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Viggo Mortensen has lined up another stint behind the camera following his well-received directorial debut Falling.
The Lord of the Rings actor, most recently seen in David Cronenberg’s Cannes-bowing body horror movie Crimes of the Future alongside Léa Seydoux, is set to direct the Western love story The Dead Don’t Hurt, in which he’ll star alongside Vicky Krieps.
The film is a Talipot Studio, Recorded Picture and Perceval Pictures production, produced by Regina Solórzano (Los Reyes del Mundo), Jeremy Thomas (EO) and Mortensen.
Alongside Krieps (Bergman Island, Corsage, Phantom Thread) and Mortensen (Thirteen Lives, Crimes of the Future) in the lead roles, The Dead Don’t Hurt will also star Solly McLeod (House of the Dragon), Danny Huston (Worlds Apart), Garret Dillahunt (Blonde), Tom Bateman (Death on the Nile), Lance Henriksen (Falling, Aliens) and W. Earl Brown (The Unforgivable). The film will reunite Mortensen with cinematographer Marcel Zyskind (As in Heaven), award-winning production designer Carol Spier (Eastern Promises), art director Jason Clarke (Black Mirror) and costume designer Anne Dixon (The Song of Names), who all worked with Mortensen on Falling. Mortensen previously worked with Thomas on Cronenberg’s award-winning drama A Dangerous Method.
Set in the 1860s, The Dead Don’t Hurt sees Krieps star as the fiercely independent French Canadian Vivienne Le Coudy who embarks on a relationship with Danish immigrant Holger Olsen (Mortensen). After meeting Olsen in San Francisco, Vivienne agrees to travel with him to his home near the quiet town of Elk Flats, where they start a life together. The Civil War separates them, leaving Vivienne to fend for herself in a place controlled by powerful rancher Alfred Jeffries (Dillahunt) and his violent, wayward son Weston Jeffries (McLeod), aided and abetted by corrupt Mayor Rudolph Schiller (Huston). Olsen’s eventual return challenges their relationship, as they have to confront and make peace with the person each has become. Both a tragic love story and a tale of revenge, The Dead Don’t Hurt is described as a portrait of a passionate woman determined to stand up for herself in an unforgiving world dominated by ruthless men.
“My aim is to do justice to the story of a uniquely resilient woman living in a lawless and isolated part of the U.S. Southwest in the 1860s,” said Mortensen. “Vivienne is a woman for all seasons; courageous, unfailingly honest and direct, yet capable of great empathy. The idea is to not simply have a woman play the leading role in a Western, but to have her lead the way in our story by virtue of her fiercely uncompromising nature. Vivienne is a real woman who stands alone in her time and place because of her principled behaviour, forward-thinking, and passion for life. We are very fortunate to have the talented Vicky Krieps embody this role, and, with the help of the great team we have assembled thanks to Talipot Studio, we hope to do justice to her exemplary life.”
Talipot Studio is fully funding the film that will shoot predominantly in Durango, Mexico, where Talipot will manage the production. It is also shooting in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales and distribution, marking the first project announcement from HanWay since it was acquired by Charles Cohen’s Cohen Media Group in August.
“It was so delightful working with Viggo Mortensen as an actor on A Dangerous Method and on his directorial debut Falling, and I am excited about his new screenplay which he will direct,” said Thomas. “I’m thrilled to be working on a Western for today.”
Mortensen is represented by Theresa Peters at UTA and Lynn Rawlins. Krieps is represented by CAA, Agence Adéquat and Wasted Management.
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