Opening in theaters on May 31st is the new Western ‘The Dead Don’t Hurt’, which was written and directed by Viggo Mortensen (‘Crimes of the Future’). The film also stars Mortensen, as well as Vicky Krieps (‘Old’), Solly McLeod (‘Jericho Ridge’), Garrett Dillahunt (‘Red Right Hand’), and Danny Huston (‘Wonder Woman’).

Related Article: Director Mario Van Peebles and Mandela Van Peebles Talk 'Outlaw Posse'

Viggo Mortensen and Vicky Krieps talk 'The Dead Don't Hurt'.

(L to R) Viggo Mortensen and Vicky Krieps talk 'The Dead Don't Hurt'.

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with filmmaker and actor Viggo Mortensen and actress Vicky Krieps about their work on ‘The Dead Don’t Hurt,’ developing the screenplay, the characters, Krieps’ experience being directed by Mortensen, working with the crew and why Westerns are fun to make.

You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Mortensen, Krieps, Danny Huston and Solly McLeod.

Viggo Mortensen in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'.

Viggo Mortensen in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'. Credit: Marcel Zyskind.

Moviefone: To begin with, Viggo, can you talk about developing the screenplay and the themes you wanted to explore as a director?

Viggo Mortensen: Well, I started out writing this. It was during the pandemic 2020, and then it took, as it always does with independent films, some years to find the money to shoot it. But I started writing a story about a strong independent woman and then decided to place it in the west, turned into a Western, which I like the idea of. I've been in some, and I grew up like most kids in my generation, seeing them on TV and going to the movies and seeing them. Themes, I did want to explore, for example, the character of Vivienne played by Vicky. She is our central character, which is unusual to have a woman be the central character in a Western, and even more unusual to stay with her when her male partner goes off to war or on an adventure of some kind. That's what we do. It's really her story.

Vicky Krieps in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'.

Vicky Krieps in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'. Credit: Marcel Zyskind.

MF: Vicky, can you talk about your approach to playing Vivienne?

Vicky Krieps: Well, I'm a strong independent woman in a particular time. I think maybe that is why it was not so difficult to play because reading his script, I was really reminded of society today and how it's all coming back and how everything is finally built on the structure of the western world, the western town. We're still dealing with fighting over land. We're still pushing borders. We're still fighting our neighbor for being someone else. So, I really felt reminded of today. Playing her, I really was reminded of myself. I must fight myself a lot to try and become the woman I want to be, even if today it's supposed to be easier, but I'm still struggling with the same preconceptions. If you're a woman, you're supposed to be this, and if you're a mother, you're supposed to be that. If you're an actress, you're supposed to be this. So, I struggle myself with this a lot. I think playing Vivienne was the first time I was able to let myself go in acting and let it happen and let it be close to myself.

Solly McLeod and Viggo Mortensen in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'.

(L to R) Solly McLeod and Viggo Mortensen in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'. Credit: Marcel Zyskind.

MF: Viggo, director John Ford once said, "If they knew how much fun it was to make a Western, they wouldn't let us do it." Do you agree with that? Is it fun making a Western and what do you love about this genre?

VM: Well, it was a lot of work, but like Vicky, I knew how to ride horses before working on this movie. I think we both loved being in those landscapes and in that place. It was hard work, early mornings, long days of work, most scenes were outdoors, but getting to be on horseback and those landscapes was a treat. It was special.

MF: Vicky, what was it like working with Viggo as both an actor and director?

VK: So, it was my first time. I know we are all multiple people, but it was interesting because I always had to be on my toes and I always had to remind myself who I was responding to, not so much depending on if Viggo would be different or talk different. It was more me and myself, what I was expecting. What are my expectations, what am I projecting? What am I projecting onto the director to be and onto the actor to be? I always had to come back to reality or to the moment and connect with the true thing in that moment, which was if he was the actor in that moment, what did my actor partner just say to me and not think about what is the director maybe thinking about? If that makes sense. So, it was a great school.

Director Viggo Mortensen on the set of 'The Dead Don't Hurt'.

Director Viggo Mortensen on the set of 'The Dead Don't Hurt'. Credit: Marcela Nava.

MF: Finally, Viggo, can you talk about working with your cinematographer to set up shots? Did you storyboard your scenes before shooting?

VM: No, I don't storyboard, but I do make shot lists and I'm careful about that. I mean, I think that's what I've learned from the good directors I've worked for. Women and men who are very different and make different kinds of movies, but they all prepare. Even if you prepare perfectly, there's always something more you can do and there's going to be something that happens. Each day is going to be a problem, little ones, big ones. Making movies is about solving problems all the time and for everybody. The other thing is to just make sure everybody on the team, the crew, the actors, that they know that it's clear from the beginning that their ideas matter, what they feel about things. I can disagree, but I want to hear it because a good idea can come from anywhere and we have one shot to make the scene. We have one shot to tell this story and let's try to do it together. It makes people feel like it's not just another job. It may be difficult, but we're in it together and it's special. It's a special story, and their opinion is valued. It doesn't matter who you are. So, we had a great experience in that regard. It was a good team.

The Dead Don't Hurt

R2 hr 10 minMay 31st, 2024
Showtimes & Tickets

The Dead Don’t Hurt is a story of star-crossed lovers on the western U.S. frontier in the 1860s. Vivienne Le Coudy (Vicky Krieps) is a fiercely independent woman... Read the Plot

What is the plot of ‘The Dead Don’t Hurt’?

Vivienne Le Coudy (Vicky Krieps) and Holger Olsen (Viggo Mortensen) begin a life together on a homestead outside the town of Elks Flat in 1860s Nevada, but a fateful decision by Holger leaves Vivienne alone to fend for herself against the insidious, corrupt men of the town.

Who is in the cast of ‘The Dead Don’t Hurt’?

  • Viggo Mortensen as Holger Olsen
  • Vicky Krieps as Vivienne Le Coudy
  • Garret Dillahunt as Alfred Jeffries
  • Solly McLeod as Weston Jeffries
  • Danny Huston as Mayor Rudolph Schiller
  • Nadia Litz as Martha Gilkyson

Garret Dillahunt and Solly McLeod star in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'.

(L to R) Garret Dillahunt and Solly McLeod star in 'The Dead Don't Hurt'. Photo: Shout! Studios.

Other Movies and TV Shows Similar to 'The Dead Don’t Hurt':

Buy Tickets: 'The Dead Don't Hurt' Movie Showtimes

Buy Viggo Mortensen Movies on Amazon