Jude Law is reportedly in advanced negotiations to play the lead role in Italian Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s high-concept TV series, working-titled “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history.

Italian media is abuzz with unconfirmed news that Sorrentino has found his pope and Law is on board. Wildside, the Italian shingle that is producing the skein, has issed a “no comment.”

Law would play a hard-line conservative American pontiff recruited by a Vatican fed up with liberals, co-scribe Tony Grisoni recently told Variety. “No one, even at the Vatican, is prepared for how hard-line this American pope really is,” he said.

Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani’s Wildside are producing in collaboration with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia paybox which will air the show in Italy.

Sorrentino (“The Great Beauty”) and his co-writers, Umberto Contarello, Stefano Rulli and Grisoni, have finalized the first scripts for “The Young Pope.”

The ambitous big-budget skein has been touted by the producers as being “about dreams, fears, conflicts, battles, the search for meaning and the need for love of a pope, seen through the prism of Sorrentino’s unique vision capable of creating worlds that are at the same incredible and  more real than reality itself.”

“Pope” will mark Sorrentino’s first foray directing a TV series.

Shooting on the eight-episode English-language skein in fifty-minute format, set in Vatican City and the U.S. and conceived for the international market, is expected to start at Rome’s Cinecittà Studios in July.

Sorrentino is in post on his latest feature film, Michael Caine-starrer “La Giovinezza” (“Youth”) AKA “In The Future,” which is tipped for Cannes. Caine plays Fred, a retired composer in an Alpine resort, musing on youth. Paul Dano, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda also star. Indigo Films produced.

Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report