By Jeremy Dick
Strange Way of Life, a Western short starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal as lovers, has wrapped filming.
That's a wrap on Strange Way of Life. A gay Western short that has drawn some comparisons to Brokeback Mountain, the Pedro Almodóvar-directed movie stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal telling the love story between two gunslingers in the wild west. Hawke has shared an image on Instagram from the set to reveal that filming has officially been wrapped on the project, providing a sneak peek at himself alongside Pascal in the film.
"Golden hour is unreal in Spain," Hawke said in the caption. "[Pedro Pascal] and I are wrapping production on [Extraña Formade Vida] ([A Strange Way of Life]). It’s been a dream to work with Pedro Almodóvar and his wonderful team. Apologies for my Spanish."
In the movie, Hawke plays a local sheriff with Pascal co-starring as a gunslinger who lives on the opposite side of the desert. While a showdown between the two is teased, the story takes a turn when the two discover the feelings they have for one another.
"It could be like my answer to Brokeback Mountain," Almodóvar previously told IndieWire. "So one of them travels through the desert to find the other. There will be a showdown between them, but really the story is very intimate. You can guess [that it will be romantic]. I mean, masculinity is one of the subjects of the movie.”
Hawke also makes mention of the view in Spain. The shooting location was no accident, as Spain's Almería region was chosen for its unique look. Sergio Leone famously shot the classic Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the same area, along with other popular Spaghetti Westerns.
Pedro Almodóvar also felt compelled to make this short film as his "answer to Brokeback Mountain" after previously declining the chance to direct that movie. Brokeback Mountain, which was directed by Ang Lee and released in 2005, starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two cowboys harboring a secret relationship which they explore through occasional visits to the mountain where they once worked together. Almodóvar says he was asked about directing the feature film but turned down the offer as he didn't believe he'd have the freedom to make the movie the way he wanted to.
"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," he said. "Nobody told me that — they said, ‘You can do whatever you want,’ but I knew that there was a limitation."
Suggesting he'd have included much more intimacy, Almodóvar added, "The relationship between these two guys is animalistic. 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 f***ing all the time.”
Perhaps that's a tease of what we'll see from Hawke and Pascal in Strange Way of Life. As of now, the short film doesn't yet have a release date.