Cruz and Banderas climb aboard

Spanish stars join cast of Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Los amantes pasajeros’

Antonio Banderas (l), Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz together at the Oscars in 2000.
Antonio Banderas (l), Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz together at the Oscars in 2000. AFP

Two of Spain’s biggest movie stars, Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, are set to appear on screen together for the first time in Pedro Almodóvar’s forthcoming film Los amantes pasajeros.

The director confirmed the news, with a certain dose of irony, in a message on the Facebook page of his production company El Deseo. “I wasn’t planning to reveal it until the last moment, but if magistrate Carlos Dívar [Spain’s chief justice, who is currently embroiled in an expenses scandal] can’t manage to keep the identity of the people he eats with a secret, I, a mere mortal, have been unable to avoid leaks about two illustrious passengers in my next film,” he wrote in a post titled Pasajeros ilustres (Illustrious passengers).

“They have both agreed to play two short roles that will open Los amantes pasajeros,” he revealed. “Both very busy, they have agreed to come to Madrid for a day to shoot the first three scenes of the film.”

Almodóvar also provided more details about the movie, which he describes as a “light, very light comedy” that will be called I’m So Excited in English, since “there is no way of translating the Spanish title.”

The movie takes the director back to the humor of his 1980s comedies, with a story about a group of airplane passengers on a transatlantic flight. A problem en route leads them all to think they are staring death in the face and they start to confess episodes from their lives.

Joining Cruz and Banderas, Almodóvar also announced, will be Spanish singer and gay icon “La Terremoto de Alcorcón [roughly translated as the Alcorcón earthquake], and Pepa Charro, a genuine alternative diva who should have made the jump to the big screen some time ago.”

Other confirmed cast members include Paz Vega, Lola Dueñas, Javier Cámara (who has the biggest role), Cecilia Roth, Carmen Machi, Carlos Areces, Guillermo Toledo, Raúl Arévalo, Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Blanca Suárez and Mexican actor José María Yazpik.

Agustín Almodóvar, the film’s producer and brother of the director, describes the movie thus: “It features a group facing imminent disaster, in line with the films that we did in the 1980s, with a fresh and cheeky tone.”

It’s territory his brother has been keen to explore once more after two dark films — Broken Embraces and The Skin I Live In. “Pedro has a natural gift for humor,” Agustín says.

The movie is scheduled for a spring 2013 release.

Cruz has previously worked with Almodóvar on Live Flesh, All About My Mother, Volver and Broken Embraces, while the new movie will be Banderas’ seventh film with the director. The pair recently reunited for the first time in 20 years for The Skin I Live In.

Banderas is also scheduled to begin shooting 33 días with Carlos Saura in September, in which he will play Pablo Picasso.

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