Oscar-winning Italo-auteur Paolo Sorrentino knows how to direct Hollywood actors. His Cannes premiere “Youth” starring Michael Caine as a retired maestro languishing in a Swiss health spa will earn distributor Fox Searchlight awards attention this Fall.
Sorrentino will next foray into miniseries-making, with “The Young Pope” now fully cast and in production. Jude Law and Diane Keaton, in their first major television roles, will star as a pontiff and a nun, respectively. They will be joined by Silvio Orlando as Cardinal Voiello, the Secretary of State, and Scott Shepherd will play Cardinal Dussolier, from South America. Cécile de France will play Sofia, in charge of marketing in the Vatican City, while Javier Cámara is set to play Cardinal Gutierrez, the Master of Ceremonies of the Vatican City.
French chameleon Ludivine Sagnier will play Esther, the wife of a Swiss guard, and Toni Bertorelli has been cast as Cardinal Caltanissetta. James Cromwell will play Cardinal Michael Spencer, Lenny’s mentor. Additional cast members include Guy Boyd, Andre Gregory (the Andre of “My Dinner with Andre”), Sebastian Roché, Marcello Romolo, Ignazio Oliva, Vladimir Bibic and Nadie Kammalaweera.
A joint production of Sky, HBO and Canal +, the eight-episode series tells the controversial story of the beginning of PIUS XIII’s (Law) Pontificate, born Lenny Belardo. Here’s how Sorrentino describes “The Young Pope”:
”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.”