2023 has been the year of Pedro Pascal. Or maybe it’s fairer to say that 2023 has simply continued Pedro Pascal’s ascent, with the Chilean actor reprising the role of Baby-Yoda-Daddy in The Mandalorian, leading the critically acclaimed video game adaptation The Last of Us, and having fun with his status as the internet’s latest boyfriend while hosting Saturday Night Live.
And the thirst is not likely to stop any time soon, especially now that the first look trailer at his next project has dropped.
In the short film Strange Way of Life, directed by celebrated Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, Pascal plays a gay cowboy named Silva, who travels across the desert on horseback to visit Sheriff Jake, an old friend (and possibly former lover?) played by Ethan Hawke. While the trailer promises plot aplenty, with a murdered woman and bandits in play, the complicated relationship between Pascal and Hawke’s characters is at the center of the story, as the two men come to terms with their 25-year history.
And while that brief description might initially evoke early-2000’s memories of Brokeback Mountain, the tone and sensibility of this 30-minute production seem very different. For one, it’s intentionally stylized: the costumes were designed by Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello.
Almodóvar has described Strange Way of Life as “a queer Western, in the sense that there are two men and they love each other.”
In a conversation with singer Dua Lipa on her podcast, the director elaborated: “It’s about masculinity in a deep sense because the Western is a male genre. 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.”
Strange Way of Life will premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
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