The great Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar won’t be crossing over to the dark side anytime soon.
Almodóvar, proclaiming himself an unquestioned auteur who makes all the big decisions in his films, pinpointed the reason he has abstained from making even one American movie in his nearly 50-year career in cinema.
“I have a specific way of working and my intuition has told me that it is not the way to work in Hollywood or with the studios,” Almodóvar said in an interview with the Independent. “I mean, I am an artisan.”
Almodóvar, whose gay Western short “Strange Way of Life” starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke debuts in theaters next month, stopped short of calling himself a “control freak” but made no bones about the fact he not only holds the cards in his movies — he keeps the whole deck close at hand.
“Everything here, I make the choice,” he told the Independent as he swept his hand across his desk. “I do everything.”
Almodóvar’s resume speaks for itself, perhaps moreso than any foreign-film director in the history of cinema.
His list of revered films includes no shortage of Spanish classics, from “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” (1989) to “Volver” (2006) to the more recent “Pain and Glory” (2019). His bevy of awards include Oscars for 1999’s “All About My Mother” (Best Foreign Language Film) and 2002’s “Talk to Her” (Best Original Screenplay).
So as outsiders go, Almodóvar has the standing to authoritatively speak on Hollywood directors, who he says by and large don’t get enough credit.
“Even when you read [trade publications], they talk about the actors but not the directors,” Almodóvar said. “I mean, if you are [Martin] Scorsese or [Quentin] Tarantino, you are there – but it seems to me that the director is just a part of the crew.
“It is a question of power,” Almodóvar added. “My sense is that the director in that system has a lot of voices that they need to hear. They’d have to listen to the producers, the actors – even the agents, in some cases. I don’t feel that that would be a system in which I could work.”
But Almodóvar isn’t apologizing for using some of Hollywood’s best actors of the day, including in his latest Oscar-contending effort.
“One of my hopes is that, after people see ‘Strange Way of Life,’ a light bulb might go off in people’s heads and they’ll say, ‘He can do more than what we’re employing him to do,’” Almodóvar said of Pascal. “Not only epic roles! I don’t have anything against epic roles, but he is more well-rounded as an actor than that.”