Jude Law will star as a fictional American pope (Pius XIII) in an upcoming eight-part HBO series called The Young Pope. Born Lenny Belardo, the new pontiff displays deep compassion toward the needy, but he's a headstrong renegade who boldly defies convention by resisting Vatican courtiers.
To be shot in Italy, the series marks the television debut of Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty). All eight episodes will be directed by Sorrentino, who will also co-write the series—with Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Umberto Contarello and Stefano Rulli.
According to Sorrentino, the show will explore many confusing and controversial topics, including: "the clear signs of God's existence. The clear signs of God's absence. How faith can be searched for and lost. The inner struggle between the huge responsibility of the Head of the Catholic Church and the miseries of the simple man—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 neighbor."
Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton will star opposite Law in the role of Sister Mary, an American nun living in Vatican City.
This will be the first time Law has worked in television since the early 1990s. The actor's big screen career continues to thrive. He appeared in the Oscar-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel; he is now filming Guy Ritchie's Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur; and he may reprise his role as Dr. Watson for the next installment of the Sherlock Holmes franchise.
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