Viggo Mortensen Directs and Stars in First Trailer for Ruthless Western “The Dead Don't Hurt ”(Exclusive)

‘The Dead Don’t Hurt’ is set in “the wild landscapes and lawless society of the Far West in the 1860s,” says Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen is putting his spin on the American Western with his new movie.

The Dead Don’t Hurt features the star as actor, writer and director. PEOPLE has the exclusive first look at the trailer, which offers glimpses of this 1860s-set tale of star-crossed lovers, corrupt lawmen, violent outlaws and revenge.

Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) leads the cast, which also includes Solly McLeod, Garret Dillahunt, Colin Morgan, Ray McKinnon, W. Earl Brown, Atlas Green and Danny Huston.

Mortensen, 65, calls The Dead Don’t Hurt a "dramatic and emotionally engaging story about a uniquely independent woman on the western frontier, and her relationship to the headstrong man she chooses to share her life with.”

<p>Marcel Zyskind</p> Vicky Krieps in "The Dead Don't Hurt"

Marcel Zyskind

Vicky Krieps in "The Dead Don't Hurt"

The director tells PEOPLE, “My hope is that audiences will feel they are stepping back in time to the wild landscapes and lawless society of the Far West in the 1860s, and that they’ll be entertained by a movie in the tradition of the best classic Westerns.”

Krieps plays Vivienne Le Coudy, a woman who joins Mortensen’s Holgen Olsen, a Danish immigrant living in a remote town in Nevada. After he leaves to fight for the Union in the American Civil War, Vivienne must fend off violent neighbors — “an unforgiving world dominated by ruthless men,” per a synopsis. 

Related: Vicky Krieps on Embracing Her Inner Rebel for 'Corsage' : 'I Always Had Trouble Fitting In'

<p>Marc Piasecki/Getty </p> Viggo Mortensen and Vicky Krieps on March 9

Marc Piasecki/Getty

Viggo Mortensen and Vicky Krieps on March 9

“Both a tragic love story and a nuanced depiction of the conflict between revenge and forgiveness, The Dead Don’t Hurt is a portrait of a passionate woman determined to stand up for herself,” the synopsis adds.

“I’ve never sensed a false moment, an untruthful or superficial line reading or gesture in any role I’ve seen her play,” Mortensen says of costar Krieps, 40. “Her performance turned out to be even more layered and moving than I'd hoped it might be.”

<p>Marcel Zyskind</p> Viggo Mortensen in "The Dead Don't Hurt"

Marcel Zyskind

Viggo Mortensen in "The Dead Don't Hurt"

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Following his 2020 directorial debut Falling, Mortensen says he began writing The Dead Don’t Hurt amid lockdown during the height of the pandemic. “The first image that came to me was of a young girl playing alone in a forest and dreaming about the adventures she might have in her life,” he says.

“That girl was inspired by what I know of my mother’s childhood experiences and dreams, and the landscapes she grew up in,” says Mortensen, whose mother died in 2015. “As I continued to construct the story it became one about a proud, free-thinking woman.”

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty </p> Vicky Krieps and Viggo Mortensen in 2023

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Vicky Krieps and Viggo Mortensen in 2023

Related: Viggo Mortensen Reveals Why He Turned Down 'X-Men' Wolverine Role Before 'Lord of the Rings'

He adds that classic Westerns featured heavily in his childhood. “Knowing how to ride and be around horses from an early age helped me in accurately representing everyday life on the western frontier,” says Mortensen. 

“There are always surprises during shooting, however, no matter how well you prepare as a team,” he continues, calling the movie “a long and arduous journey from start to finish.”

“Every day is a challenge and a unique opportunity for adventure. The best thing a director can do is to take into account the ideas and professional contributions of all members of the cast and crew to overcome obstacles along the way. I learned a great deal from all of them, and we are proud of the movie we made.”

The Dead Don’t Hurt had its premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. From distributor ShoutFactory!, the film is in theaters May 31.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.