ROME — Hot Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino will shoot “Il Divo,” a portrait of controversial Italian politician Giulio Andreotti, the country’s seven-time former prime minister, tried for Mafia ties and subsequently acquitted.
The young Sorrentino, whose loanshark drama “The Family Friend” unspooled in Cannes last year, has titled his potentially explosive pic after Andreotti’s moniker, “Divo Giulio” — the same appellative Julius Caesar was known by.
A devout Catholic with close Vatican ties, Andreotti, 88, has been Italy’s most powerful postwar pol, who has personally known most American presidents and is a senator for life.
Besides his Mafia trial, Andreotti has also been tried for the murder of an Italian journalist in a separate case, in which he was also acquitted.
Despite not guilty verdicts the trials tarnished his image in the 1990s.
Andreotti will be played by thesp Toni Servillo, who was protag of Sorrentino’s “The Consequences of Love,” which also went to Cannes.
Rounding off the cast are Michele Placido (“The Caiman”) as Andreotti’s right-hand man, Anna Bonaiuto (“My Brother Is an Only Child”) as his wife, and Piera Degli Esposti (“The Unknown”) as his secretary.
“Divo” is being co-produced by Nicola Giuliano’s Indigo Film with Lucky Red, which will distribute in Italy, in association with Parco Films and Gaul’s Babe Films. Screenplay is penned by Sorrentino.
“Due to its subject matter this was not an easy project to set up,” said Giuliano.
Euro funding body Eurimages is contributing Euros 450,000 ($612,000) of the pic’s $5.7 million budget.