Pedro Almodovar Making Brokeback Mountain-Like Western With Ethan Hawke And Pedro Pascal

Pedro Almodóvar probably isn't the first name to come to mind when hearing about directors gearing up for a new Western ... let alone one that intentionally invites comparisons to Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain," of all movies. If anything, the immensely talented Spanish filmmaker has made a career out of steering well clear of associating himself with those kinds of studio system productions. Yes, it's true that Almodóvar once came close to directing the 2005 cowboy romantic drama, but gems like "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!," "Volver," and most recently "Parallel Mothers" wouldn't have been made otherwise.

However, that's exactly what makes his next major move all the more interesting. In an interview with IndieWire, Almodóvar addressed the status of his latest project, titled "Strange Way of Life." Not only will this be notable for its co-leads in Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke, two talented actors who have been greatly in demand and are scheduled for several high-profile appearances. But Almodóvar himself has described his upcoming Western as,

" answer to 'Brokeback Mountain.'"

Set to begin production this August in Almería, Spain (which just so happens to be the same locale where Sergio Leone once shot "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," in fact), "Strange Way of Life" will be a 30-minute short film that specifically avoids comparisons to old-school Spaghetti Westerns. According to Almodóvar, "I'm not consciously referencing those movies. I don't know what it will be like, except that it will be mine."

'Masculinity is one of the subjects of the movie'

Pedro Almodóvar hesitates to spill too many details about what he has planned for "Strange Way of Life" — he repeatedly emphasizes that, "I know how I want to make it, but I will discover more things while shooting" — but he goes on to tell IndieWire that the title for this short film is derived from that of a Portuguese song by Amália Rodrigues, which the director mentions will be included in the opening moments of the film. As he put it, "Those songs are all very sad. And that is how these two main characters live."

What do we know about those two main characters? Well, Hawke is apparently set to play the sheriff of the picture while Pascal will be a gunslinger, both living on opposite sides of the desert and headed for a collision course with one another. The filmmaker teases how indebted to "Brokeback Mountain" this story will be: "There will be a showdown between them, but really the story is very intimate." Just how intimate, you ask? According to Almodóvar:

"You can guess. I mean, masculinity is one of the subjects of the movie."

The Spanish writer/director has always maintained a fiercely independent spirit in his work, refusing to compromise or tamp down his sensibilities. That alone should strongly indicate the direction that Almodóvar will take with this Western short film. With the talent involved in this one, you can be sure we'll be keeping a close eye on any "Strange Way of Life" updates that come up in the months ahead.