Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pedro Almodovar

Today I read some news that really scared/ freaked me out. Fox Television Studios brought the rights to Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) by Pedro Almodovar and plans on turning the film into a one hour drama series produced with former Grey’s Anatomy producer/writer Mimi Schmir at the helm and co produced by Almodovar himself.

I’m a HUGE fan of Almodovar and have seen all his movies, including his latest Broken Embraces that’s in competition in Cannes for the big award. My first reaction to the news is that I’m scared as I have a hard time imagining what American network suits can do to any Almodovar story, much more to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown!!!

In the Spanish-speaking world Almodovar is not for everyone and I assume that in the English-speaking world that needs subtitles or –worst- dubbing to understand his peculiar style with words and images -and if his style is kept- will be for much less people. So I conclude that this project is doom to have low ratings, unless they Americanize Almodovar and create something that is not him at all.

But then I think about something else. When I first heard about Ugly Betty being adapted to American TV I really wondered about the end product. I don’t say that I like soaps (telenovelas) but the story was a HUGE business and audience success in all the Spanish speaking countries where they had the original soap or any other of the many adaptations. The American Ugly Betty is not like any other Spanish-speaking Ugly Betty, the show is really different and exactly here is were the producers (that includes Salma Hayek) success lays. They kept the character and some essentials from the original story, but did something totally different.

What they did is very similar to what Hollywood has done with some very successful movies like the Bourne series that kept the character but wrote different stories for the big screen that those told in the books.

So, there is always the possibility that they keep the main characters, some story essentials and create something totally different that obviously could have more appeal to American audiences and get the much needed ratings to survive.

I’m trying to be positive with the news as there is one undeniable issue, this will be about the first time that American television will try to adapt a story from Spanish cinema and the story and film comes from one of the most honored Spanish cinema directors. So, I wish them success and surely I'll be watching the show to find what they did with such a masterpiece that well, had success in America and was the first ever Almodovar film that really crossed the language barrier.

But honestly besides Almodovar making good money from the rights sale, I don’t see anything really positive as the end product will definitively not be Almodovar, but another crazy TV show from American Television.


Gosh, I just found the “original” article where all the other news are based and what I imagined seems right as this is the description of the show:

The "Women" series "will be a suburban drama about a group of women who have known each other for a long time, perhaps from college, who are in the middle of their lives and looking at the second half of their lives.

To me this just sounds like another version of Desperate Housewives…

To check the article go here.

Sad, very sad news.

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