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ROME – Fremantle International has taken global sales on Oscar-winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series, “The Young Pope,” toplining Jude Law as an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American pope in history.

As previously announced, shooting is set to start this summer on the promising skein which 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.

Fremantle will be handling world sales excluding partner territories which are Italy, U.K., Germany, Ireland, the U.S., and France.

The series is being produced by Wildside, and co-produced by 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.

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 statement described Law’s character, who becomes Pius XIII, as “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 combines fantastic story with a brilliant pedigree of talent in the form of a world-renowned director in Paolo Sorrentino, an outstanding production team in Wildside and an extraordinary lead man in Jude Law,” enthused FremantleMedia International CEO Jens Richter.