Schlondorff anoints Potente

Thesp to star in 'Pope Joan'

BERLIN — Franka Potente is set to star as a woman who ascends the Vatican’s highest office in Volker Schlondorff’s adaptation of Donna W. Cross’ bestseller “Pope Joan.”

Based on a medieval legend, story chronicles the life of a gifted young woman who, “Yentl”-like, disguises herself as a boy in order to join a monastery in her quest for knowledge — and quickly climbs the ranks by impressing her superiors.

Produced by Constantin Film and UFA Film & Television Production, pic is set begin shooting in May as a theatrical film and a TV two-parter.

UFA originally planned to shoot the film in 2002 with Senator Film, but the latter’s bankruptcy shelved the project.

Pic will be the second about the female 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.

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