Sony Pictures Classics has swooped for Pedro Almodóvar’s Penelope Cruz-fronted “Parallel Mothers” (Madres paralelas) in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Production on the film began last month in Madrid, Spain, and sees the Spanish auteur reuniting with Cruz, a frequent collaborator who most recently starred in “Pain and Glory” opposite Antonio Banderas. Cruz will be joined on screen by former San Sebastián best actress winner Aitana Sánchez Gijón and newcomer Milena Smit (“No matarás”).

Additional casting announced includes Israel Elejalde (“Veneno”) and two long-time Almodóvar collaborators and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” co-stars, Julieta Serrano and Rossy de Palma.

Produced by Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García through Almodóvar’s production company El Deseo, “Parallel Mothers” marks the 13th collaboration between El Deseo and Sony Pictures Classics.

The pic centers on three mothers — portrayed by Cruz, Gijón and Smit — and expands Almodóvar’s previous depictions of womanhood by turning the director’s focus on imperfect mothers, in a departure from his prior work exploring mothers and motherhood.

Almodóvar has had “Parallel Mothers” on the back burner for some time, but as the months of lockdown unspooled during Spain’s COVID-19 crisis last year, he was able to focus and finish the screenplay.

“With ‘Madres paralelas’ I return to the female universe, to motherhood, to the family,” Almodóvar said in a casting announcement for the film in February. “I speak of the importance of ancestors and descendants. The inevitable presence of memory. There are many mothers in my filmography, the ones that are part of this story are very different.

“As a storyteller, imperfect mothers inspire me most at this time. Penélope Cruz, Aitana Sánchez Gijón and the young Milena Smit will play the three mothers in the film, accompanied by Israel Elejalde as the main male character. It is also a collaboration with my beloved Julieta Serrano and Rossy de Palma. ‘Parallel Mothers’ will be an intense drama. Or so I hope,” continued Almodóvar.

Sony Pictures Classics recently released Almodóvar’s short film “The Human Voice,” starring Tilda Swinton, in theaters alongside a digitally restored re-issue of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” It will be available to stream on HBO Max starting April 30th.

Jamie Lang contributed to this report.