Diane Keaton (The Godfather) has signed on to co-star opposite Jude Law in the Young Pope, the eight episode miniseries from creator Paul Sorrentino which is a co-production between Sky, HBO and French broadcaster Canal+.
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.
Keaton will play Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City. The Young Pope marks a rare television role for the Academy Award winner, who has had a very active career on the feature side. The project also brings Keaton back to the HBO fold after she toplined their pilot Tilda, which told the story of a relentless and well connected Hollywood blogger named Tilda Watski, who was based on real life Deadline founder Nikki Finke. HBO passed on the project in 2011.
Series creator Paul Sorrentino has described the series as exploring “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” and “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”, he added.
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 series is expected to premiere in 2016.