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My favorite time of day? Early morning in the depths of winter - no doubt about it. When the ground’s hard under my feet and the air's so sharp I feel like it can cut me. When it's so cold it that it almost hurts to breathe but the air's so clean and clear, I feel like I can see forever. That's when the light's just right for taking distance landscape shots because what I see with my eye is what the camera will pick up; there’s no layers of dirty air in between getting in the way. It’s also when the low sun can pick out and accentuate the detail of trees and grasses, hillsides and roadsides – things like that. I like to be out alone at that time of day – when its still quiet - before the world wakes up. Just me and a camera looking at what’s still so good about the world.



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Okay... so I could go on at length about seeing my son for the first time - but you people have probably heard me talk about Henry enough already. There are a whole load of things that have stopped me in my tracks on the first time of seeing - like my face after they stitched me up... No - I mean natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon or the Purple Mountains or awe-inspiring buildings like La Segrada Familia in Barcelona and the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. And art and sculpture - there are so many paintings I have seen when I have just stopped and stared - blown away by the artist's understanding of their subject, their interpretation, and their passion.

But there are amazing people too. I remember the first time I saw Peter Jackson. I was immediately struck by his enthusiasm and love of Tolkien, and the huge project in front of him. I remember seeing the Fellowship in the theater for the first time and feeling the tears in my eyes when Boromir died. And of course, I will never forget the first time I saw Sean Bean...



Blue

Jun. 24th, 2005 04:12 pm
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A colour. A mood. Images of sky and sea, midnight and noon. Blue is calm, natural with shades so many, they're difficult to name. But Viggo's going to give it a good try... He sighs and sits down in his studio in his empty house, his fingers immediately touching his mixer palette. He doesn't know why this color is in his head right now, but it is. Maybe it's his mood. No, wait. He does know and it is his mood. Because the blue devils are out to get him. Because out of the blue, Sean had left. Viggo stares out of the window, remembering the fight that had started out as something trivial and ended up in one of those crazy pride-ridden scenarios that had no resolution. And Sean had left. For an hour, Viggo had remained resolute in his belief that he was right - and that Sean would come back. But now the sky has begun to darken and all Viggo can feel is scared - and alone. And maybe it’s the almost indigo hue to the sky above the rooflights in his studio, but Viggo feels an almost compelling need to paint his feelings in blue. Mixing shades from navy to royal to sky to sapphire to azure to steel to cobalt to slate and midnight, Viggo covers the paper with broad strokes, his tear wet fingers smudging the shades where they join. By the time he has finished, his tears have dried and the indigo sky is almost black. But he is still alone.



Pride

May. 30th, 2005 03:04 pm
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What am I most proud of? Well, I could go on for ages about Henry of course. I'm proud of everything he's ever done from the moment he was born to the young man he is now. And I'm proud of being his dad - he's a delight - my son, my best friend. But when it comes to being proud about something I have done, its kind of hard to focus on one thing - or my role in it. Take Lord of the Rings for example. Of course I'm hugely proud of what was achieved with the movies. PJ was a man with a singular vision and an incredible determination to see it through. As an actor, I was just one of hundreds of people in a team who were doing their best to support that vision. And yeah, I'm proud of what I did - as I am with most of the movies I've been in, but I don't need awards and accolades and all that crap. How I feel inside about what I've achieved is what matters. That's why there's some of my movies I'm trying real hard to forget.

I guess what I'm really proud of is Percival. Setting it up and having the opportunity to work with other artists and support their talent in any way I can. And if having a name and the ability to take photographs means anything to me, it's that it helps me have a voice - helps me raise awareness of the crap that's going on this world.

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Which are you more afraid of: Being too gullible and believing things that aren't true, or being too sceptical and missing out on something important?

I think afraid is the wrong word here. To be afraid of being lied to means you'll never live. Life is full of delights and disappointments, truths and lies, light and dark, good and bad. If I had to go through it perpetually worrying if some person or institution was telling me the truth or lying to me all the time, I'd get nowhere. I wouldn't have a voice or an opinion of my own. I wouldn't be able to make friends or fall in love. I guess it's in my nature to think well of people - and yeah, sometimes I've been wrong - but that's life; there's no use in being afraid of that.

I suppose it’s a good thing to have a kind of healthy scepticism for the written word. Opinions, by definition have to be subjective so there's always going to be an opposing point of view. But thinking about this a bit more leads me to politicians - and of course, I don't believe one word any of them say.

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A couple of years ago, I'd have said my memories. Memories of all the places I've been, people I've met and loved... But now, even though those memories are still important, still cherished - I'd say my most treasured possession is my place in Idaho. And I treasure it not for where it is or what it looks like, but for what it is - and that's my private place. It's a place of calm and quiet where I can be alone - away from all the necessary shit that surrounds the business I'm in. And having that kind of place somehow seems to be getting more and more important. It's somewhere I can can go by myself or with my son and ride my horses or walk or paint and not have to worry if someone's got a lens trained on me. A place where I can be me. A place I call home.

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It would be real easy to say a one word answer to this - Henry. I couldn't live without him. Being a father to him has pretty much defined me these last 17 years - and I can't imagine not having him in my life. But there are other things - things like freedom and security and having all my senses in working order. I couldn't bear not being able to see - imagine not being able to watch the sun rise and watching it set, watching snow fall and the trees grow. I couldn't live if I wasn't able to be outdoors, to be on my own and breathe fresh air. And I can't imagine not being able to express myself through painting and writing and taking pictures of this incredible world that we seem hell-bent on destroying.

But people - they're the most important to me. There's Henry - and now there's another - Bean.

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What I see as a lack of privacy. I enjoy taking photographs and I understand the impact a good photograph can make and I don't mind having my picture taken, especially on a formal shoot - truth is I enjoy the attention... And given the right light and background and sometimes some real neat clothes, it can be good fun and I like the money it pays. Money that I can use to live and not have to spend time in front of the camera. Like I understand that photocalls are part of the marketing of a movie. Its an accepted price to pay. But not the intrusions into my private life.

What I hate is if I'm cutting the lawn, walking the dog or taking out the trash is wondering if there's a lens trained on me and some guy's taking pictures in the hope I'll pick my nose or scratch my ass or something. Maybe I just don't understand why folks would want photographs of me clearing up the yard.

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What can I say is truly mine? The things that make up me, I guess. Things like my values and self respect and my self expression. My privacy, autonomy, liberty and freedom to choose. My love for my son. My art, poetry, things like that. Of course I own things, sure - like a house and a car and a lawn mower, but I don't think of them as mine, but more the means by which I can live my life. I suppose that's where I'm different from some other folk in this business. I'm not really into material possessions as some kind of statement of who I am. I am who I am regardless of where I live or what I wear...

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There's different kinds of love. Love for your lover at first means thinking about them pretty much all the time - meaning you can't function properly. You can't eat or sleep or work or concentrate on anything but how you feel. And then over time it means even more. It means warmth and hope and belonging - and suddenly its comfortable - like a favourite shirt. It seems to fit in all the right places. And that's when you have to nurture it even more because things can become too comfortable.

Then there's the love for your child. An unconditional love that takes your breath away, because you never expected anything like it. And as your child grows you're torn between wanting to lock the door and protect them from all the evil in the world and wanting them to see and touch and experience so much. You want them to learn and grow... so you let them go. And then there's the love for your friends - a special love, born of trust and companionship and understanding; a love I cherish.

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New Zealand. I went there to play a part in a movie because I was asked nicely and my son sort of told me to go, I guess. And despite my worries about leaving him for such a long time, I'm sure glad I did go. The experience is one I'll never forget, as I won't forget the people who helped make it unforgettable. And yes, I returned and I'll return again - I'm pretty sure of that. The country and its people are incredible. But home will always be where my son is - and where Sean my heart is. And he's waiting for me, so...

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My exact opposite would be focused and driven by the desire to succeed. They'd live their life in the fast lane surrounded by equally empty and driven people. They'd be organised with their life planned out and plotted in some electronic gismo and have no concern whatsoever with who was in charge of this country as long as they got to pay as little taxes as possible. Oh yes - they'd also be tidy and well dressed with a room full of shoes...

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Of course it's possbible - everything's possible. I think I have some women friends - you'd have to ask them, I guess. But what's important is that they only share aspects of my life, not my soul - my closest friend is my son. For me it's the friendship itself that matters - the reciprocity - how it's shaped and nurtured by the people involved, not their gender.

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Some peace and quiet. Maybe some mood music - not sure what - I'll think about that later. Soft lighting - candlelight probably. A large bowl of strawberries and cream. And Sean Bean - naked.

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Other than my son, what I most have to be thankful for is the second chance with the person I was destined to be with, I guess. I'm thankful that we both took the risk - were brave enough to take a step together and say the words out loud. And I'm also thankful that neither of us are wasting any more time now going on about all the time we wasted before. Because that'd be too easy to do. And now we've found each other, we just want to live.

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Male. Late 1950's model. Used but in very good condition for age - all parts are genuine and original and are in full working order. Used to living outdoors. Full service manual available. Fairly low maintenance costs.  A bargain.

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Like most kids I'd had beer a few times, but the first time I got really drunk I was 17 and ended up on the kitchen floor drinking water out of the dog's bowl. There's something unique about water in a dog's bowl - that weird mix of hair and saliva… But that experience didn't put me off any and the next time I kind of had an argument with a barbed wire fence. I ended up with a night in hospital and a face changed forever.

And nearly thirty years later I still get drunk now and then. I try and keep away from the dog's bowl though.

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