Just know that somewhere out there, there’s an alternate reality in which Pedro Almodóvar directed Brokeback Mountain. That, my friends, is what shall be forever known as The Sexiest Timeline.
Almodóvar revealed in a recent interview that he was, in fact, offered the film, but turned it down for reasons of sexiness. Like, he would have required way too much sexiness for the studios to handle. He would have melted Hollywood’s pants and faces off with all the sexy.
They offered me Brokeback Mountain but I had many doubts. Thinking about it, I don’t know if I made a mistake or not [in turning it down]. They promised me total artistic freedom and final cut but it was a story that was so physical — it’s not just that the characters sleep together once — and that has to be there. I think Ang Lee went as far as he could and I like his version very much. But I always imagined it differently and I don’t think I would have been able to make it the way I wanted. They wouldn’t have let me.
It seems weird that anyone would offer Almodóvar “total artistic freedom” and then try to censor him (unless they had never seen one of his movies before making that offer), but I also think Almodóvar is right that that’s what would have happened. Brokeback was such a tentpole, Oscar-bound movie, and his brand of ultra-sexy, occasionally and intensely disturbing (have you seen The Skin I Live In? Don’t see it if you ever want to enjoy sex ever again) love scene seems a bit outside of that box.
Still, I’m going to continue to imagine a world in which Jake Gyllenhaal was replaced with Antonio Banderas.