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Stars join controversial drama about PIUS XIII’s Pontificate


Award-winning actress, director, producer and bestselling author Diane Keaton  (Annie Hall, Something’s Gotta Give), and Brit actor Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Anna Karenina) are to star in a new eight-episode HBO drama, The Young Pope.

The Young Pope tells the controversial story of the beginning of PIUS XIII’s Pontificate, born Lenny Belardo (Law). 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. He is however not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.

Keaton stars as Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City.

Describing the series, director Paolo Sorrentino said: “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 neighbour. That is what The Young Pope is about.”

The Young Pope is co-production between Sky, HBO and Canal +, produced by Wildside, and co-produced by Haut et Court TV and MEDIAPRO, and will be directed by Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty).

Filming has begun this month (July). Further casting is yet to be announced.