras for A History of Violence, David Cronenberg relates that Mortensen is the only actor he'd come across who would come back from weekends with his family with items he had bought to use as props on the set.



In 2006, he starred as Captain Diego Alatriste in Alatriste, based on the series of novels The Adventures of Captain Alatriste, written by the Spanish writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

In September 2007, the film Eastern Promises, directed by David Cronenberg, was released to critical acclaim for the film itself and for Mortensen's performance as a Russian gangster on the rise in London. His nude fight scene in a steam room was applauded by Roger Ebert: "Years from now, it will be referred to as a benchmark." Mortensen's performance in Eastern Promises resulted in his winning the Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film award from the British Independent Film Awards. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

In 2009, Mortensen appeared as himself in the film Reclaiming The Blade, in which he discussed his passion for the sword and his sword-work in films such as The Lord of the Rings and Alatriste. Mortensen also talked about his work with Bob Anderson, the swordmaster on The Lord of the Rings, Alatriste, Pirates of the Caribbean and many others.

In 2009, Mortensen performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

In April 2009 Mortensen revealed in an interview that he had, at least temporarily, retired from film acting as the schedule required for promoting a film is too stressful. In 2010 he joined the cast of On the Road, a film adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name, and collaborated with David Cronenberg for a third time on A Dangerous Method.

Perceval Press
With part of his earnings from The Lord of the Rings, Mortensen founded the Perceval Press publishing house — named for the knight from the legend of King Arthur — to help other artists by publishing works that might not find a home in more traditional publishing venues.

Perceval Press is also the home of Viggo's many personal artistic projects in the area of fine arts, photography, poetry, song, and literature (see below).

Bibliography


Mortensen is also an author, with various books of poetry, photography, and painting published. His bibliography includes:

  • Ten Last Night — (1993), his first collection of poetry.
  • Recent Forgeries — (1998), ISBN, 5th Edition, documents Viggo's first solo exhibition and includes a CD with music and spoken-word poetry. Introduction by Dennis Hopper.
  • Errant Vine — (2000), limited edition booklet of an exhibit at the Robert Mann Gallery.
  • Hole in the Sun — (2002, ISBN), color and black & white photographs of a back yard swimming pool.
  • SignLanguage — (2002 ISBN), a catalog from an exhibition of his works, combining photographs, paintings, and poetry into a multimedia diary of his time in New Zealand while filming The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Introduction by Kevin Power.
  • Coincidence of Memory — (2002, ISBN) Third Edition. In this book, the artist combines photographs, paintings, and poems that cover his artistic output from 1978 to 2002.
  • Mo Te Upoko-o-te-ika/For Wellington — (2003), ISBN, a book to accompany the joint exhibitions at Massey University and the Wellington City Gallery during the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
  • 45301 — (2003), ISBN. Abstract images, fragments, and phrases from poems comprise this photography book. Many of the photographs were shot during travels to Morocco, Cuba, and the northern plains of the United States.
  • Un hueco en el sol — (2003), a small booklet published to accompany the exhibition "Un hueco en el sol" at the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana. In Spanish.
  • Miyelo — (2003, ISBN-X), a series of panoramic photographs of a Lakota Ghost Dance. It also tells about the events leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee.
  • Nye Falsknerier - (2003). Paintings and poems translated into Danish from Ten Last Night, Recent Forgeries, Coincidence of Memory.
  • The Horse is Good — (2004), ISBN, a photography book, partly shot during his work on the film Hidalgo, about horses as partners, teachers, and fellow travelers. Images from Morocco, South Dakota, Montana, California, Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark, Brazil, and Argentina. This book reflects Mortensen's fondness for horses. In fact, he bought Uraeus—the horse who played Brego, Aragorn's steed (Roheryn in the books) in The Lord of the Rings movies—as well as TJ, one of the horses who played Hidalgo. He also purchased the stallion that played Arwen's horse, a grey Andalusian stallion named Florian, and gave it to the stunt woman, Jane Abbott, who rode the horse in place of Liv Tyler.
  • Linger - (2005). In this book, the artist combines black and white photographs and prose poems. Images from Spain (partly shot during his work on the film Alatriste), Morocco, Iceland, United States, Denmark…
  • I Forget You For Ever - (2006). Texts and photographs.
  • Skovbo - (2008). Collection of photographs, poems (in English, Spanish and Danish) and quotes. The book is dedicated to Howard Zinn and Dennis Kucinich and functions as a companion to the photo exhibit Skovbo at the Reykjavik Museum of Photography (2008).
  • Sådanset - (2008). A small booklet published to accompany the exhibition Sådanset (October 18 - November 16, 2008) at the Palæfløjen in Roskilde (Denmark).
  • Canciones de Invierno - Winter Songs - (2010). Collection of photographs and poems. Bilingual : in Spanish and English. It includes new texts (most of the poems and all the translations) and revised versions of texts previously published. They're accompanied by pictures of landscapes taken during the previous two winters.


Visual arts and discography


Mortensen is a painter and photographer. His paintings are frequently abstract and often contain fragments of his poetry in them. His paintings have been featured in galleries worldwide, and the paintings of the artist he portrayed in A Perfect Murder are all his own.[citation needed]

Mortensen experiments with his poetry and music by mixing the two art forms. He has collaborated with guitarist Buckethead on several albums, mostly released on his own label (Perceval Press) or TDRS Music. Viggo was first introduced to Buckethead's work while working on sounds for an educational CD on Greek mythology. The finished product included a guitar part by Buckethead, which caught Viggo's ear and led him to initiate contact with the guitarist. The collaboration grew from there.

Viggo's discography includes:

  • 1994: Don't Tell Me What to Do
  • 1997: One Less Thing to Worry About
  • 1998: Recent Forgeries
  • 1999: The Other Parade
  • 1999: One Man's Meat
  • 1999: Live at Beyond Baroque
  • 2003: Pandemoniumfromamerica
  • 2004: Live at Beyond Baroque II
  • 2004: Please Tomorrow
  • 2004: This, That, and The Other
  • 2005: Intelligence Failure
  • 2006: 3 Fools 4 April
  • 2007: Time Waits for Everyone
  • 2008: At All
  • 2010: Canciones de Invierno
  • 2011: Reunion


Mortensen is featured on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King soundtrack, singing "Aragorn's Coronation" (the name of the extended version of this song in the 3rd original sound track is "The Return of the King"), the words by Tolkien and the music composed by Mortensen. In the extended DVD edition of the first Lord of the Rings movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, he sings the song "The Lay of Beren and Lúthien". His poems are written in English, Danish, and Spanish.

Personal life

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Mortensen while campaigning in New Hampshire for Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, 2008

Mortensen has a son, Henry Blake Mortensen (born January 28, 1988), with ex-wife Exene Cervenka, singer in the punk band X. Henry and Viggo have done public father/son poetry readings together as recently as April 2006. His son also has a minor uncredited role in the extended version of The Two Towers.

Mortensen holds dual American-Danish citizenship. He speaks fluent English, Danish and Spanish; he is also conversational in French and Italian, and understands Norwegian and Swedish. He has stated that he was raised speaking English and Spanish and at times feels more comfortable expressing himself in Spanish.

Mortensen is a hockey fan, particularly of the Montréal Canadiens. He wore a Montréal Canadiens t-shirt underneath his armour all through the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is also a fan of soccer and is a fan of Argentine star Diego Maradona, Héctor "Bambino" Veira, and both the Argentine and Danish national teams as well as Argentine club San Lorenzo de Almagro. In 1993, Mortensen went to Ireland during a break in shooting to watch Denmark play in a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification match. He is also a fan of the New York Mets, and recently appeared in an interview promoting 2009 film The Road wearing apparel indicating his support of the Australian Football League's Collingwood Magpies football club.

Mortensen actively campaigned for Dennis Kucinich in the 2008 United States presidential election, and later endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency. He was also one of the signees of the "Toronto Declaration" protesting against spotlighting Tel-Aviv at the TIFF in 2009.

Mortensen has owned property in northern Sandpoint Idaho, and spends time there when not filming movies. He also has a home at Malasaña neighborhood in Madrid where he spends long seasons there with friends.[citation needed]

On October 13, 2006, Viggo Mortensen was awarded the Gold Medal of the Province and the City of León, Spain.

On April 16, 2010, Viggo Mortensen was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Dannebrog.

Filmography

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YearFilmRoleNotes
1985WitnessMoses HochleitnerFilm Debut
The Purple Rose of CairoUnknown RoleScenes Deleted
1987Salvation!Jerome Stample
1988PrisonBurke/Forsythe Electrocution
Fresh HorsesGreen
1990Once in a Blue MoonTV film
TripwireHans
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre IIITex
Young Guns IIJohn W. Poe
The Reflecting SkinCameron Dove
1991The Indian RunnerFrank Roberts
1993Boiling PointRonnie
Ruby CairoJohn E. "Johnny" Faro
Carlito's WayLalin
The Young AmericansCarl Frazer
1994The CrewPhillip
FlounderingHomeless Man
Gospel According to HarryWes
American YakuzaNick Davis/David Brandt
1995GimletHombre
Crimson TideLieutenant Peter "WEAPS" Ince
The Passion of Darkly NoonClay
Black Velvet PantsuitWorthless Junkie
The ProphecyLucifer
1996Albino AlligatorGuy Foucard
DaylightRoy Nord
The Portrait of a LadyCaspar Goodwood
1997Vanishing PointJimmy KowalskiTV
G.I. JaneMaster Chief John James "Jack" Urgayle
My Brother's GunJuanito
1998A Perfect MurderDavid Shaw
PsychoSamuel "Sam" Loomis
1999A Walk on the MoonWalker Jerome
200028 DaysEddie Boone
2001The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingAragornPhoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersPhoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingBroadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2004HidalgoFrank Hopkins
2005A History of ViolenceTom Stall/Joey CusackNominated — Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
2006AlatristeDiego Alatriste y TenorioNominated — Goya Award for Best Actor
2007Eastern PromisesNikolai LuzhinBritish Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor
Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
2008Slacker UprisingHimselfMortensen speaks at a 2004 "Slacker Uprising" rally in Columbus, Ohio.
AppaloosaEverett Hitch
GoodJohn Halder
2009Reclaiming the BladeHimself
The People SpeakHimselfDocumentary
The RoadThe ManUtah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actor
2011A Dangerous MethodSigmund FreudPost-production
On the RoadOld Bull LeeIn production


Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viggo_Mortensen


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