×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘Young Pope’ Rounds Out Cast With James Cromwell And Slew Of Top International Talent

After casting Jude Law in the title role as a young conservative American pontiff, and Diane Keaton as a nun, the cast for Paolo Sorrentino-directed TV series “The Young Pope” has been rounded out with a slew of top international talent.

Joining the three-way Sky, HBO and Canal Plus papal production as prelates are:

James Cromwell, who will play Cardinal Michael Spencer, who is Lenny’s mentor; Silvio Orlando, a regular in Nanni Moretti movies, who is set for the role of Cardinal Voiello, the Secretary of State; and Scott Shepherd, who will play Cardinal Dussolier, from South America.

Cecile de France will play Sofia, who is in charge of marketing in the Vatican City; while Javier Camara is set to play Cardinal Gutierrez, the Master of Ceremonies of the Vatican City. Ludivine Sagnier (“Swimming Pool”) (pictured) will play Esther, the wife of a Swiss guard, and Italian theatre actor Toni Bertorelli has been cast as Cardinal Caltanissetta.

Additional cast members include: Guy Boyd, Andre Gregory, Sebastian Roche, Marcello Romolo, Ignazio Oliva, Vladimir Bibic and Nadie Kammalaweera.

Per the press notes “The Young Pope” tells the controversial story of the beginning of the pontificate of Pius XIII, born Lenny Belardo. “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. He is however not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.”

Describing the series in a statement Paolo Sorrentino said: ”The clear signs of God’s existence. The clear signs of God’s absence. How faith can be searched for and lost. The greatness of holiness, so great as to be unbearable when you are fighting temptations and when all you can do is to yield to them. The inner struggle between the huge responsibility of the Head of the Catholic Church and the miseries of the simple man that fate (or the Holy Spirit) chose as Pontiff. Finally, how to handle and manipulate power in a state whose dogma and moral imperative is the renunciation of power and selfless love towards one’s neighbour. That is what The Young Pope is about.”

It will be interesting to see Jude Law playing Lenny Belardo/Pius XIII yielding to temptation though the prism of Sorrentino’s surreal dark storytelling.

Sorrentino won the foreign-language Oscar last year for “The Great Beauty.” His new film, “Youth,” toplining Michael Caine, screened at Cannes. Fox Searchlight acquired North American rights to the film early in the fest. The “Youth” cast also includes Paul Dano, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda.

The”Young Pope” series is being produced by Italy’s Wildside, and co-produced by Gaul’s Haut et Court TV and Spain’s MEDIAPRO. Executive Producers for Wildside are Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani together with former Focus Features president John Lyons. Executive Producers for Haut et Court TV are Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal.

Sorrentino’s eight-episode skein started shooting in Rome this week.

All eight episodes will be directed by Sorrentino and are written by himself in collaboration with ace British screenwriter Toni Grisoni (“Southcliffe”), Umberto Contarello (“The Great Beauty”) and Stefano Rulli (“The Best of Youth”).

“The Young Pope” marks a major co-production with HBO for the the newly merged pan-European Sky, comprising U.K., Italy and Germany, a clear sign of the new opportunities this new player offers and of its ambition in the international arena.

More TV

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • Desus Nice The Kid Mero

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Feb. 18, 2019: Academy Awards, 'Desus & Mero'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, the Academy Awards air and Desus & Mero make their debut on Showtime. [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    BBC Takes Stake in New Company Set Up by ‘Luther,’ ‘Bodyguard’ Exec

    BBC Studios has taken a minority stake in Firebird Pictures, the new drama indie being set up by BBC execs Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth. Kilgarriff’s credits include “Luther,” “Poldark,” “McMafia” and upcoming Richard Gere-starrer “MotherFatherSon.” She commissioned breakout drama hit “Bodyguard.” Holleworth will be the new company’s COO, having run business and operations for [...]

  • Punisher Jessica Jones

    Marvel's 'The Punisher,' 'Jessica Jones' Canceled at Netflix

    The last of Netflix’s Marvel shows are officially ending. “The Punisher” has been canceled after its second season, and the upcoming third season of “Jessica Jones” will be its last, Netflix confirmed on Monday. The announcement comes after Netflix gave the ax to its other Marvel series: “Daredevil,” “Iron First,” and “Luke Cage.” “Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ will [...]

  • SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake'

    SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake' With 'Desperate Parents' Producer

    SND, the commercial arm of the French TV network M6, has acquired worldwide distribution rights to “Family Shake,” a comedy series written by Baya Kasmi and Michel Leclerc. SND is the latest vertically integrated French film group to start handling live-action series, following TF1 Studio, Studiocanal and Gaumont, among others. Produced by Gaëlle Cholet at [...]

  • 'Super Shiro' Anime Series Inspired by

    'Super Shiro' Anime Series Inspired by 'Crayon Shin-chan'

    The enduringly popular Japanese cartoon franchise “Crayon Shin-chan” has inspired a new animated TV series, “Super Shiro.” “Crayon Shin-chan” has been on air since 1992 and inspired 26 feature films. “Super Shiro” is a fast-paced chase series, for kids, based on original IP by Yoshito Usui and scripted by on Kimiko Ueno.  The series is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content