Rosario Flores, Talk to Her
Credit: Talk to Her: Miguel Bracho

”He’s called the women’s director,” says Spanish actress Watling of her country’s most celebrated filmmaker (the Academy Award winner for ”All About My Mother”), ”the best director for actresses. So people are shocked that here, the men are more important.” In Almodóvar’s new drama, about the deep friendship that develops between two men whose loved ones are both in comas, the guys get the best lines and the women can play their roles mostly with their eyes closed.

”I thought it would be this awkward nonacting part,” says Watling, who is awake for a mere five scenes throughout the film. ”But then the first thing Pedro told me was ‘I don’t know what I want, and I don’t know how I’ll direct you, but I know what I don’t want. I don’t want someone just lying there, emotionless, who doesn’t change moods.”’ Watling and her costar Flores — playing, respectively, a ballerina and a bullfighter before accidents undo them — were sent to intensive yoga training before the 13-week Madrid shoot to prepare for their focused performances. They would then be further challenged by the director’s famously colorful personality. ”Pedro likes lots of noise and joy on the set, and he does stand-up comedy all the time,” says Watling.

THE LOWDOWN If Almodóvar can pull performances out of men as well as he does out of women, his new movie may be ”All About My Next Oscar.”

Talk to Her
  • Movie
  • 112 minutes