Ufa’s ‘Pope’ blesses Schlondorff to helm

Pic based on '97 Cross novel

BERLIN — German helmer Volker Schlondorff is set to direct “Pope Joan” for Ufa Film & TV Production.

The film, based on Donna Woolfolk Cross’ 1997 novel of the same name, will probably be shot next year in Babelsberg and on location in Romania and Italy.

Pic is the second about the 9th century woman who disguised herself as a monk and eventually became pope. A 1972 film by Michael Anderson flopped despite an all-star cast that included Liv Ullmann as Joan, Olivia de Havilland, Lesley-Ann Down and Trevor Howard.

In 1997 Fine Line Features inked scribe Andrew Davies to pen a screenplay based on Cross’ novel, but the project never came to fruition.

Schlondorff’s last feature was 1999’s German-lingo Cold War tale “Legend of Rita,” which took three prizes at the Berlin Intl. Film Festival last year.

Ufa Film & TV, the RTL Group’s TV and feature film division, is Germany’s biggest TV producer.

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