I haven't seen this up in TORn yet, and I can't find it on the web, so I'll just have to type it out. On page 2 of the Life section of today's USA Today, there's a photo of Viggo on his horse, posing for the cameras, and Dom and Lij with their "ponies", under the headline above. The article follows (and it's a good one - *G*):
Los Angeles, William Keck
With the rain coming down - along with the Academy Awards scaffolding - Hollywood Boulevard on Monday night was but a pale reminder of the previous evening's Oscar glamour.
Then out of the darkness, to the cheers of fans, the magic of "The Lord of the Rings" was reborn once more, as King Aragorn rode down the street atop his mighty steed.
Onlookers didn't seem to mind that Aragorn, aka Viggo Mortenson, was dressed in a black designer suit, or that his steed actually was Mortenson's newest pet - a mustang named TJ.
The handsome actor, who'd skipped the Oscars, was on hand at Disney's El Capitan Theatre to premiere his old-fashioned adventure film, "Hidalgo", which opens Friday.
"He was nice enough to invite me tonight," Mortenson said of his ride, one of four Hidalgos used in the film. He bought the hourse after filming wrapped. "I'm his date for the evening."
In the film, Mortenson plays rough-ridin' cowboy Frank Hopkins, who races his house across the Arabian desert to win two prizes - a cash reward and the freedom of an Arabian beauty.
Gazing across the street at the Kodak Theatre, Mortenson explained why he'd opted against joining his "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" co-stars in celebrating the film's 11 Oscar wins. "It would have been nerve-wracking. I didn't have to be there. I was happy just watching with my family."
There were certainly no hard feelings on the part of his "Rings" co-stars, many of whom accepted Mortenson's personal invitations to attend his premiere.
On the red carpet, John Rhys-Davies ("Ring"'s Gimli) explained why he watched director Peter Jackson's acceptance speech at the New Line Cinema party. "We were very short of tickets," he said. "I'm an academy member, and I couldn't even get a ticket. The academy wanted four hobbits sitting near Peter, and then we had Liv (Tyler) and Ian (McKellen) presenting."
After the screening, guests were shuttled in buses to a nearby studio space converted into a plush Moroccan casbah, complete with belly dancers and couscous.
Stepping off one of the first buses were hobbits Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan, who galloped into the party on stick ponies. "I picked them up for 15 bucks at Toys R Us on my way to pick up Dominic," Wood said.
"We just discovered they make noise - listen!" added Monaghan, making his go "neigh".
Mortenson's "Hidalgo" co-star, Omar Sharif, cast as a chic sheik, nestled ina booth alongside pal Jacqueline Bisset. He compared the film to his 1962 classic, "Lawrence of Arabia", and described Mortensen, as "an exceptional man with no defects at all", to which no-ego Viggo humbly replied: "Oh, I fall off the horse every once in a while."
*loves!* So it was all Elijah's idea... *G*