Pedro Almodóvar steps away from his first English-language feature film

A man with white hair and a beard poses in a bright yellow jacket over a red polo shirt.
Writer-director Pedro Almodóvar, in 2021, has stepped away from what would have been his first English-language feature film.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is going to wait a while longer before tackling a feature film in English.

The Oscar winner for original screenplay for 2002’s “Talk to Her” (Hable con ella) told The Times on Wednesday that it was a “painful decision” to leave the helm of “A Manual for Cleaning Women,” starring Cate Blanchett. Blanchett’s company, Dirty Films, is producing the movie.

“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,” Almodóvar said in a statement from his publicists.

The film is in pre-production with a plan for a 2023 release, according to The “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” director was also credited by IMDb as a writer and producer on “A Manual for Cleaning Women.”

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Almodóvar previously wrote and directed the 30-minute English-language short “The Human Voice,” which was released in 2020 and starred Tilda Swinton.

“Parallel Mothers,” the most recent directorial effort from the “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” mastermind, earned 2022 Oscar nominations for its star, Penélope Cruz, and for Alberto Iglesias, who wrote the original score. Cruz and Almodóvar have collaborated on seven projects.

Dirty Films producers Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini told The Times in a statement, “We have the utmost respect for Pedro and his extraordinary body of work, and while the stars may not have aligned this time, we hope to collaborate with Pedro ... on another project in the future.” They said work on “A Manual” would continue with New Republic Pictures, which was already affiliated with the movie.

The news was first reported by Deadline.