Owen Teague recalls making an intimate movie among the big skies, “MONTANA STORY”

Last Updated: May 20, 2022By Tags: , ,

Actor Owen Teague spent the early months of the pandemic not only getting rather too familiar with his four walls but reading a script by Scott McGehee, David Siegel and Mike Spreter about two estranged siblings who return to their Montana home as their father convalesces. If nothing else, the gig would provide Teague a way to see something outside his own home.

Soon enough, he was on his way to Big Sky Country to make “Montana Story,” which comes out May 27, and is directed by McGehee and Siegel.

Teague, as Cal, co-stars with Haley Lu Richardson as Erin, his estranged sister who insists she will take a favored horse from the family ranch back to her home in New York.

Teague with co-star Haley Lu Richardson in a still from “Montana Story”

“I didn’t know of her [and] I don’t know why she would have known of me,” Teague said recently via phone. “Our first time actually meeting was I think outside of the costume fitting, which was like two days before we started.”

The two actors immediately bonded, which helped the pair develop their onscreen relationship as embattled siblings trying to make things right as their father nears death.

“It was kind of alarming how our friendship began, and how close we felt immediately,” Teague said of working with Richardson. “Which was great for the movie because that’s what they needed—and that’s what [Cal and Erin] had and what was lost” between them thanks to their pain of their family dynamic, he said.

“Montana Story” was shot in Paradise Valley, about an hour’s ride from Bozeman, for six weeks. It’s the same area where the show “Yellowstone” is filmed, as were several scenes of its recent prequel series, “1883.”

“We had a bit of a drive every morning, which was not a bad thing at all because we usually started sometime around sunrise,” Teague said. “Every [drive] was incredibly beautiful.”

But even the Paradise Valley was not safe from covid. The cast and crew were tested regularly as vaccines were still months away at that point. Masks and hand sanitizer were ubiquitous.

“We were somewhat protected because we were literally in a bubble,” Teague recalls, adding that even the Montana locals hired on had to abide the covid rules. “For the most part, we were all out-of-staters, so we stayed in one hotel,” which also served as the de facto production office.

Being greenhorns in one of the most beautiful but weather-uncertain states made for some interesting on-set challenges, Teague recalls. During one particularly important scene he had to shout his dialogue over 40mph winds, but the sound team was somehow able to record it all without issue.

“I’ve never experienced any wind like that, and I’m from Florida [where] we have hurricanes,” he said.

Teague has in the past few years been seen in a pair of big-budget adaptations of Stephen King properties, the two-part “It” in theaters and “The Stand” miniseries, in which he portrayed the complex quasi-villain Harold Lauder.

Asked if this King-verse exacta was part of some grand plan on his part of mere coincidence, Teague chuckles.

“I grew up loving Stephen King. He’s one of my favorite authors,” he said, adding that Harold of “The Stand” had always intrigued him given the character’s complicated motivations and darkness. “I never in a million years thought that would happen because of how different the description in the book is from me,” Teague said of taking on the role.

In “It,” he likewise played another unsavory role, the bully Patrick Hockstetter. Asked if he had been on hand the day King himself showed up to film a cameo (he wasn’t), Teague said even if he had, “I probably wouldn’t remember” meeting his literary hero.

Whether or not Teague returns to King’s Maine-set universe in another project, he in the meantime hopes cinemagoers will head out to see “Montana Story,” which examines the complicated relationships of families and the value of forgiveness.

“I hope they come away feeling they got something out of it,” Teague said of the new movie.

“Montana Story” opens May 27th