Here’s your first look at Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke in ‘Strange Way of Life’

Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal in the poster for Strange Way of Life
Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal in the poster for Strange Way of Life Photo: Official poster/Warner Bros. Pictures/Pathé

Ahead of its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month, director Pedro Almodóvar has shared new details and first-look photos from his upcoming gay Western starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke.

According to the festival’s official site, the short film will be an Official Selection at Cannes. Here’s how Almodóvar describes the film:

“A man rides a horse across the desert that separates him from Bitter Creek. He comes to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, both the sheriff and Silva, the rancher who rides out to meet him, worked together as hired gunmen. Silva visits him with the excuse of reuniting with his friend from his youth, and they do indeed celebrate their meeting, but the next morning Sheriff Jake tells him that the reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their old friendship….I must say no more so as not to give away all the surprises of the script.”

A still from the film shows Hawke’s Sheriff Jake shaking hands with Pascal’s Silva, while the film’s official poster shows the two standing side-by-side with their pistols drawn, pointing at the viewer.

As fans on Twitter note, the poster’s saturated colors and the stars’ poses look like a direct reference to Joan Crawford in 1954’s Johnny Guitar as well as Andy Warhol’s 1963 silkscreen painting Double Elvis.  

Almodóvar previously described Strange Way of Life as “like my answer to Brokeback Mountain.” The out director was approached to direct the 2005 film adaptation of Annie Proulx’s short story, but ultimately opted out fearing that he wouldn’t be able to make the film as sexually explicit as he would have liked.

“There will be a showdown between them, but really the story is very intimate,” Almodóvar told IndieWire of Hawke and Pascal’s characters last June. “Masculinity is one of the subjects of the movie.”

Speaking to Dua Lipa on her Spotify podcast in December, Almodóvar described the film as “a queer Western in the sense that there are two men, and they love each other, and they behave in that situation in an opposite way.”

In his description on the Cannes site, Almodóvar hinted at the significance of the film’s title. “The strange way of life referred in the title alludes to the famous fado by Amalia Rodrigues, whose lyrics suggest that there is no stranger existence than the one that is lived by turning your back on your own desires,” he explained.

Ahead of the festival, Variety reports that Strange Way of Life will be distributed by MUBI in Italy and Latin America, while Pathé will release the film in the U.K. No word yet on how U.S. audiences will be able to see the film.

In other Pascal news, in a new Esquire profile by out journalist Dave Holmes, the Last of Us star briefly discussed how his trans sister, actress Lux Pascal, is dealing with the current wave of anti-trans sentiment in U.S. politics.

“I wouldn’t want to speak on her behalf,” Pascal said. “But she is and has always been one of the most powerful people and personalities I’ve ever known. My protective side is lethal, but I need her more than she needs me.”

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