Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal’s queer Western will have genre-breaking dialogue between men, director says
“There are two men and they love each other,” explains Pedro Almodóvar.
Giddy up, partner. Director Pedro Almodóvar is offering new insight into his upcoming queer Western, Strange Way of Life.
The director revealed that the half-hour short film, which stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, will feature “the kind of dialogue that I don’t think a Western film has ever captured between two men.”
“This is a queer Western in the sense that there are two men and they love each other,” Almodóvar explained on the latest episode of Dua Lipa‘s At Your Service podcast. “And they behave in that situation in an opposite way.”
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 02: Ethan Hawke attends the “Leopoldstadt” Broadway opening night at Longacre Theatre on October 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images); ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 28: Pedro Pascal attends the panel for “The Mandalorian” series at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California on May 28, 2022. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney); LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 14: Writer/Director Pedro Almodóvar from Sony Pictures Classics’ ‘Parallel Mothers’ attends the Deadline’s The Contenders Film at DGA Theater Complex on November 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Deadline)
Ethan Hawke (left) and Pedro Pascal (center) play cowboys in director Pedro Almodóvar’s (right) upcoming queer Western, ‘Strange Way of Life.’
| Credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty ; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty for Disney; Amy Sussman/Getty for Deadline
The film tells the story of two men, sheriff Jake (Hawke) and gunslinger Silva (Pascal), who reunite after not seeing one another for 25 years.
“One of them travels through the desert to find the other,” Almodóvar told IndieWire in June. “There will be a showdown between them, but really the story is very intimate.”
A Western at heart, Strange Way of Life will dabble in some of the key tropes of the genre, too. “It’s about masculinity in that deep sense, because the Western is a male genre,” Almodóvar said on the podcast. “It has the gunslinger. It has the ranch. It has the sheriff. It has the town. It has the showdown.”
While the genre has long been laden with queer subtext, it’s only in recent decades that Westerns like 2005’s Brokeback Mountain and 2021’s The Power of the Dog have garnered attention for pushing past its heteronormative barriers. Still, both films faced backlash from certain older cowboys. For example, Sam Elliott publicly criticized Jane Campion‘s Oscar-winning The Power of the Dog for its homoerotic themes. He later apologized for his comments.
Almodóvar, who is still in the process of editing his film, revealed that he’ll unveil the final product at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
“It’s something very different,” he told Dua Lipa. “I mean, it’s another genre that I’ve never done before.”
He also noted that Pascal and Hawke were the perfect cowboys for the movie, adding, “I’m very happy with both of them.”