Montana history is a calm and measured film, but intense, chaotic emotions simmer beneath its surface. Written and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, the film follows the tumultuous relationship between estranged siblings Erin (Haley Lu Richardson) and Cal (Owen Teague), who unexpectedly find themselves back at their family’s ranch. Brought together by their father’s poor health, Erin and Cal spend most of their time together Montana history they dance around each other, making brief attempts to reconnect but never acknowledging the traumatic event that originally separated them.
The film forces Teague and Richardson to carry the full weight of its story on their shoulders. If either actor’s performance didn’t feel authentic, then it did Montana history would collapse. Luckily, both Teague and Richardson are capable young actors and their performances in Montana history are stunning. In Richardson’s case, her work here just feels like another notch in the belt of an actor who’s consistently put on star performances for several years.
With Montana history As Richardson hit theaters, he recently spoke to Digital Trends about what it was like making the contemplative new Western. The star who is currently filming the second season of HBO in Italy The White LotusShe also shared why Montana history‘s “thorough” production design and isolated setting helped her put herself in the head of someone who’s made a habit of bottling their emotions.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Digital Trends: The film looks beautiful, but the conditions seemed harsh at times. What was your experience filming in Montana?
Haley Lu Richardson: I mean it was pretty windy some days [laughs]. I thought, “Will this footage be usable?” But I don’t remember the elements being that difficult. I think the harder thing for me was just the emotional space I had to be in to play Erin, and sometimes that was hard. But otherwise it was really cathartic and beautiful.
In the film you are very isolated. I assume that helped get into the character’s headspace?
Yes, sure. I think the more specific you can make the world around you while filming the better the process because it feels more real. There is more to connect with and draw from. When we were in Montana, we were shooting just outside of Bozeman on this ranch in the middle of nowhere. There’s no place to flee or hide, so it feels like you have to indulge in that kind of life and that kind of energy. I loved that. I think it definitely helped.
I always find it interesting when actors have to act sluggishly and have to keep a lot of cards open. Erin isn’t really allowed to fully open up until the end of the film. How did that affect your process this time?
I hadn’t really imagined it that way. I thought about how Erin would feel if she had to return home. I don’t think she’s intentionally holding back or just implying her feelings. For her, it’s more like she can only function under these circumstances by shutting herself off. She has great barriers and boundaries, and she’s still holding back so much of the anger and the truth of what she’s really feeling. The vulnerability doesn’t get to the end, but oh man, it’s hard.
I think the reason that works in the broader context of the film is that the character honestly can’t express anymore until something happens that is a catalyst that allows her to express what she’s feeling.
In the film, when we first see your character, she wears very colorful clothing, which makes her stand out from the other characters in the film. Was that a decision you made yourself or something you came to through collaboration?
I thought about what Erin would look like, but it’s great when you meet the costume people. It’s fun to work together and you can get ideas from them that you never would have thought of or vice versa because you really have the ability to create something together. We kind of figured out what Erin’s life in New York has been like since she ran away from home and reflected on who she’s become and how she expresses herself. It’s a very unique look, especially the coat she’s wearing when she arrives.
You can tell she shops at thrift stores, and she almost has a grandmother element to her. I felt like she was a little grumpy, like a grandmother’s grumpy. There’s something so adult about her. I think it comes from her trauma and trying to find things that feel like her or that feel like home. Things that give her some form of comfort.
The design of Erin and Cal’s rooms in the film also feels very specific. Was there anything about Erin’s room that you felt was important or that helped you with your performance?
Haley Lu Richardson: Well the production design of the whole movie and the ranch house is so good. Scott McGehee’s sister Kelly was the production designer and she did such a good job. I found everything so thorough and real and lived and specific. I love that because, again, when you’re around that kind of specificity, it’s so much easier to connect with this character that you’re essentially assembling from a page and your own thoughts. The production design was very helpful throughout the process.
But I found Erin’s room especially so gentle, which I found so creepy and sad. You know, I think Cal has a line in the movie about how much in common Erin and her father had. They were both kind of fiery and opinionated. But I think there’s that gentle lover of horses and ranch life in Erin, and that’s been spoiled by what happened to her. It’s sad to me that her gentleness was somehow spoiled and lost. But then again, I don’t think it was lost forever because in the end her vulnerability and love resurface.
Montana history is in cinemas now.
Montana story trailer finds siblings in emotional turmoil
This article was previously published on Source link