Pedro Almodóvar fans can stop worrying. The Spanish director will start shooting his next project later this summer. Titled Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory), this will be the Oscar winner’s 21st film. And as if it the prospect of another Almodovarian melodrama wasn’t enough, Pedro has gone ahead and recruited two of his greatest muses for his follow-up to 2016’s Julieta: Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz. Both actors got their big breaks by starring in his films but have only worked together once before, in the small cameos they made as airport workers in Almodóvar’s raunchy comedy I’m So Excited. Sharing the news in a short blog post on El Deseo’s website, the director noted that, unlike his most famous flicks, Dolor y Gloria will focus on its male protagonists. Cruz, it appears, will only play a supporting role.
From his description it sounds like it’ll be his very own take on Fellini’s 8 1/2 (and, perhaps, on Nine, the musical it inspired and which Banderas starred in on Broadway). Per Variety‘s translation, the film recounts “a series of meetings, some physical, others remembered decades later, of a film director now in his twilight years,” and will encompass “the first loves, the second loves, the mother, mortality, an actor with whom the director worked, the ’60s, the ’80s, current times, and the emptiness, a sense of incommensurate emptiness, caused by the inability to go on making films.” It all feels very much in the director’s wheelhouse, whose past films like Bad Education and Broken Embraces have tackled head on what it means to use cinema to explore one’s memories. Joining Banderas is Velvet‘s Asier Etxeandía, who actually had a bit part in Embraces that got left on the cutting room floor, and Julieta Serrano, who’s turn in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown remains iconic. Shooting is set to begin this July which is not soon enough.