Viggo Mortensen to Star in and Direct Western ‘The Dead Don’t Hurt’

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Viggo Mortensen is set to star in, write and direct “The Dead Don’t Hurt,” a Western love story set in the 1860s.

The film also stars Vicky Krieps (“Bergman Island,” “Phantom Thread”) and is slated to begin shooting Oct. 12 in Canada.

“The Dead Don’t Hurt” is a Talipot Studio, Recorded Picture and Perceval Pictures production, produced by Regina Solórzano (“Los Reyes del Mundo”), Oscar winner Jeremy Thomas (“EO”) and Mortensen.

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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.

Krieps and Mortensen are the two leads and star alongside 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”).

Krieps stars as 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. Described as both a tragic love story and a tale of revenge, “The Dead Don’t Hurt” is a portrait of a passionate woman determined to stand up for herself in an unforgiving world dominated by ruthless men.

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“The Dead Don’t Hurt” 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 worked together on “Falling.” Mortensen previously worked with Jeremy Thomas on David Cronenberg’s award-winning drama “A Dangerous Method.”

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Mortensen is represented by Theresa Peters at UTA and Lynn Rawlins. Krieps is represented by CAA, Agence Adéquat and Wasted Management.