Unique: After a competitive bidding situation, Shout! Studios has acquired North American rights the dead don’t hurtWestern written, directed, produced by and starring Viggo Mortensen (thirteen lives) which had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year, where co-star Vicky Cripps (ghost thread) was awarded the TIFF Tribute Performer Award.
Hailing from Tallypot Studios, Recorded Picture Company, Perceval Pictures and Hanway Films, the film marks Mortensen’s second effort on both sides of the camera following the 2020 father-son drama. it’s falling, The pic will be released across all major entertainment platforms, beginning with a wide theatrical launch this summer.
A tale of star-crossed lovers on the western American frontier in the 1860s, the dead don’t hurt Focuses on Vivienne Le Coudy (Cripps), a fiercely independent woman who begins a relationship with Danish immigrant Holgen Olsen (Mortensen). After meeting Olsen in San Francisco, she agrees to travel with him to his home near the quiet town of Elk Flats, Nevada, where they begin a life together. The outbreak of the Civil War tears them apart when Olsen makes a fateful decision to fight for the Union.
This leaves Vivien to fend for herself in a place controlled by corrupt Mayor Rudolph Schiller (Danny Huston) and his unscrupulous business partner, powerful rancher Alfred Jeffries (Garrett Dillahunt). Alfred’s violent, temperamental son Weston (Solly MacLeod) aggressively pursues Vivienne, determined to resist his unwanted advances, and when Olsen returns from the war, he and Vivienne have to confront the man. Will and will make peace that each has become.
Per Mortensen, “The Dead Don’t Hurt aims to do justice to the life of a uniquely resilient woman in a lawless and isolated part of the American southwest in the 1860s. Vivienne is a woman for all seasons; Courageous, extremely honest and direct, yet capable of great empathy. The idea was not just to have a woman play the lead role in a western, but to have her take the lead in our story because of her extremely uncompromising nature. We are very lucky to have the talented Vicky Cripps take on this role.
Jordan Fields, Shout’s senior vice president of acquisitions and originals, praised the film as “a thrilling frontier story from the perspective of two extremely resourceful immigrants, played with preternatural complexity and empathy by Vicky Cripps and Viggo Mortensen.” The executive said that “Ambition, sacrifice, violence and the beauty of the Wild West are all artfully encapsulated in this most American of Westerns. It’s a triumph of talent in front of and behind the camera, and we’re proud to share it with audiences hungry for a film that keeps them engaged even after the movie is over.
Praised by Deadline’s Pete Hammond as a film that John Ford and Howard Hawks “would love”, Indie also stars Colin Morgan, Ray McKinnon, W. Earl Brown, and Atlas Green. Regina Solorzano, Jeremy Thomas and Mortensen produced along with EPs Roberto Paxson, Gabriel Terrazas, Ivan Kelava, Daniel Berkerman, Jasper Morthorst, Paula Astorga Riestra and Peter Watson. Gia Galligani and Angela Blair co-produced.
Steven Katz, vice president of fields and business affairs for Shout! Negotiated the deal, with Hanway Films CEO Gabrielle Stewart and head of business and legal affairs Céline Moreaut supporting the filmmakers. Check out new photos from the film above and below.
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