$12 million Vatican comedy to shoot in January

Italo multihyphenate Nanni Moretti has anointed Gallic superstar Michel Piccoli, 83, to play an angst-ridden contempo pontiff for his upcoming comedy “We Have a Pope.”

Piccoli will play a cardinal who gets the jitters after he is elected pope. Moretti, as previously announced, will play the papal psychiatrist.

Pic is set for a January shoot in Italy; Moretti’s Sacher Film and Domenico Procacci’s are Fandango co-producing with French producer Jean Labadie’s Le Pact.

European co-production fund Eurimages is providing $900,000 of the reported $12 million budget.

Gaul’s Wild Bunch is handling international sales on the new work by the Italo auteur/thesp, who also has a big following in France. Moretti’s “The Son’s Room” took the 2001 Cannes Palme d’Or.

Moretti has penned the “Pope” pic with scribes Federica Pontremoli and Francesco Piccolo, with whom he collaborated on his previous feature, “The Caiman.”

He has been meticulously researching the film with the Vatican, where a draft of the screenplay has reportedly been read.

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