Pedro Almodóvar Is Teaming Up Again With Penélope Cruz For His Motherhood-Themed Drama 'Madres Paralelas'

There was a big hoopla earlier this year when Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar announced that he would be following up his Oscar-nominated masterwork Pain & Glory with his first-ever English language feature. But before the auteur crosses the Atlantic to make his foray into the English language, Almodóvar will be returning to his roots once again to do what he does best: make a Madrid-set movie about mothers with his longtime collaborator Penélope Cruz. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic apparently pushing back plans for Almodóvar to develop his first English-language feature, the filmmaker has set his next feature to be a drama called Madres Paralelas starring Cruz.

Before Almodóvar makes the biggest shift in his 46-year career with his first English-language feature, an adaptation of Lucia Berlin's short story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women, the filmmaker will be going back to his favorite territory of making Spanish-language female-led melodramas with Cruz. The Spanish outlet El Pais (via The Film Stage) reports that Almodovar's next feature film project, titled Madres Paralelas (aka Parallel Mothers), will reunite the director with Cruz in a drama set in Madrid that follows two women who give birth on the same day and go through parallel trajectories in life. Madres Paralelas was written specifically with Cruz in mind and will explore "the feminine world of new mothers, of mothers who are raising children in the first and second year," Cruz told El Pais. The director had first discussed the project all the way back in 2011, describing it as "the Don Quixote of motherhood."

Almodóvar will never get tired of making movies that are odes to women, motherhood, and Penélope Cruz, and that deadly combination often results in his best films. Cruz, who has appeared in Almodóvar's films since 1997's Live Flesh, last appeared in a supporting role in last year's Pain & Glory. Almodóvar is one of the few filmmakers to actually play to Cruz's strengths, frequently giving her meaty roles that allow her to dig past her sex symbol status, culminating in her career-best role in the magical Volver. Whatever Almodóvar and Cruz next have in store for us is sure to be fantastic.

The film will reportedly be shot on a more modest-sized budget is set to begin production in early 2021 — an early start that makes sense as Spain has begun to lift restrictions on filming as coronavirus cases have gone down.

While Almodóvar is still working on the screenplay for his English-language feature debut A Manual for Cleaning Women, production is still likely a ways ahead as coronavirus cases in the U.S. have recently spiked and Hollywood has been slower to restart in the States. Production on A Manual for Cleaning Women will also be "more complex," according to The Film Stage, which also reports that Cate Blanchett is interested in taking the lead role (which may explain why she's learning Spanish during quarantine). However, Almodóvar's English-language short film starring Tilda Swinton, which adapts Jean Cocteau's one-act play The Human Voice, is apparently still going ahead with a shoot beginning next month.