The film is an adaptation of Lucia Berlin’s short story collection of the same name, which includes 43 stories about women in multiple types of demanding jobs.
It was confirmed to Variety exclusively that the project is in the early stages of development, with Blanchett’s production company Dirty Films producing the feature for New Republic Pictures, in association with El Deseo. Andrew Upton and Coco Francini are producing alongside Blanchett for Dirty Films. Brian Oliver and Bradley Fischer are producing for New Republic Pictures alongside Almodóvar.
Blanchett is a revered actress who has won two Academy Awards, for “The Aviator” (2004) in supporting actress and “Blue Jasmine” (2013) in lead actress. She’s in the awards conversation again this year for delivering two powerhouse performances in Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” from Searchlight Pictures and Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” from Netflix, with other projects on the horizon. In addition to “Manual,” she currently has three additional films that are expected to be released in 2022 — Todd Field’s “TÁR,” Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson’s “Pinocchio” and Eli Roth’s “Borderland.”
Almodóvar spoke with Variety for our “Up Next” series in December about the project, saying he was writing the script in Spanish before translating it to English. An original screenplay Oscar winner for “Talk to Her” (2002), he’s dipped his toes into English-language filmmaking with his 2020 short “The Human Voice” starring Tilda Swinton. It was one of the 15 films shortlisted for live-action short by the Oscars, but ultimately missed out on a nom. This past year, he wrote and directed “Parallel Mothers” for Sony Pictures Classics with Oscar-winner Penélope Cruz, who won the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival.
Blanchett and Almodóvar are both repped by CAA.