“Volver” stars to return to Almodóvar

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This winter, word started circulating

about Penelope Cruz working with Pedro Almodóvar on an adaptation of the revenge novel Mygale.

Now Variety reports that Almodóvar has tabled La piel que habito

in favor of an

original screenplay, to feature Cruz,

her Volver co-star Blanca Portillo, and Bad Education‘s Lluis Homar.

We all know that Cruz is stunning, but she also truly deserved her Oscar nom, so

I’m looking forward to seeing her tackle another demanding role. Sexy is great; sexy and talented is far superior.

Portillo’s participation is even more reason to anticipate the new project.

Mixed reviews and Keira Knightley have kept me away from

her current release, Goya’s Ghosts, but as mysterious, dying caregiver Agustina, she was my favorite part of Volver — and not just because of

Agustina’s distinctly lesbian flavor. Portillo’s understated and beautiful performance stood out in an overwhelmingly beautiful film.

That said, I’m not sure whether to credit

director or actor for the queer overtone; the out Almodóvar may be the obvious choice, but Portillo certainly knows how to rock a pair of pants in the midst of gowns.

Few other details are available about this new project, but with these two slated to star and Almodóvar planning to write, it’s already sounding better than the

male-centric Piel. Almodóvar is one of the few men whom I trust to write and direct strong, genuine, interesting female characters, and I think he’s at his best

doing just that.

Hmmmm. He manages to surround himself with incredibly gorgeous women without seeming remotely skeevy — now that’s talent. Do you think he offers lessons?

(Take note, Hollywood: Lesson number one would be to respect the women with whom you work.)

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