Photo by Nobuhiro Hosoki
Acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar has announced that he’s withdrawing from further work on what would have been his first English-language feature, A Manual for Cleaning Women, starring Cate Blanchett.
According to Deadline, Almodóvar made his decision after he realized he was not ready to continue with the project, though in 2020 he had done an English-language short, The Human Voice, featuring Tilda Swinton.
In explaining the motivation for his move, Almodóvar was quoted as saying, “It has been a very painful decision for me. I have dreamt of working with Cate for such a long time. Dirty Films has been so generous with me this whole time and I was blinded by excitement, but unfortunately, I no longer feel able to fully realize this film.”
A Manual for Cleaning Women is being produced by Blanchett in tandem with Andrew Upton and Coco Francini of Dirty Films, who issued a statement in support of Almodóvar’s decision while vowing to continue the project. “We have the utmost respect for Pedro and his extraordinary body of work,” they said, “and while the stars may not have aligned this time, we hope to collaborate with Pedro and El Deseo on another project in the future. Dirty Films’ passion for ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’ and Lucia Berlin’s unique and searing voice – full of danger, joyousness and loss – has not dimmed, and we are excited to continue this project with our partners at New Republic.”
It’s not yet clear who will be stepping into Almodóvar’s shoes as director, however. The film is based on Lucia Berlin’s 2016 short-story collection, A Manual for Cleaning Women, which included 43 stories that examines the lives of women in a wide variety of occupations.
Pedro Almodóvar won an Oscar for best foreign-language film for All About My Mother (1999). He won another one for best original screenplay for Talk To Her (2002). The director, who turns 73 on September 25, became a noted filmmaker during La Movida Madrileña, the cultural renaissance that emerged in Madrid after the repressive Franco regime.