Pedro Almodóvar has flirted with making a Hollywood movie on multiple occasions throughout his four-decade career. But he’s never found an opportunity to make his distinct aesthetic work within the American system.

The Spanish filmmaker does not appear to be losing much sleep over the missed opportunity, as he has made a litany of classic films and won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for “Talk to Her.” In a new interview with The Independent, he explained why he is unwilling to compromise on his auteur-driven approach to filmmaking.

“I mean, I am an artisan,” Almodóvar said. “Everything here, I make the choice. I do everything.”

Almodóvar went on to say that his way of working is more conducive to the European film industry than Hollywood, where he sees most directors as being largely subservient to producers and stars.

“Even when you read [industry newspapers], they talk about the actors but not the directors. I mean, if you are Scorsese or 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. 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.”

Almodóvar is currently preparing to return to theaters in an unorthodox fashion with his new Yves Saint Laurent-backed short film “Strange Way of Life.” The short stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal as gay lovers in the American West, with Almodóvar incorporating many of his ideas from his scrapped plans to direct “Brokeback Mountain” 20 years ago. “Strange Way of Life” premiered out of competition at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and will open in American cinemas starting October 4 as part of a double bill with Almodovar’s 2020 short “The Human Voice.”

“Of course, Almodóvar doesn’t tailor himself for the Western so much as he forces the Western to tailor itself for him,” IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote in his review of the film following its Cannes premiere. “All the genre tropes that squeeze their way into ‘Strange Way of Life,’ from milky white skylines to Mexican standoffs, serve the tempestuous and typically Almodóvar-ian emotions that burn inside its characters.”

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