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Viggo Mortensen's Quotes

Viggo Mortensen profile photo

Born: 1958-10-20
Profession: Actor
Nation: American
Biography of Viggo Mortensen

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I try to avoid conflict. I don't want people to be unhappy.

Tags: Avoid, Try, Unhappy

I'd like to, when it's all said and done, say that I have at least a few stories that I feel proud of.

Tags: Done, Proud, Said

I'm an optimist; I always hope that each new script is going to be a great story.

Tags: Great, Hope, Story

I'm not a great fan of monarchy in general, but I have to say the Danish monarchy is closer to the people; it's not as stuffy as the English one.

Tags: English, General, Great

I'm not afraid of death, but I resent it. I think it's unfair and irritating.

Tags: Afraid, Death, Unfair

I'm not that involved in personal grooming. But I try not to be offensive to people.

Tags: Involved, Personal, Try

I'm optimistic about people and about the planet and about nature. I think it's resilient, like people are.

Tags: Nature, Optimistic, Planet

I've never had a problem with people paying attention to what you're doing and say they find that they liked it.

Tags: Attention, Liked, Problem

If you don't find some way to discuss what's going on inside you, it can come out in other ways that are self-destructive.

Tags: Discuss, Inside, Ways

In a lot of ways, I envy someone like Omar Sharif who lived in a hotel for decades.

Tags: Envy, Someone, Ways

In a movie, you're raw material, just a hue of some color and the director makes the painting.

Tags: Color, Makes, Movie

In terms of the movie business, being in a 'Lord of the Rings' has given me more interesting options as work.

Tags: Business, Lord, Work

In the end, the actor's main power is the power to say, 'No.'

Tags: Actor, End, Power

It doesn't take that many years for a kid to realise that they're going to die. It's always there in the back of their mind the rest of their lives.

Tags: Die, Lives, Mind

It's always interesting to play a character that obviously has a secret.

Tags: Character, Obviously, Secret

It's hard not to get depressed when you pay attention to the world and how strangely and corrupt the people in it sometimes behave.

Tags: Attention, Hard, Sometimes

It's very rare you get a great script just handed to you, or sent to you, by someone you don't know.

Tags: Great, Rare, Someone

Jung viewed Freud as a mentor, but he never wanted to be anybody's disciple.

Tags: Anybody, Mentor, Wanted

Kids accept where they are because they don't know the past. They know what they have; they know where they are.

Tags: Accept, Kids, Past

Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is.

Tags: Life, Older, Short

Most actors can't make any kind of living.

Tags: Living

Most movies are lucky to have one moment, one shot that you look at and you always remember that moment and that scene.

Tags: Moment, Movies, Remember

My goal is just to make movies, whether they're big or small, that I'd like to see 10 years from now.

Tags: Goal, Movies, Small
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Nobody really knows anybody completely, even if they've been married to 'em for 53 years, you know?

Tags: Knows, Married, Nobody

People like to pigeonhole you. It's easier.

Tags: Easier, Pigeonhole

Photography, painting or poetry - those are just extensions of me, how I perceive things; they are my way of communicating.

Tags: Painting, Perceive, Poetry

Pinochet and Barack Obama both have the same primary goal, and that's to be president and stay president as long as allowed.

Tags: Both, Goal, President

Saying you are a patriot does not make you one; wearing a flag pin does not in itself mean anything at all.

Tags: Flag, Mean, Saying

Some people who like dogs don't like cats, but I'm not like that.

Tags: Cats, Dogs

The best thing an actor can be is flexible, because all directors are different and all actors are different.

Tags: Actor, Best, Directors

The first decade of your life is really important; it's formative.

Tags: Decade, Formative, Life

The Holocaust movie is almost a genre in itself these days.

Tags: Almost, Days, Movie

The money I earn from films means I can help the people I want to help - you can do a lot of good if you want to.

Tags: Good, Help, Money

'The Road' is about that fear that all parents can have - 'What's going to happen to your child if you're not around?'

Tags: Fear, Happen, Parents

'The Road' was a movie that has a good reputation, even though it wasn't released very well, but that's a movie I'm very proud of.

Tags: Good, Proud, Road

There's no sense in doing something, especially if it's a hard job, if you can't have a little fun.

Tags: Fun, Hard, Job

Those who have the power and should be the most responsible are often the least responsible.

Tags: Often, Power

To be honest, I don't really care about any pope. It's not something I think about much, to be quite honest with you.

Tags: Care, Honest, Quite

Usually the characters I play are men of few words, who communicate in non-verbal ways.

Tags: Few, Men, Words

What art does is it makes you feel alive and makes you feel like you're connected.

Tags: Alive, Art, Makes

When I have a day off, I won't spend it at a Hollywood party. I'd rather be at home with paints and a blank canvas.

Tags: Home, Off, Rather

When I land in a country and they ask for 'occupation,' I always just put 'artist.' I think that covers all of it.

Tags: Artist, Country, Put

When I was a little boy, I rode, but I didn't own horses.

Tags: Boy, Horses, Rode

When you're under stress as a human being, you behave oddly and your relationships with people become strained.

Tags: Become, Human, Stress

With few exceptions, one ought always do what one is afraid of.

Tags: Afraid, Exceptions, Few

You can't really divorce yourself and your life from the world you live in.

Tags: Divorce, Life, Yourself

You can't really go back to where you came from. I don't think any of us can.

Tags: Lucky, Matter, Talented

You know, 'Viggo' is a pretty dorky name in Denmark. It's like 'Oswald' or something. It's a very old Scandinavian name, at least 1,000 years old.

Tags: Name, Old, Pretty

You know, real life doesn't just suddenly resolve itself. You have to keep working at it.

Tags: Life, Real, Working

You see people on the street yelling and think they're crazy, but maybe they're just happy and expressing what they feel at all times.

Tags: Crazy, Happy, Times

I have never been in a natural place and felt that it was a waste of time. I never have. And it's a relief. If I'm walking around a desert or whatever, every second is worthwhile.

Tags: Place, Time, Whatever

I'm just looking as always for something that's stimulating and I hope to find a good story that's a challenge, whether it's big or small. Or that it finds me. I don't have like a career plan. Maybe I should, but I don't.

Tags: Career, Good, Hope

A little recognition is not a bad thing because it means people appreciate your work. The only problem is when you can't walk down the street or have a meal without people looking at you. I want to be the one looking at people.

Tags: Bad, Problem, Work

A lot of times, movies that are in the top 10 lists or maybe even win Baftas or Oscars, you then watch them a year later and you go, 'Maybe it wasn't so great.'

Tags: Great, Movies, Win

Adult characters are all the things they've encountered over time. But kids haven't accumulated all the life experience, all the regrets. They tend to be more in the moment, more willing to play, to be joyful.

Tags: Experience, Life, Time

Anyone can identify with those moments in life where circumstances or people inform us that we've strayed from the path of our better nature and intentions. We know what that's like, and we resist it - so as not to feel like we're bad people.

Tags: Bad, Life, Nature

As far as money goes, there's a saying in Denmark: 'Your last suit doesn't have any pockets.' You can't take it with you. You can make all the money you want, but who cares?

Tags: Far, Money, Saying

At the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century in Austria, there was a lot of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism in Austria was much more pervasive than in Germany. And Austrians took to Nazi ideas and anti-Semitism much more readily than Germans did, really.

Tags: End, Half, Ideas

Be kind. It's worthwhile to make an effort to learn about other people and figure out what you might have in common with them. If you allow yourself to be somewhat curious - and if you get into the habit of doing that - it's the first step to being open minded and realizing that your points of view aren't totally opposite.

Tags: Effort, Learn, Yourself

Being an actor, imitating to the point of inhabiting the lives of others, may simply be a way of continuing to do what I learned to do as a boy - to travel, mentally and physically.

Tags: Learned, May, Travel

Every year I hear people complain that the quality of screenplays and movies is declining. In my opinion, the vast majority of scripts written - as well as most movies that are released - are not very original, well-written, or interesting. It has always been that way, and I think it always will be.

Tags: Movies, Opinion, Year

Freud was the son of a Jewish merchant who had to move his whole family to Vienna because he couldn't get work. He, as a boy, had to watch his father be mocked and abused on the street for being Jewish... You develop a thick skin and you develop a certain kind of wit to defend yourself.

Tags: Family, Work, Yourself

Further devastation of the air, land and sea is obviously a very real possibility, unless the attitudes of politicians and all who irresponsibly exploit our natural resources change significantly in the very near future and all collaborate and sacrifice for the good of the planet.

Tags: Change, Future, Good

I don't have a BlackBerry or whatever you call it. And there is something to be said for being isolated and out of phone range, because you can fall into a habit to such a degree that you don't even realise that you've lost something: silence.

Tags: Lost, Said, Silence

I grew up with horses when I was a kid in Argentina. I like them. I respect them. I'm careful around them. You never know what they're going to do. They're endlessly interesting. I've had some good acting partners that were horses over the years.

Tags: Acting, Good, Respect

I hate divers, like Cristiano Ronaldo, who might be the greatest athlete in the sport, but he's a big baby. If things are going well he's great, but when things are going badly it's the ref's fault, it's his teammates' fault.

Tags: Great, Greatest, Hate

I have a publishing company of books by me and books of others. It drew people to poetry readings and photo exhibitions and painting exhibitions that I've been doing for years before that.

Tags: Books, Others, Poetry

I know I said I wanted to live forever and I would never be bored, but the reality is, it's probably kind of sad to live forever if you're the only one sticking around.

Tags: Bored, Reality, Sad

I know people who prepare their roles in such a way that they technically look ahead and memorize their gestures, and then they stick to it. Those that are technically proficient enough can make it seem natural, but they do that and don't really take in what other people are doing.

Tags: Enough, Natural, Seem

I like the detail work of telling a story in small pieces, as is done in movie-making, and also the long leap of faith needed to see a theatre performance through each night. Both require focus and self-discipline.

Tags: Faith, Focus, Work

I realise how important it is to use the time I have. I respect people who want to do that by watching television. I happen to want to read books. But I know I can't read all the books or watch all the movies in one lifetime.

Tags: Movies, Respect, Time

I really enjoyed working with New Zealanders as crew members, as teammates. They're great, and it's a beautiful country. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and I've traveled quite a bit.

Tags: Beautiful, Country, Great

I suppose a good director is like a teacher. I think that someone like David Cronenberg was very much like a teacher, because there's an openness, but a certain set of rules of behavior, and a certain conduct expected. But there's an atmosphere that's relaxed and conducive to exploration, and that is created by someone like Cronenberg.

Tags: Good, Someone, Teacher

I think maybe because I do other things and they mean as much to me as movie acting, it takes the onus off me. It's not the end of the world if I can't get a film job, or if a movie doesn't turn out well - even though I don't like it when that happens.

Tags: End, Job, Mean

I think that every person has many, many people inside of them. We change our personality depending on who we are talking to or what situation we are in.

Tags: Change, Situation, Talking

I think that people who get to a certain position, and then try to ferociously defend it or build on it, it's kind of a dead-end street. You see people becoming miserable that way.

Tags: Miserable, Street, Try

I try to research or make up for myself what happened in any character's life. From when he was born until the first page of the script. I fill in the blanks.

Tags: Character, Life, Try

I was raised in Argentina until I was 11 and now I go back there a lot, at least twice a year. It's a country where I feel very comfortable and it represents an important period in my life.

Tags: Country, Life, Year

I was raised speaking English and Spanish. And I also speak Danish. And I can get by in French and Italian. I've acted in Spanish and English, but when something has to do with emotions, sometimes I feel I can get to the heart of the matter better in Spanish.

Tags: Heart, Sometimes, Speak

I would literally climb out of the cradle while my parents slept, go and crawl off. I did this a couple of times apparently. I'd cross the road and into someone's house, wake them up banging pots and pans in the kitchen.

Tags: Off, Parents, Someone

I'm certainly curious about people. As a kid, I moved around a lot. I was raised in a lot of different places, and thanks to working in the movies, I've gotten to keep traveling. I've always been interested in other cultures and languages.

Tags: Keep, Movies, Working

I'm not afraid of death, but I resent it. I think it's unfair and irritating. Every time I see something beautiful, I not only want to return to it, but it makes me want to see other beautiful things. I know I'm not going to get to all the places I want to go.

Tags: Beautiful, Death, Time

I'm sort of contrary and stubborn sometimes. When everybody says, 'You have to read this book! You have to read this book!' I'm like 'Oh, I'll get around to it.'

Tags: Book, Read, Sometimes

I'm very comfortable in Argentina. I was raised there as a baby and stayed there until I was 11 years old, so the first decade of my life or my formative years were spent in Argentina. I stayed in tune with the food, music and language.

Tags: Food, Life, Music

I've been lucky to learn by playing all kinds of roles and watching all kinds of really good cinematographers, actors, and directors for many years before people were even aware of me in terms of audience.

Tags: Good, Learn, Playing

I've never been conscious of having any real career plan, and I do not have a wish-list of actors, directors, screenwriters, or cameramen I'm hoping to work with. Life, I feel, has a way of leading us to the right situations and people, or at least to interesting ones.

Tags: Life, Real, Work

I've never played a Dane in a movie. I've had offers to be in Danish movies, including for some good directors, but I either had a job at the time or, when I was available, the movie just didn't happen. Hopefully someday I'll do one.

Tags: Good, Movies, Time

If in my twenties I'd gotten one of the two-dozen roles that I did screen tests for and almost got, I think I would have become bored with the awards circuit, the whole hype machine.

Tags: Become, Bored, Whole

If there's one thing I've learned from traveling, it's that it is definitely more important how you are than where you are. You can say, 'Oh, I hate X city, I hate that country, or I prefer this city,' but it's a little bit up to you to find some kind of happiness.

Tags: Country, Happiness, Hate

Ignorance breeds antipathy. Until I got to know how computers worked, I didn't want anything to do with them. I said, 'Well, why do I need them? I write letters.' Which I still do.

Tags: Computers, Ignorance, Why

In a lot of places in the United States and certainly even more places around the world, the image of the cowboy has become, for some people, a negative one. The word 'cowboy' implies a strong, stubborn individual whose individualism depends on pulling down other people's individualism.

Tags: Become, Negative, Strong

In a way, editing is not unlike the movies. The best books, just like the best movies, are a collaboration. They're only as good as the compromise made between the artists involved.

Tags: Best, Good, Movies

In my opinion, the vast majority of scripts written - as well as most movies that are released - are not very original, well-written, or interesting. It has always been that way, and I think it always will be.

Tags: Movies, Opinion, Written

In principle, I think the idea of rewarding a good effort is interesting, but movies are generally different from each other as are performances and the conditions on how the performances are given and how they're edited and so forth.

Tags: Good, Idea, Movies

It's amazing to me that Glenn Beck can be on the cover of 'Time,' and there can be a whole article about him basically saying, 'Well, you know, he's controversial.' It's like, 'No, he's a dangerous idiot who needs the help of a good psychiatrist!'

Tags: Amazing, Good, Time

It's just like with people. You're going to get along better working with them - human or equine - if you ask politely rather than demand that they do things.

Tags: Human, Rather, Working

It's not the end of the world if I can't get a film job, or if a movie doesn't turn out well - even though I don't like it when that happens. There are other things I enjoy doing, and I involve myself in them.

Tags: End, Enjoy, Job

It's true that I have a wide range of interests. I like to write and paint and make music and go walking on my own and garden. In fact, gardening is probably what I enjoy doing more than anything else.

Tags: Gardening, Music, True

Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realise how important it is to use the time I have.

Tags: Experience, Life, Time

Like most people - unless they're very practised at it or have no warm blood at all in their veins - I feel a little apprehensive about the red carpet. It's always a bit bewildering when people are taking pictures and asking questions before the ceremony.

Tags: Blood, Pictures, Questions
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