An epic piece about the fictional Pope Pius XIII will become a big collaborative effort for not just HBO but its two major production partners. Both Europe’s Sky and France’s Canal + will join HBO in financing and airing Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s THE YOUNG POPE.
It is expected to be an eight-episode series about the first Italian-American pontiff and his impact on the world. Jude Law (pictured) is already picked to play the title character who starts his life as Lenny Belardo and later becomes Pius XIII. The character has been described as –
“a complex and conflicted character, so conservative in his choices as to border on obscurantism, (it is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known.) 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. [He is] a man who is however not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.”
All eight episodes will be directed by Sorrentino, who won the Best Foreign Film Oscar last year for The Great Beauty, and are written by Sorrentino in collaboration with Tony Grisoni, Umberto Contarello (“The Great Beauty”) and Stefano Rulli. Said Paolo Sorrentino (pictured) about the project –
”The clear signs of God’s existence; the clear signs of God’s absence. How faith can be searched for and lost. The greatness of holiness, so great as to be unbearable when you are fighting temptations and when all you can do is to yield to them. The inner struggle between the huge responsibility of the Head of the Catholic Church and the miseries of the simple man that fate (or the Holy Spirit) chose as Pontiff. Finally, how to handle and manipulate power in a state whose dogma and moral imperative is the renunciation of power and selfless love towards one’s neighbor. That is what The Young Pope is about.”
Production on THE YOUNG POPE is said to begin this summer and continue through early 2016. The series will film predominantly in Italy with additional locations to include the United States, Africa and Puerto Rico. Of course, there is no word on when we will see it on HBO.