FremantleMedia International (FMI) has secured the international distribution rights to the recently green-lit eight episode papal miniseries The Young Pope, starring Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Spy). FMI will handle distribution in all territories except the US, France, the UK, Ireland, Italy and Germany, where co-production partners HBO, Canal+ and Sky control the rights.
The Young Pope tells the controversial story of the beginning of Pius XIII’s (Jude Law) Pontificate. Born Lenny Belardo, he is 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.
The eight episode series has been in the works for months and was officially confirmed last week after Jude Law was set as the lead actor and HBO boarded as the US partner. The Young Pope is being penned by Umberto Contarello, Stefano Rulli, Tony Grisoni and Paolo Sorrentino, the latter of whom is also set to direct every single episode. Wildside and Haut et Court TV – the French indie behind The Returned (AKA Les Revenants) – are producing, with Lorenzo Mieli, Mario Gianani, John Lyons, Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal executive producing.
“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”, said Jens Richter, CEO of FremantleMedia International. “The series has all of the ingredients to become a hallmark drama and FMI is thrilled to have secured the rights for its catalogue.”
This is the latest project that FMI has secured distribution rights to as part of their recent push into scripted drama. It also marks the second time that the company has handled global sales on a Haut et Court TV produced series, after previously lining up deals for the production company’s US drama series The Returned.
Production on The Young Pope gets underway this Summer in Italy, the United States, Africa and Puerto Rico for a 2016 premiere on HBO in the US and Canal+ in France. Sky Atlantic will are the series in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Germany.