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Viggo Mortensen

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Viggo Mortensen Political Views and Activism

Viggo MortensenViggo Mortensen earned degrees in Government and Spanish at St. Lawrence University. He is multi-lingual and widely traveled, and has a broad world view. Mortensen's appearance on the Charlie Rose show in December of 2002, in which he wore a "No More Blood for Oil" T-shirt and spoke openly of his opposition to the move toward war in Iraq, brought his views to the attention of the public. He has continued to speak out regularly against the war and other Bush administration policies.

I will not pretend to neutrality here; I share most of Mortensen's views on the war in Iraq and his concerns about the motivations of Bush and the current administration. Time is precious so with few exceptions I am presenting those articles and quotes that present his opinions and/or support them. If you are looking for sites presenting the other side, a Google search for "Viggo Charlie Rose" will lead you to plenty of them.

Viggo Mortensen & Dennis Kucinich

Viggo Mortensen endorsed Dennis Kucinich in New Hampshire in January, 2008, and campaigned for him. In this video, Mortensen explains why he is supporting Kucinich and details his beliefs:

On January 6, 2008, Viggo Mortensen appeared on Fox's "Hannity and Colmes" show with Dennis Kucinich. Here is the video:

Political Articles & Interviews

I used to read 'Martin Fierro' as a childI used to read 'Martin Fierro' as a child - Revista Noticias #1310, February 2, 2002
Argentinean interview focuses on Viggo Mortensen's immersion into the role of Aragorn, and on his view of world politics. He comments on the parallels between Tolkien's tales and the current state of Argentina and the world.   [CellHaven]   [ManyFaces]

An Interview with Viggo Mortensen - January 12, 2003
Translated transcript of a telephone interview by Noemi Miranda for the Chilean newspaper La Tercera. Topics include LOTR, Hidalgo, art, politics, and Viggo's philosophy of life.   [CellHaven]

The fellowship vs. the empire - The Japan Times, February 19, 2003
Interview with Viggo Mortensen and Karl Urban during their Japan tour focuses on their pacifist politics as contrasted with the intense physical combat portrayed in The Two Towers.

The man who would be kingThe man who would be king - Salon, October 24, 2003
In an exclusive interview, Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings," talks about Miyelo and his other photography, his indie publishing house, and why Bush will go down in history as the Sauron of American presidents. The most extensive political statements we have seen from Viggo. You will need to sign up for a subscription or a free "day pass" to view the full article at Salon.com, but it is well worth it.

Viggo Mortensen Joins Anti-War Protest in Washington D.C.Viggo Mortensen Joins Anti-War Protest in Washington D.C. - Ringbearer.org, October 26, 2003
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER) joined together in Washington D.C. in a call for unification of all who oppose the war and occupation of Iraq. Viggo Mortensen read his poem "Back To Babylon" at the rally and dedicated it to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and the US. Article includes the text of the poem plus three photographs.   [Brego.net]

A year in the life of Viggo Mortensen - Studio, December 2003
From 19-Dec-2002 to the end of 2003, Viggo Mortensen lists some of the high and low points from his perspective, in art, films and especially world politics.   [Chronicles]   [ManyFaces]   [Brego.net]

Jeffrey Overstreet's Interview with Viggo MortensenJeffrey Overstreet's Interview with Viggo Mortensen - Looking Closer, December 5, 2003

Lord of the Rings Star is King of the Warriors - Newsday, December 14, 2003
Topics covered in this thoughtful interview include the filming of The Lord of the Rings, Viggo's Elvish contributions to the films, and the connections between Tolkien, politics, photography and life. "What [The Lord of the Rings] is about, and what the experience of working with these people is about," he says, "is celebrating the idea of fellowship and community, celebrating the effort to find common ground and considering that we really do have a lot more in common with others than not."   [Brego.net]

Actors' politics pollute 'Ring' - USA Today, January 11, 2004
Michael Medved criticizes Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, and other actors who make political statements, saying that "controversial off-screen pronouncements color our on-screen perceptions of Aragorn or Gimli, and threaten the perceived—and heroic—unity of the Fellowship of the Ring."

What Was Medved Thinking?What Was Medved Thinking? - Hollywood Jesus, February 14, 2004
Scroll down past the blinking Hollywood Jesus banner and the ads, and you will find an excellent in-depth article interview with Viggo Mortensen on the relationship of Tolkien's work to today's international situation, the artist's right to speak out politically, the great themes of the Lord of the Rings, and the translation from book to film.

"Life's Too Short to Do All This Work and Not Do It Right""Life's Too Short to Do All This Work and Not Do It Right" - Morphizm.com, April 6, 2004
This interview mentions Miyelo and then moves into a discussion of the mission of Perceval Press and aspects of American and international politics. Viggo explains the main reason he decided to visit Cuba: "If you don't think of Cubans or Iraqis as actual human beings with jobs and day-to-day lives, if you don't see them or hear their voices, then it's easier to be against them. They're faceless." Follow the Along With the Ride link on the page for the full text of "Back to Babylon."

Impeach, Remove, Jail - Perceval Press, September 1, 2005
Call to action from Viggo Mortensen, published on the Perceval Press home page and widely copied throughout the net. He begins, "In the often and rightly quoted words of Bill Clinton, 'There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America.' and concludes, "Please call or write your government representatives and help get the scoundrels out of government and in prison where they belong. Do not allow the subject to be changed, do not be distracted. The time to act is now. Take back your country."   [Brego.net]

Viggo Mortensen Interview - The Progressive, November 2005


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Charlie Rose Show, December 2002

Viggo Mortensen on the Charlie Rose showSLANT - The Two Towers: Resistance and Conscience - Laura McCullough comments at length on Viggo Mortensen's statements on the Charlie Rose show. An excerpt: "Strider, the brooding, private ranger, reluctantly accepts his role as a leader and is revealed as heir to a tarnished kingship.... Similarly, Mr. Mortensen seemed equivocal at first, in keeping with his reputation as an artist and poet, yet he grew into his criticism of the repressive Bush Doctrine both home and abroad...."
Elijah WoodWood's Comments on the Charlie Rose Show - In this December 2002 interview with Cinescape, Elijah Wood is asked about the antiwar statements Viggo made in their recent appearance on the Charlie Rose show. He replied at length, including the statement, "I am very proud of Viggo for saying what he said." Article is also interesting for Elijah's perspective on the Two Towers film.

Twilight of Empire

Twilight of Empire: Book Review - Two reviews of Twilight of Empire, and a link to reader comments.
Twilight of Empire: Responses to OccupationTwilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation - A collection of essays, news articles, first-person accounts and photographs on the Iraq conflict, published by Mortensen's Perceval Press and featuring his poem, "Back to Babylon."

From the Perceval description: "Now that the Bush administration's occupation of Iraq has become more about enforcing the economic and political objectives of a corporate elite and less about disarming a dictator that used to be an American ally and had nothing to do with the tragedies of 9/11, a spirited and informed analysis is needed more than ever. Twilight of Empire fulfills that growing hunger for desperately needed on-the-ground truth and context far from the talking-head misinformation offered by conventional media outlets."

Softcover, 9.5 x 6.5 inches, 128 pages, $14.95

Video Clips: Charlie Rose Show

Charlie Rose Show, December 3, 2002  «2-Oct-05» - Viggo Mortensen, Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood were guests on the PBS talk show, Charlie Rose, to discuss their upcoming movie The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Viggo wore a T-shirt emblazoned with "No More Blood On Oil" which provoked a dialogue on current events. The first video and audio links below include the political discussion but not the discussion of The Two Towers. The third (created by Dina for OBM & War of the Ring) is a 2-part clip of the entire show.
Viggo Mortensen on Charlie RoseCharlie Rose Show, September 23, 2005  «2-Oct-05» - Click the above link for compact Quicktime and WMV video clips of the political discussion between Viggo Mortensen and Charlie Rose on the Charlie Rose Show, September 23, 2005. A few quotes. "I think if [the people of Iraq] are left to take care of their own affairs, I think they'll do better in the long run." When asked if he thought the United States should pull out right now, he answered, "Absolutely. I support our troops, and the best way to support them is to bring them home immediately. This is the wrong place to be." Speaking of Bush: "Fiscal responsibility. Moral values. Fiscal responsibility. All of the planks of his political platforms have proved to be rotten and unstable."

In a broader sense, he comments, "In some sense, there is no such thing as 'national security' any more than there is 'individual security.' You have to keep working on it." Discussion goes on to cover Perceval Press and the roots of Viggo's activism.

If you are looking for the full interview, including discussion of A History of Violence, thank the awesome splatnext for the (LARGE) full-length download below.

Video Clips: Viggo Political Interviews

The Stephanie Miller ShowStephanie Miller Radio Interview 13 Sept 2005  «13-Oct-05» - Los Angeles radio talk show host Stephanie Miller conducts a call-in interview with Viggo Mortensen, in which he talks about Bush administration policies and his call for impeachment. She also teases him about being "hot."
MP3 audio (03'52, 1.32MB)
Viggo Mortensen speaking at a Washington D.C. protestViggo Mortensen at Anti-War Protest, October 2003  «2-Oct-05» - Viggo Mortensen spoke at a Washington D.C. protest of the war and occupation of Iraq, 25 October 2003. Viggo read his poem "Back To Babylon" at the rally and dedicated it to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and the US. Photos and more details. Thanks to JoannaP for sending us this archived clip of his speech. The MP3 is an interview by a reporter at the event.

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Quotes from Viggo on Politics and Activism

"I do find that in this country you have to make a big effort to be well-informed. There is no real news anymore. The war in Iraq was not unlike a studio movie. There was a certain schedule. There was a budget. There were the appropriate visuals. There was a lot of comparing the good guys with the bad guys. The administration used nomenclature reminiscent of the '30s; it's like they're studying the German technique of subverting attention in a time of national crisis. The erasure of memory is more prevalent than ever. It is easier to sell people the same load of shit tomorrow if they forgot they bought it today."

As quoted by Allison Glock, GQ, "Twenty-one Reasons to Dig Viggo Mortensen"
November 2003

"I won't say it's cowardly to leave the country, but there's something about staying here and saying what I have to say. I'm a citizen. I don't want to be outside taking potshots."

As quoted by Allison Glock, GQ, "Twenty-one Reasons to Dig Viggo Mortensen"
November 2003

"I like to resolve things. I like to feel everyone's gotten a fair chance. I can be judgmental about what I perceive as cruelty - someone who puts themselves before the good of the group - and I think that is a real danger that is... evil, self-interest at the cost of the group. In our story, the Ring has been compared to many things - for example, nuclear weapons. Ultimate evil. And I think in our country today, the Ring is more akin to the rash of ever-expanding legislature and, uh, programmes, concepts, pacts with ominous names like 'homeland security'- those are intimidating, grand names for things that essentially have to do with controlling people's wills and people's behaviour from a distance."

Interview by Ariel Leve, The Sunday Times, "The Brain Dane"
November 30, 2003

"I think we're in a very dark period. At what point do you admit it was a mistake and get the hell out of there? How much damage has to be done? How much damage has to be done to the credibility of the United States? This is a disturbing time, and you don't have to be of any political persuasion to be disturbed or troubled by it. I think we're in a time of deliberate cruelty and deliberate lying, and, frankly, I think it's the very bottom of humanity."

As quoted by Alex Kuczynski in Vanity Fair, "Finding Viggo"
January 2004

"I mean, movies are entertainment. [The Lord of the Rings] is a story. It bothered me how some people misapplied the story to the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. It's like the way Hitler misapplied Norse mythology and literature to validate the Third Reich."

As quoted by Alex Kuczynski in Vanity Fair, "Finding Viggo"
January 2004

While filming Hidalgo in Morocco, Oct 2002: "It was obvious to everybody there that the Iraq invasion was a movie that was greenlit. It was going to happen in spite of the charade.

"I wouldn't have been surprised to deal with animosity from the people there, but mostly what I heard was, 'We like Americans and their culture. What we don't understand is why you can't control your government.'"

As quoted by Jim Slotek, Toronto Sun, "Cash isn't king: Viggo just wants a good script"
February 3, 2004

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