We interview Haley Lu Richardson on her new movie Montana Story, directed by David Siegel and Scott McGhee, which can now be seen in theaters.
Siblings are brought back together by dire circumstances in the new drama film Montana Story, which can currently be seen in theaters. Haley Lu Richardson anchors the film alongside her co-star Owen Teague. Though Montana Story faced numerous challenges in filming due to its location, the production overcame them all, with Richardson and Teague’s performances elevating the film.
In Montana Story, estranged siblings Erin (Richardson) and Cal (Teague) make their way home to their family’s old ranch in Montana due to their dying father. In struggling to care for him amid their family’s financial difficulties, Erin comes to learn that her beloved horse is going to be put down. Rather than face that loss, Erin decides to bring the creature back home with her to New York.
We speak to Haley Lu Richardson about the making of Montana Story and the experiences she cherished most from the making of the film.
Screen Rant: Why don’t we start out with the experience of Montana Story. What really stood out from that for you?
Haley Lu Richardson: Wow! Well, off to a good start! Sorry, sometimes I just have brain farts and I don’t know, but honestly there were a lot of things that stood out with this project for me. I think just the connection I had and still have to Erin, the character I played, and just the level of understanding I have for who she is and why she is that way and the empathy I have for her, I just love her and care about her and felt connected to her immediately reading the script.
And then also, the connection I developed with Owen, who’s Cal, who’s my brother, I really feel like he’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a brother in my life, and I just feel so safe with him personally and professionally, which can make a huge difference on a job. I’m just so thankful for that experience acting with him and getting to know him.
Aside from that, what was the biggest memory for you from the making of Montana Story?
Haley Lu Richardson: The thing that was probably the most special for me was my relationship with Owen, and how that transferred to the actual work and the scenes that we did, because I really felt like I trusted him and that safe space. I knew he always had my back and I always had his back, and yeah, that’s just a really beautiful play to be in to play pretend. I think that was the most special thing of it all for me.
This movie also has a bit of a contemporary Western type of tone. How did that really stand out from other projects you’ve done in the past as far as the setting and the story?
Haley Lu Richardson: Yeah, it’s definitely very specific. The emotional story and the experiences that Cal and Erin have had in their life, in their family are very specific, and the place we go back to, this ranch, this family ranch and how we grew up, and just the landscape and the world is so specific. I love that specificity on a project, because it gives you more to connect with, and just actually being in Montana and being in that world and having nowhere to run off to hide or no escape from that, I loved it, because it made it all more tangible and real, yeah.
With the setting of it, what was the most challenging aspect of Montana Story for you?
Haley Lu Richardson: What was the most challenging aspect? I think just, I felt really protective of Erin and how she was written. Scott [McGhee] and David [Siegel] are such beautiful, thoughtful writers. Their words are so intentional, and everything is just so poetic, and I loved that about the script. It was the type of script that it was so full and so on the page, that I just kind of wanted it to be that, you know what I mean?
I felt like I knew who Erin was and I connected to her just from how she was on the page, and I just kind of built up this protection of her and of that that was created. So, just kind like scene-by-scene making sure that that was honored and making sure that I was just doing the best that I could do with her, I guess, if that makes any sense.
Haley Lu Richardson: It does? [Laughs] Sometimes, I’m not too sure what comes out of my mouth!
Montana Story Synopsis
From the acclaimed writer and directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (What Maisie Knew, The Deep End) comes a neo-Western with an emotional tremor hiding beneath it. Two estranged siblings (Haley Lu Richardson, Owen Teague) return home to the sprawling ranch they once knew and loved, confronting a deep and bitter family legacy against a mythic American backdrop.
Check back soon for our interview with Montana Story directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel.
Montana Story is now out in theaters.
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