It’s well known that once you work with Pedro Almodovar, you’ve made it in the film world. And for Pedro Pascal, the opportunity came as a cinematic challenge.

The Chilean actor will star in the Spanish director’s queer western, “Strange Way of Life,” alongside Ethan Hawke.

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It is a 30-minute film about two former gunfighters reuniting after 20 years.

Almodovar described the half-hour film as a “queer Western, in the sense that there are two men, and they love each other.” He added that Pascal and Hawke’s characters “behave in that situation in an opposite way.”

“It’s about masculinity in a deep sense because the Western is a male genre,” Almodovar said during an interview on Dua Lipa’s “At Your Service” podcast. “What I can tell you about the film is that it has a lot of the elements of the Western – it has the gunslinger, it has the ranch, it has the sheriff – but what it has that most Westerns don’t have is the kind of dialogue that I don’t think a Western film has ever captured between two men. And now I think I’m telling you a little bit too much.”

An ode to desire

The short film is completely in English. It was shot at El Deseo, Pedro Almodovar’s Madrid-based production company with his brother Agustín.

The story follows Pascal and Hawke, two gunmen who worked for hire twenty years ago. “Strange Way of Life” begins with Silva (Pascal) riding through a desert to Bitter Creek. Silva seeks out his colleague from years ago, Sheriff Jake (Hawke), on the pretext of reuniting.

The film’s title, according to Almodovar, echoes the famous fado written and sung by Amália Rodrigues, considered an ode to desire. “Those songs are all very sad,” the director told Indiwire. “That is how these two main characters live.”

“There will be a showdown between them, but really the story is intimate,” Almodovar said.

Pedro Almodovar’s response to ‘Brokeback Mountain’

It’s no secret that Pedro Almodovar is a filmmaker who has broken with gender roles in his films. From “La Ley del Deseo” (1987) to “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” (1988) to “La mala educación” and “Volver,” Almodovar has told stories with women in the foreground like no one else.

Now, the famed director will give queer storytelling a new twist.

As he told Indiewire, Almodovar revealed that he had been approached to direct “Brokeback Mountain,” the 2005 romantic neo-western. Almodovar ultimately turned down the proposal.

“I think Ang Lee made a wonderful movie, but I never believed they would give me complete freedom and independence to make what I wanted…I knew there was a limitation,” he said.

Now, the director of “I Talked to Her” will put his spin on the genre, bringing a new perspective to queer cinema.

“My cowboys say things you’ve never heard in a Western,” he said.