Sky, HBO and Canal+ are adding to the cast of their co-production The Young Pope. Emmy Award winning actor James Cromwell has been tapped for a starring role in the eight episode miniseries, which hails from creator Paul Sorrentino and is being toplined by Jude Law. Cromwell will play Cardinal Michael Spencer, the new Pope’s mentor.
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.
This marks the latest major television role for James Cromwell, following his recent turn on the first season of Steven Bochco’s TNT drama Murder In The First playing a high-profile defense attorney. His other notable TV credits include 24, Halt & Catch Fire, Betrayal, American Horror Story and Boardwalk Empire. Cromwell joins a cast on The Young Pope that, in addition to Jude Law, also includes Academy Award winner Diane Keaton, who plays Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City.
Other cast additions to the eight episode drama include Scott Shepherd as Cardinal Dussolier; Cécile de France as Sofia, who is in charge of marketing in the Vatican City; Javier Cámara as Cardinal Gutierrez, the Master of Ceremonies of the Vatican City; Ludivine Sagnier as Esther, the wife of a Swiss guard; and Toni Bertorelli as Cardinal Caltanissetta. Guy Boyd, Andre Gregory, Sebastian Roché, Marcello Romolo, Ignazio Oliva, Vladimir Bibic and Nadie Kammalaweera also star.
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 miniseries began production last week and is expected to air on Sky, HBO and Canal+ in 2016.