Fresh off the success of HBO‘s The Last of Us and Disney+‘s Star Wars epic The Mandalorian, the internet’s favorite heartthrob Pedro Pascal is back, this time joined by Ethan Hawke in the first trailer for Pedro Almodóvar‘s upcoming queer Western Strange Way of Life. The film, which is slated to debut at the Cannes Film Festival in just a few weeks, stars Pascal as cowboy Silva as he crosses the desert to visit his friend Sheriff Jake (Hawke).
The film’s official synopsis reads “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.”
Clearly, there’s more than meets the eye to the pair’s friendship with raw, unresolved tension on clear display. A back of forth of conflict and intimacy throughout the trailer, Silva’s declaration that “You’ve never loved me, you’ve never loved anyone in your life” is met with some classic Western gun-slinging from Jake.
The Influences Behind Strange Way of Life
The film’s queer themes draw obvious comparisons to Ang Lee‘s 2005 Western Brokeback Mountain, which was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and won Lee the trophy for Best Director. Time will tell if Strange Way of Life will bring a similar wave of acclaim, as it similarly explores queerness against the backdrop of the Western and its brand of traditional masculinity. Speaking on the Dua Lipa: At Your Service podcast, Almodóvar said of the film “It’s about masculinity in a deep sense because the Western is a male genre,” adding “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 marks Almodóvar‘s second English-language film, following The Human Voice starring Tilda Swinton, which debuted at The Venice Film Festival back in 2020. The film will debut at Cannes next month before a wider release later this year. You can watch the trailer below: