In Variety‘s Up Next, we asked four Oscar winners to pick the one person who represents the future of Hollywood.
Pedro Almodóvar describes his scripts as making a dish. “They need a lot of cooking time in the oven,” he says. Applying that logic to “Parallel Mothers,” it took about 10 to 12 years. Almodóvar has been writing since he was a child, but his initial goal was to be a novelist. But life had different plans — in the form of 23 scripts (so far) and an Oscar for original screenplay for “Talk to Her” (2002).
Almodóvar is in love with many in film today, but he absolutely gushes over Julia Ducournau, who penned “Titane,” which will be representing France for the international feature Oscar. He calls her movie “amazingly brilliant and completely schizophrenic. She has great promise, and I will continue to follow her.” Ducournau has revered Almodóvar’s work her entire life.
What was your process for creating “Parallel Mothers,” and how did it differ from “Talk to Her”?
PEDRO ALMODÓVAR: The genesis of my stories is a long one. It starts with a series of notes, and I take that and eventually turn them into scripts. But I work on them for a very long period of time. This doesn’t mean I’m working on them every day. I work on them until there’s something about them I don’t like, and then I set them aside. In the meantime, I’m also making films. “Parallel” had a film within a film, which was very risky. During the lockdown, I had the time to dive into the script, think about it and fix the issues.
How did you get into writing?
The truth is, I’ve written all my life, but I never went to school. I taught myself how to write. If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned by doing it, which is the best way to learn.
What are you working on next?
We’re in the midst of working on this film “A Manual for Cleaning Women,” but it’s still to be seen whether it’s going to be the next film. It should be the next film, but I can’t say with certainty. It would be, in fact, my first feature film that will be in full English.
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How does it feel to be named “Up Next” by Pedro Almodóvar?
JULIA DUCOURNAU: It feels amazing, especially coming from Pedro Almodóvar. I’m very happy that somehow he could relate to how I’m trying to tell stories differently. I see him as the master of emotions, someone who can bring them up like no one else.
What’s your process of constructing a script as crazy as “Titane”?
It wasn’t easy at all. I think “Titane” is the hardest script I had to write, even though I’m very young in my career. I’ve never struggled as much as I did for this for many reasons. First, I was terrified of people’s expectations for my second film after “Raw.” Second, I also struggled with my own expectations. I felt I had given everything I had to “Raw,” and I was afraid I didn’t have anything else to offer, especially love. That’s something that took a long time to find in me.
What are you working on next? I can’t say anything about it. I’m trying to think what to say, not to give anything away, but still say something. … For the next one, I hope to go further with love.