Pedro Almodóvar finds it most strange that Hollywood doesn’t practice what it promotes.
The “Strange Way of Life” writer-director told The Hollywood Reporter that while the film industry is debating whether or not straight actors can portray queer characters and vice versa, true representation starts with writers. Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal play lovers in Almodóvar’s Western, and Almodóvar’s comments come amid the WGA strike.
“The essence of acting is, in fact, to pretend, to be someone other than who you are, even in your own essence. That is at the core of acting,” Almodóvar said. “So, for example, absolutely a heterosexual actor can play a homosexual character and vice versa. If Hollywood is so obsessed, as it is right now, with representing minorities, be they Latinos, Asians or people with disabilities, they should actually hire them to do the writing.”
He continued, “Just so I’m not misunderstood, I want to make sure that it is clear that I’m very much in favor of minorities of all types to be considered for casting in films and also to be hired behind the camera and that they be able to tell their own stories. I mean, even when you talk about the Western, we don’t have many Westerns told from the point of view of Native Americans, even though this is a genre that speaks of them, often in very unkind and unfair ways.”
Almodóvar will be honored at the TIFF Tribute Awards this year. The auteur previously told IndieWire that “Strange Way of Life” pushes the boundaries of the genre.
“I was interested in doing things that have not been done in the Western before,” Almodóvar said, calling the short film his answer to “Brokeback Mountain,” which he passed on directing. “It had more to do with a question asked in that film regarding what two men would do on a ranch together. I see this film as a kind of answer to that question.”
He added, “The film is full of these moments that are erotic without being explicit sexually or having to do with any kind of physical nakedness. There’s a certain intensity, these pauses, that are very erotic and carnal for me. I’m not thinking about puritan audiences. I never am.”
Sony Pictures Classics opens “Strange Way of Life” in theaters beginning October 4.