Constantin excommunicates director

Schlondorff kicked off 'Pope Joan'

The troubled adaptation of Donna Woolfolk Cross’s 1997 medieval novel “Pope Joan” has suffered another setback after Constantin Film sacked director Volker Schlondorff.

Move follows a spat between Schlondorff and Constantin over the industry’s increasing tendency to simultaneously make extended TV versions of feature films.

Schlondorff spoke out against the practice in a local newspaper — and was dismissed from “Pope Joan” on Friday, six weeks before filming was due to begin.

Constantin accused Schlondorff of damaging the trust between them and of making it more difficult to finance the film, which stars Franka Potente.

Negotiations are under way with other directors, according to Constantin production chief Martin Moszkowicz.

“Pope Joan” recounts the ninth-century legend of a woman who, disguised as a man, ascends the papal throne.

Pic, which has been in development for seven years, was set to start shooting in Bulgaria in May but was postponed in April after actor John Goodman exited. Constantin filed a $3 million lawsuit against Goodman, accusing him of reneging on an agreement to appear in the film.

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