Pope Francis will play himself in the movie “Beyond the Sun,” marking his acting debut and the first time that a pope has appeared in a feature film.
“Beyond the Sun,” from Ambi Pictures, is described as a family adventure based on the Gospels. Pope Francis asked the filmmakers to make a movie that communicated Jesus’ message to children.
AMBI co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi will finance and produce. Graciela Rodriguez wrote the screenplay and will co-produce with Gabriel Leybu. Monsignor Eduardo Garcia will be Pope Francis’ advisor.
All profits from the film will be donated to Argentine charities El Alemendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, which aid at-risk children and young adults.
Iervolino made his first film in his hometown of Cassino, Italy, at age 15.
“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words,” he said. “This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope.”
Bacardi said, “It is a great honor for Andrea and I to have the opportunity to work with His Holiness, Pope Francis, to spread the awareness of his message, through this film. We will make a movie everyone involved with can be proud of. Not only will families from around globe enjoy this film and be entertained, but they will be moved.”
Popular on Variety
Principal photography is slated to begin in Italy. Ambi will oversee worldwide distribution for “Beyond the Sun” through its Los Angeles-based international sales division.
Ambi’s slate includes a remake of Christopher Nolan’s “Memento”; “Lamborghini – The Legend,” a biopic on auto-company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini; “Septembers of Shiraz,” starring Salma Hayek and Adrien Brody; “This Beautiful Fantastic,” starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson; the Federico Fellini documentary “The Man of La Dolce Vita”; and James Franco’s “In Dubious Battle,” starring Franco, Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris and Bryan Cranston.