In tandem with the premiere of his film Julieta (which unfortunately doesn’t arrive stateside until December 21), Pedro Almodóvar stopped by the Empire Film Podcast and spoke of that film, of projects to come as well a project that never came to be — or at least a project that never came to be for him.
You’re presumably familiar with the film Brokeback Mountain, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, and directed by Ang Lee as an insinuating emotional drama where landscapes and mesmeric guitar music speak powerfully to characters’ social isolation. But in some alternate universe there’s a version of it by Pedro Almodóvar, who’d originally been considered to direct the adaptation of Annie Proulx’s short story. And his version, as he declares on the podcast, would have been more animalistic.
It’d already been shared a while back that Almodóvar turned down the offer to direct Brokeback Mountain before Ang Lee ultimately came on, but on the podcast the director elaborated both on that decision, and on what he would have wanted to do with the adaptation:
More Sex. More sex. It’s not gratuitous. The Annie Proulx is about a physical relation. An animal relation, so sex is necessary because it is the body of the story. So I’ll always have the image that these two guys start making love to each other like the animals they were taking care of…as a way to survive in the mountains. At the end, they discover that it was something else, and they’re surprised, it was like a big accident. But the physical part, it’s about that. I love the movie that Ang Lee did, and I love the actors. Both of them. They were incredible. But thinking about Annie Proulx and not Hollywood, my point of view was not so easy to make. Of course they promise you freedom…but it seemed to me that I could do that in Europe and not in the United States.
He was also asked, after it was noted that he’s a member of the Academy, what won his vote for Best Picture — and he revealed that it was a film that was actually not even up in that category.
“I voted for Carol, by Todd Haynes. I love that movie. I thought it was very unfair, the results. Not only at the box office, but also for me it was one of the best movies of last year,” he says. (I second the absurdity of this fact.) However, his overall favorite movie of last year was The Club by Pablo Larraín — which is about abusive priests, a subject Almodóvar himself explored in Bad Education.
And as for what he’s working on as his follow-up to Julieta, it turns out there are two films currently being written — a dark comedy and a drama, more along the lines of Julieta.