Jude Law Will Topline Paolo Sorrentino’s TV Skein ‘The Young Pope,’ HBO on Board

Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy.

The series is being produced by Italy’s Wildside, and co-produced by France’s Haut et Court TV. Executive producers for Wildside are Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani together with John Lyons. Executive producers for Haut et Court TV are Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal.

Production on the eight-episode series is set to begin this summer and continue through early 2016. The show will film predominantly in Italy with additional locations to include the U.S., Africa and Puerto Rico.

Law will play Lenny Belardo, a conservative American pontiff recruited by a Vatican fed up with liberals. “No one, even at the Vatican, is prepared for how hard-line this American pope really is,” Tony Grisoni, who is one of the writers, recently told Variety.

All eight episodes will be directed by Sorrentino and are written by Sorrentino in collaboration with Grisoni, Umberto Contarello (“The Great Beauty”) and Stefano Rulli.

A press statement described the character, who becomes Pius XIII, “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. A man who is however not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.”

“The Young Pope” marks a major co-production for HBO and the newly merged pan-European Sky, comprising U.K., Italy and Germany, a clear sign of the new opportunities it offers.

Sorrentino won the foreign-language Oscar last year for “The Great Beauty.” His new film, “Youth,” toplining Michael Caine, will screen in the Cannes competition on May 20. Fox Searchlight acquired North American rights to the film early in the fest. Its cast also includes Paul Dano, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda.

More Film

  • 12 of the Craziest 'Star Wars:

    12 of the Craziest 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Fan Theories

    Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy. The series is being […]

  • Laura Dern Red Carpet fashion Moments

    Fashion Flashback: Laura Dern Remembers Her Favorite Frocks

    Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy. The series is being […]

  • Genndy Tartakovsky Animator

    TV Animators Tooned Up for Big Screen Features

    Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy. The series is being […]

  • get out Oscar Race

    Film News Roundup: 'Get Out' Named Top Film of 2017 by African American Film Critics Assn.

    Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy. The series is being […]

  • Shelter PR

    Shelter PR Expands With New Film and TV Division, Hires Veteran PR Exec Alicia Ramirez Wyld

    Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy. The series is being […]

  • From 'Lego Batman' to 'Ferdinand' to

    From 'Lego Batman' to 'Ferdinand' to 'Boss Baby,' These Actors Inspire the Animators

    Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy. The series is being […]

  • Rose (ALLISON WILLIAMS) connects with boyfriend

    Jordan Peele Praises His 'Get Out' Below the Line Crew

    Jude Law will topline Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, with the working title “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history. Rupert Murdoch’s paybox Sky and France’s Canal Plus will co-produce with HBO, marking the first multiple-player production of this type in Italy. The series is being […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content