ethan hawke and pedro pascal

Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke in an ‘Answer to Brokeback Mountain’? Yes Please.

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News broke earlier today that Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke will join the 30-minute western titled Strange Way of Life from director Pedro Almodóvar. Hawke is playing Jake, a sheriff who lives on the opposite side of the desert from Pedro Pascal’s Silva, a gunslinger. While Almodóvar calls it his answer to Brokeback Mountain, it instantly piqued my interest because not only do I love Hawke and Pascal, but now I maybe get to see the two of them kiss? I’m instantly on board.

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The two characters have been separated for 25 years, and the rest of the details about Strange Way of Life are incredibly limited, but Almodóvar revealed just enough to IndieWire to get us excited. “So one of them travels through the desert to find the other,” Almodóvar said. “There will be a showdown between them, but really the story is very intimate.”

When asked if it could be romantic, Almodóvar responded with “You can guess. I mean, masculinity is one of the subjects of the movie.” But Almodóvar was also very candid about his history with the genre and, specifically, what could have been his film with Brokeback Mountain.

Pedro Almodóvar and Brokeback Mountain

When it comes to gay cowboys, Brokeback Mountain took the crown for it years ago with its prince, The Power of the Dog, following nearly two decades later. The former, which was originally going to be directed by Pedro Almodóvar, eventually went to Ang Lee because, according to Almodóvar, he didn’t think he’d get to make the movie he wanted. And talking with IndieWire about his new film with Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, he got very candid about the Brokeback Mountain of it all. “I think Ang Lee made a wonderful movie, but I never believed that they would give me complete freedom and independence to make what I wanted,” Almodóvar said. “Nobody told me that — they said, ‘You can do whatever you want,’ but I knew that there was a limitation.” 

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana adapted the script for Brokeback Mountain from an Annie Proulx short story, but for Almodóvar, he went on to say that it lacked the lust he wanted Ennis and Jack to have with each other (who would go on to be played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal). “The relation between these two guys is animalistic,” Almodóvar said. “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, to Almodóvar, might be the film he wanted to make originally with Brokeback Mountain.“It could be like my answer to Brokeback Mountain,” he told IndieWire, and I hope it is.

(featured image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney/ Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.