Montana Story: Haley Lu Richardson on the gripping new drama


Montana Story is a quiet and measured movie, however there are intense, messy feelings effervescent beneath its floor. Written and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, the movie facilities on the turbulent relationship between a pair of estranged siblings, Erin (Haley Lu Richardson) and Cal (Owen Teague), who discover themselves unexpectedly reunited on their household ranch. Introduced collectively by their father’s failing well being, Erin and Cal spend most of Montana Story dancing round one another, making temporary makes an attempt to reconnect, however by no means acknowledging the traumatic occasion that separated them within the first place.

The movie forces Teague and Richardson to hold the total weight of its story on their shoulders. If both actor’s efficiency didn’t really feel genuine, then Montana Story would collapse in on itself. Happily, each Teague and Richardson are succesful younger actors and their performances in Montana Story are beautiful. In Richardson’s case, her work right here simply looks like yet one more notch within the belt of an actor who has been persistently delivering starmaking performances for a number of years now.

With Montana Story hitting theaters, Richardson just lately spoke with Digital Tendencies about what it was like making the contemplative new Western. The star, who’s at the moment in Italy filming the second season of HBO’s The White Lotus, additionally shared why Montana Story‘s “thorough” manufacturing design and remoted setting helped her get into the top of somebody who has made a behavior out of bottling up their feelings.

Bleecker Road, 2022

Word: This interview has been edited for size and readability functions.

Digital Tendencies: The movie appears lovely, however the circumstances additionally appeared like they might have been harsh at occasions. What had been your experiences like taking pictures in Montana?

Haley Lu Richardson: I imply, it was fairly windy some days [laughs]. I used to be like, “Is that this footage going to be usable?” However I don’t bear in mind the weather being that troublesome. I believe the tougher factor for me was simply the emotional house that I needed to be in to play Erin and, at occasions, that was heavy. But in addition, at different occasions, it was actually cathartic and good.

You’re very remoted within the film. I’m assuming that helped get into the character’s headspace?

Oh, yeah, for certain. I believe that the extra particular you may make the world round you when you’re filming, the higher the method is as a result of it feels extra actual. There’s extra to type of hook up with and draw from. After we had been in Montana, we had been filming simply exterior of Bozeman at this ranch that’s in the midst of nowhere. There’s nowhere to run off to or conceal, so you’re feeling such as you type of should give up to that kind of life and that kind of power. I liked that. I believe it positively helped.

Mukki looks at Cal and Erin in Montana Story.
Bleecker Road, 2022

I all the time discover it fascinating when actors have to offer slow-burn performances and preserve plenty of their playing cards near their chest. Erin’s actually solely allowed to completely open up close to the tip of the movie. How did that have an effect on your course of this time round?

I wasn’t actually eager about it that means. I used to be eager about what Erin can be feeling having to return residence. I don’t suppose it’s that she’s deliberately holding again or simply hinting at her feelings. For her, it’s extra like the one means she’s capable of perform in these circumstances is by closing off. She has massive obstacles and bounds up, and he or she’s nonetheless suppressing a lot of the anger and the reality of what she’s actually feeling. The vulnerability doesn’t come till the tip, however oh, man, it’s heavy.

I believe the rationale that works throughout the broader context of the film is that the character truthfully can’t categorical extra till one thing occurs that may be a catalyst that enables her to precise what she’s feeling.

Haley Lu Richardson and Owen Teague stand next to a truck in Montana Story.
Bleecker Road, 2022

The primary time that we see your character, within the movie she’s sporting very bright-colored clothes, which makes her stand out from the remainder of the movie’s characters. Was {that a} resolution you made your self or one thing you got here to by means of collaboration?

I had ideas about how Erin would look, but it surely’s nice once you meet the costume individuals. It’s a enjoyable collaboration and also you’re capable of get concepts from them that you just wouldn’t have ever considered or vice versa since you’re actually capable of create one thing collectively. We type of got here up with what Erin’s life has been in New York since she ran away from residence and considered who she turned and the way she expresses herself. It’s a really distinctive look, particularly the coat she wears when she first arrives.

You possibly can inform she outlets at thrift shops and there’s virtually a grandmother aspect to her. I felt like she was a little bit of a curmudgeon, like a grandmother curmudgeon. There’s one thing that’s so grownup about her. I believe it comes from her trauma and her looking for issues that really feel like her or that really feel like residence. Issues that give her some type of consolation.

The designs of Erin and Cal’s rooms within the film additionally really feel very particular. Was there something in Erin’s room that you just thought was essential or that helped you along with your efficiency?

Haley Lu Richardson: Nicely, the manufacturing design of the entire movie and the ranch home is so good. Scott McGehee’s sister, Kelly, was the manufacturing designer, and he or she did such job. I assumed every thing was so thorough and actual and lived-in and particular. I really like that as a result of, once more, once you’re round that type of specificity, it’s a lot simpler to connect with this character that you’re basically making up from a web page and your personal ideas. The manufacturing design was actually useful throughout that complete course of.

However I assumed Erin’s room, in particular, was so mild, which I discovered so eerie and unhappy. You recognize, I believe Cal has a line within the movie about how Erin and her dad had loads in frequent. They had been each type of fiery and opinionated. However I do suppose that there’s this mild lover of horses and lover of ranch life within Erin, and that was tainted by what occurred to her. It’s unhappy to me that her gentleness was type of tainted and misplaced. However, then once more, I don’t suppose it was misplaced eternally as a result of, in the long run, her vulnerability and love do floor once more.

Montana Story is now enjoying in theaters.

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