Viggo Mortensen is set to direct and star alongside Vicky Krieps in the western love story for The Dead Don’t Hurt. The film will start shooting on October 12 in Canada.
The film is a Talipot Studio, Recorded Picture, and Perceval Pictures production, produced by Regina Solórzano (Los Reyes del Mundo), Academy Award® winner Jeremy Thomas (EO), and Mortensen, who also wrote the screenplay.
Talipot Studio is fully funding the film, which will shoot predominantly in Durango, Mexico, where Talipot will manage the production. The pic will also shoot in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales and distribution.
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Set in the 1860s, the film stars Krieps stars 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 and his violent, wayward son Weston Jeffries (McLeod), aided and abetted by corrupt Mayor Rudolph Schiller. Olsen’s eventual return challenges their relationship as they have to confront and make peace with the person each has become.
“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,” Mortensen said of the film.
“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 behavior, 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.”
Krieps and Mortensen star in the film alongside Solly McLeod (House of the Dragon), Danny Huston (Worlds Apart), Garret Dillahunt (Blonde), Tom Bateman (Death on the Nile), Lance Henriksen (Falling), and W. Earl Brown (The Unforgivable).
The film will also reunite Mortensen with cinematographer Marcel Zyskind (As in Heaven), production designer Carol Spier (Eastern Promises), art director Jason Clarke (Black Mirror), and costume designer Anne Dixon (The Song of Names) who worked together on 2020’s Falling. Mortensen also previously worked with Jeremy Thomas on David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method.
Solorzano added: “The Dead Don’t Hurt revolutionizes the codes of the Western genre, leaving the concept of the war of men aside to witness a love story free of archetypes, and the struggle and determination of a woman to win the most epic of battles: surviving abuse and extreme violence without ever betraying herself.”
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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