Strange Way Of Life Trailer: Ethan Hawke And Pedro Pascal Star In Pedro Almodóvar's Queer Western Short Film

You've seen Pedro Pascal play a queer prince, an intergalactic gun-slinger, and a rugged loner with a tragic past. Now, get ready to see him play ... a queer, rugged gun-slinger with a tragic past in Pedro Almodóvar's "Strange Way of Life." No, the new short film by the internationally-celebrated Spanish auteur wasn't deliberately designed to act as an amalgamation of Pascal's most famous roles to date, but it certainly works as one. Rather, Almodóvar has described the Western as, in his own words, "my answer to 'Brokeback Mountain'" and an examination of the type of masculinity that has traditionally characterized the genre yet has only occasionally been interrogated on-screen.

Much like Ang Lee's 2005 romantic drama and the 1997 Annie Proulx short story that inspired it, "Strange Way of Life" centers on a pair of cowboys (as played by Pascal and Ethan Hawke) who have spent decades maintaining an intimate yet distant relationship. In classic Almodóvar fashion, those years of unfulfilled longing come to an emotionally explosive head when Pascal's rancher Silva pays his old chum Jake (Hawke), now a small-town sheriff, a visit to deal with some unpleasant business. And what might that business be? For now, Almodóvar isn't saying, but it appears to involve lots of old-school standoffs and closeups evoking Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns (but with a steamier twist befitting of the Master of Melodrama).

For more on that, check out the "Strange Way of Life" trailer below.

Watch the Strange Way of Life trailer

In a previously-released statement, Pedro Almodóvar explained where the title "Strange Way of Life" came from and hinted at the ways it embodies the short film's themes of masculinity and unrealized yearning:

"The strange way of life referred in the title alludes to the famous fado by Amalia Rodrigues, whose lyrics suggest that there is no stranger existence than the one that is lived by turning your back on your own desires."

Filming on "Strange Way of Life" took place in Almeria, Spain, which is also the same spot where Sergio Leone shot parts of his iconic Dollars trilogy with Clint Eastwood, including the films "For a Few Dollars More" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." That certainly adds a whole extra layer of meaning to Almodóvar's investigation of the Western tropes and motifs popularized by Leone's trilogy (not least of which is Eastwood's Man With No Name archetype). Toss in the filmmaker's rich, pleasing tones and some scenes of Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke as scruffy buckaroos getting hot and heavy and, really, what's not to get excited about here?

"Strange Way of Life" will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023. Its official synopsis reads as follows:

A man rides a horse across the desert that separates him from Bitter Creek. He comes to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, both the sheriff and Silva, the rancher who rides out to meet him, worked together as hired gunmen. Silva visits him with the excuse of reuniting with his friend from his youth, and they do indeed celebrate their meeting, but the next morning Sheriff Jake tells him that the reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their old friendship....