As Monika first reported in May, Pedro Almodóvar's next movie is The Skin I'm In, a horror movie that begins shooting today which Almodóvar said will be "the harshest film I've ever written." The official casting list has been revealed, and surprisingly, his modern muse Penelope Cruz is nowhere to be found.

The Skin I'm In does reunite the director with Antonio Banderas, the star of Almodóvar's edgy Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, which made novel use of a wind-up bath toy, but his female costar will be Elena Anaya, who was in Talk to Her. The Skin I'm In is based on the novel Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet, and while I'm sure some changes were made in its adaptation for the big screen, its description on Amazon.co.uk, is certainly worth noting. It's slightly different than the shorter description on Amazon, which gives away all the goods. The main characters are a plastic surgeon who has an operating room in his basement and keeps his wife Eve locked up in their bedroom, a killer on the loose, and a kidnapper who tortures his prey in cruel and novel ways.

And about that surgeon: "Eve is only allowed out to be paraded at cocktail parties and on the last Sunday of each month, when the couple visit a young woman in a mental asylum. Following these outings, Lafargue humiliates Eve by forcing her to perform lewd sexual acts with strangers while he watches through a one-way mirror."

Perhaps it's not Cruz's recent marriage to Javier Bardem or a secret pregnancy that's keeping her away from the script, but that she doesn't want to end up in some sort of Story of O-esque scenario. Late-night Cinemax viewers might remember Anaya from more titillating fare like Sex and Lucia, so perhaps she was more comfortable or suited to the material.

It will be interesting to see what kind of changes Almodóvar has made to the story in his screenplay, but the text itself sounds quite different from the typical Eli Roth torture trip. I have no doubt that this auteur will manage to delve into this very dark tale and make it a delightfully squeamish thriller.

I haven't read the novel yet, but you can be assured that I will be picking it up soon, even if I have to order it from the UK! Have you read it yet?

(Via BleedingCool/Thompson on Hollywood)