Almodovar withdraws from English film project with Blanchett
Pedro Almodovar was to have directed his first full-length English film with the Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett, seen here together at Spain's Goya awards in February JOSE JORDAN AFP/File

Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has withdrawn from directing his first English-language feature "A Manual for Cleaning Women" starring Cate Blanchett with production to continue without him, his brother confirmed Wednesday.

"Pedro Almodovar is pulling out of the 'Manual for Cleaning Women' project which will continue with Cate Blanchett," tweeted Agustin Almodovar who jointly runs the brothers' film production company, El Deseo.

The news was first broken by entertainment website Deadline Hollywood, which said Almodovar had everything in place but "he came to the decision that he’s not ready to tackle such a monumental project in English".

It gave no further details but said the search for another director was "under way".

"It has been a very painful decision for me," Almodovar told Deadline.

"I have dreamt of working with Cate for such a long time. Dirty Films has been so generous with me this whole time and I was blinded by excitement, but unfortunately, I no longer feel able to fully realise this film."

The project is an adaptation of a book of 43 short stories by American author Lucia Berlin in which the 53-year-old Australian actress -- a double Oscar winner who also holds three Golden Globes -- also has a producer role through her "Dirty Films" production company.

Almodovar's withdrawal from the project, which was to have been his first full-length venture in English, will not affect Blanchett's role in the production.

The 72-year-old director, who won Oscars for "All About My Mother" (1999) and "Talk To Her" (2002), made his first English language film in 2020, a 30-minute piece called "The Human Voice" starring British actress Tilda Swinton.

Considered one of the greatest actresses of her generation, Blanchett won best actress at Venice Film Festival for a second time last week, for her role in "Tar" about a renowned classical music conductor accused of inappropriate liaisons with female colleagues.

© 2022 AFP