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The Spanish film icon is double fisting black coffee and water, his eyes look heavy, and he admits ...

Pedro Almodovar Opens Up About Panama Papers, Hollywood’s ‘Diabolical Sexism’

By 18:11:00

The Spanish film icon is double fisting black coffee and water, his eyes look heavy, and he admits that after five days at the Cannes Film Festival, he’s operating on very little sleep.

Almodovar is in the South of France to hawk his latest, “Julieta,” an adaptation of three Alice Munro stories that stands as one of his most muted works. It’s understated depiction of a mother and a daughter’s deteriorating relationship is in stark contrast to his previous effort, the neon-hued airline comedy, “I’m So Excited.” That film had all the subtlety of a Gloria Gaynor anthem.

“Julieta” was intended to be a departure in another way, as well. Meryl Streep was attached to play the mother role. Almodovar intended to make his English-language film debut, while shooting for the first time in the United States.

“At the last minute I felt insecure,” Almodovar says.

The plan was for Streep to play the central part, aging along with the character as she morphs from a young, sexually vivacious woman into an older mother, drained by personal tragedies. In the completed version, the role is split between Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suárez. Transporting the film to Spain changed the narrative in another way, Almodovar said, allowing him to deepen the themes of loss and recriminations.

“I’ve done lots of films with lots of mothers in them, but guilt is not something that had ever appeared before,” said Almodovar.

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