Viggo Mortensen to Direct Western ‘The Dead Don’t Hurt,’ Starring Vicky Krieps

Viggo Mortensen is set to write, direct and act in the period western “The Dead Don’t Hurt,” which will also star Vicky Krieps (“Corsage,” “Phantom Thread”).

The movie will begin shooting on Oct. 12 in Canada. Billed as a “western love story” set in the 1860s, the film is a Talipot Studio, Recorded Picture and Perceval Pictures production, produced by Regina Solórzano, HanWay Films founder and Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas and Mortensen.

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“The Dead Don’t Hurt” stars Krieps and Mortensen in the lead roles.

Krieps, currently generating Oscar buzz for her acclaimed performance in “Corsage,” stars as fiercely independent French Canadian Vivienne Le Coudy. She 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. However, the Civil War separates them, leaving Vivienne to fend for herself in a place controlled by powerful rancher Alfred Jeffries (Garret Dillahunt) and his violent, wayward son Weston Jeffries (Solly McLeod), aided and abetted by corrupt Mayor Rudolph Schiller (Danny Huston). Olsen’s eventual return challenges their relationship as they have to confront and make peace with the person each has become.

The cast also includes Tom Bateman (“Death on the Nile”), Lance Henriksen (“Falling”), and W. Earl Brown (“The Unforgivable”).

The film will reunite Mortensen with his team from his 2021 directorial debut, “Falling,” including 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”).

Mortensen previously worked with Thomas on David Cronenberg’s award-winning Freudian drama “A Dangerous Method.”

Talipot Studio is fully funding the film, which 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.

Mortensen said: “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. 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,” continued Mortensen. “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.”

Producer Regina 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.”

Thomas said: “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. 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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