Hollywood A-lister and film star Jude Law is set to return to television in the new international co-production, The Young Pope (working title).
According to Variety, two-time Oscar® and three-time Golden Globes nominee Jude Law (Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley) will lead the cast of The Young Pope (Il Giovane Papa) as Lenny Belardo, a conservative cleric “recruited by a Vatican fed up with liberals” who becomes Pope Pius XIII — “an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history.”
According to the press statement, the character of Pope Pius XIII is “a complex and conflicted character, so conservative in his choices as to border on obscurantism, yet full of compassion towards the weak and poor. He is a man of great power who is stubbornly resistant to the Vatican courtiers, unconcerned with the implications to his authority. During the series, Belardo will face losing those closest to him and the constant fear of being abandoned, even by his God. A man who is however not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.”
(Hmm, could this be both a nod to, yet also a backlash against, Pope Francis, the first Pope from South America, and his more open, tolerant, and progressive policies?)
BAFTA Film and two-time Cannes Film Festival winner Paolo Sorrentino (La Grande Bellezza, This Must Be the Place) will direct the eight-part miniseries, as well as write it with Tony Grisoni (Southcliffe), Umberto Contarello (The Great Beauty), and Stefano Rulli (The Octopus).
The Young Pope is being produced by Italian prodco Wildside (1992) and co-produced by French prodco Haut et Court TV (Les Revenants), along with Sky, Canal+, and HBO — “marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy.” Executive producing the miniseries are Lorenzo Mieli, Mario Gianani, and John Lyons for Wildside, and Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta, and Simon Arnal for Haut et Court TV.
Production on The Young Pope is scheduled to run from summer 2015 through early 2016, mostly in Italy, but also in the US, Africa, and Puerto Rico.