'Strange Way of Life' stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal and was filmed at Rancho Leone last summer
Diario de Almeria
May 17, 2023
A great ovation closed the May 17, 2023, screening in Cannes of Extraña forma de vida, a short film that is a "whim" by Pedro Almodóvar, starring the fashionable actor, the Chilean Pedro Pascal, together with Ethan Hawke, and that also serves him to prepare his first feature film in English.
With the presence of Hawke and the absence of Pascal (in the midst of filming the second part of Gladiator), the short was screened outside of the festival's competition but in its official section, in a room full to overflowing and with guests such as Catherine Deneuve, Xavier Dolan, Blanca Li or the Spanish Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta.
The entire audience stood up to celebrate what is the director's second short film in English and which explores the relationship of two cowboys, which is complicated by a murder and which is shot with his recognizable precious style and full of details.
A project that arose from a proposal by Anthony Vacarello, the creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, who acts as the film's producer and who wanted to work with the Manchego director.
"Immediately" he thought of a short story he had written that was just "the dialogues of the cowboys after having a crazy night," Almodóvar explained before presenting his film in Cannes.
So he returned to Spain and wrote "what happened before that night and after." And he did it in the form of a western because already in the dialogues that he had written it seemed to him "much more interesting that two men talk about his own desire in a genre that he had never touched and in a genre that he was very masculine”.
A short that begins in a very poetic way, with the fado that gives the film its title, by Amalia Rodrigues in a version by Caetano Veloso, and in whose text it is suggested that there is no more strange existence than living turning your back on your own desires.
For this story, she quickly thought of Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke because she knew them and because they are physically and culturally opposite, which was good for the film. “I called them and luckily, they said yes right away. I only had to wait a few months for Pascal to finish shooting “The Last of Us”, then he came here and last summer we did it.”
Almodóvar highlights the good relationship he has with the two actors, whom he already knew before this shoot. He had seen Hawke in the theater in Madrid, doing “The Cherry Garden” and they became friends in those days when he was in the Spanish capital. The theater also united him with Pascal, in his case in “King Lear” with Glenda Jackson, in addition to having mutual friends who had worked with the Chilean in the Narcos series.
Along with them, in small roles, Manu Ríos, who became very popular after his participation in "Elite", Pedro Casablanc, Sara Sálamo, José Conessa and Jason Fernández.
The short must be remembered that it was filmed in Almería, specifically in the Tabernas area. It was in the middle of the desert and also at Rancho Leone where the action takes place. The landscapes of Almería are the protagonists of the short.
Extraña forma de vida – Spanish title
Strange Way of Life – English title
A 2022 Spanish short film production [El Deseo Productions (Madrid)]
Producers: Anthony Vaccarello, Agustin Almodóvar (Agustin Caballero)
Director: Pedro Almodóvar (Pedro Caballero)
Story: Pedro Almodóvar (Pedro Caballero)
Screenplay: Pedro Almodóvar (Pedro Caballero)
Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine [color]
Music: Alberto Iglesias
Running time: 30 minutes
Story: After twenty-five years Silva rides a horse across the desert to visit his friend Sheriff Jake. They celebrate the meeting, but the next morning Jake tells him that reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their friendship.
Sheriff Jake - Ethan Hawke
Silva - Pedro Pascal
Clara - Erenice Lohan
Deputy sheriff - Daniel Rived
Cowboy - Vasileios Papatheocharis
With: Jason Fernández, Manu Ríos, Pedro Casablanc, Sara Sálamo, Didier Methivier, José Condessa, George Steane
Stunts: Lorenzo Casares, Fernando Martín Maestro