Almodóvar's 'The Room Next Door': All We Know About the Tilda Swinton & Julianne Moore Film

Not every director understands the power and allure of a silver screen diva quite like Pedro Almodóvar. After shooting two short films in English as a warm-up, Almodóvar is ready to make his feature-length English debut at the age of 74, following a previous commitment to making films only in Spanish. And there’s no shortage of legendary actresses ready to work with him. The project, currently titled The Room Next Door, already boasts Tilda Swinton and Julianne Moore as its leading ladies. Although there were reports that Cate Blanchett had to drop out, there are now rumors that Anya Taylor-Joy is set to join the cast (possibly playing Swinton’s character’s daughter). And, yeah, that’s a rumor certainly tailored to our joy. Update: The film’s distrubtor Sony Pictures Classics has denied reports that Taylor is attatched to the project. See below.

Filming reportedly began in March 2024 in Madrid, and while there’s not yet a set release date, here’s everything we know about the cinematic event decades in the making.

What Is The Room Next Door About?

Almodóvar’s works are often difficult to sum up in a zippy log line. There are plot twists, melodrama, and often some campy detours, but the film will center on Martha (a war correspondent) and Ingrid (an “auto-fiction” novelist). When Martha’s relationship with her daughter becomes strained, it is Ingrid who sees both sides of the quarrel. Almodóvar isn’t too keen to oversimplify the plot ahead of time.

“The film talks about the unlimited cruelty of wars, the two different ways these two writers have of approaching and writing about reality, also about death, and how friendship and sexual pleasure can be the best allies to deal with horror,” he said in a previously released statement. “It also talks about the pleasure of waking up to birds bringing a new day at a house built on a natural reserve in New England, where the two friends live an extraordinary and awkwardly sweet situation.”

Who’s in the Cast of The Room Next Door?

Tilda Swinton, who previously collaborated with Almodóvar on the short film The Human Voice, will play war journalist Martha, while Julianne Moore will play Ingrid, her friend and the novelist.

However, despite speculation and rumors, Anya Taylor-Joy is not attatched the project. However, actor John Turturro is officially attached to the project, and the IMDb page claims that actor Alessandro Nivola is as well.

Notably, none of Almódovar’s regular Spanish-language collaborators are yet attached. Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas are the director’s two most famous frequent collaborators, but his cavalcade of regulars also includes Carmen Maura, Cecilia Roth, Julieta Serrano, and, most iconically, Rossy de Palma.

Is Dua Lipa in the Film?

Dua Lipa, a woman of exquisite taste, loves Almodóvar and has hosted him on her podcast. Almodóvar loves her in return. There have been persistent but unconfirmed rumors that Lipa may feature in an upcoming Almodóvar project.

In fact, over the weekend she was in Madrid, visiting the set of the film. Lipa is listed on the project’s IMDB page, but none of the Hollywood trades have confirmed her involvement. Perhaps she’s contributing to the soundtrack or making a cameo? Or maybe she’s just a big fan.

Where Is The Room Next Door Set?

The film has been described variously as set in both New York City and, as the director says, “a house built on a natural reserve in New England.” Filming, however, is currently underway in Madrid, but it’s expected production will eventually shift to NYC.

When Will It Be Released?

There’s no set release date just yet, but Almódovar can be a quick director. His most recent feature film, Parallel Mothers, was shot in the spring of 2021 and premiered at that year’s Venice International Film Festival in September. Based on his previous turnaround times, it’s possible the film could be out by the end of 2024.

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