If Ethan Hawke views the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the modern-day Western, what does he consider the modern-day Western to be? When helmed by Pedro Almodóvar, probably something unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Hawke joins Pedro Pascal for Almodóvar next project, a half-hour Western called “Strange Way Of Life” (“Extraña forma de vida”). According to Variety, the short follows a man named Silva who crosses the desert to reunite with an old friend, Sheriff Jake, after 25 years apart. After celebrating their reunion, Sheriff Jake reveals “that the real reason for his visit isn’t memories of their old friendship….”
Almodóvar will produce the film with his brother Agustín Almodóvar through their company El Deseo; Agustín tells Variety they will “self finance” the film to give themselves “the freedom we had when we made Super 8 movies in the ‘70s, but with 40 years experience in the sector.”
How will Almodóvar exercise his cinematic freedom? By making a “very intimate” story that explores masculinity, he says in a new interview with IndieWire. Asked if that would include romance, he teases, “You can guess.”
More explicitly, he sees “Strange Way Of Life” as his “answer to Brokeback Mountain.” And he’s gone on the record that his version of that movie, back when he was in the running to direct, would have included a lot more sex. “The relation between these two guys is animalistic,” Almodóvar says of the Ang Lee film. “It was a physical relationship. The punch of the movie comes when they have to separate, and Heath Ledger discovers that he can’t think about leaving. That’s a strong discovery. But until that moment, it is animalistic, and for me it was impossible to have that in the movie because it was a Hollywood movie. You could not have these two guys fucking all the time.”
“Strange Way Of Life” (the title of which comes from a “very sad” Portuguese fado song by Amalia Rodrigues), meanwhile, is not a Hollywood movie, so you can see where this is going. A partnership with Saint Laurent makes the director “feel much freer to do things in English,” but staying out of the Hollywood system altogether is his best option.
“In the U.S., there are many people with power you have to listen to. But here in Spain, I don’t listen to anyone,” Almodóvar says. “I mean, I listen to my brother, but I can be independent.”