Netflix movie ‘The Pope’ will chronicle the transition from Benedict to Francis

Jonathan Pryce Pope
Apparently, popes are very popular right now — at least among filmmakers. On the heels of HBO’s popular drama series The Young Pope, Netflix has announced an upcoming original movie titled The Pope, per Deadline. Unlike HBO’s series, The Pope will be a nonfiction film chronicling the transition between Pope Benedict XVI and current pontiff Pope Francis, the first pope to be born in the Americas.

Chameleonic Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce, who played the High Sparrow in Game of Thrones, will play Francis, while Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) will portray Benedict. Fernando Meirelles (City of God) will direct from a script written by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything). The film will explore Benedict’s resignation in 2013 — an extremely uncommon event that hadn’t occurred in 600 years — and the subsequent election that saw Francis elevated to the position.

As the Argentine Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio), Pryce will again be playing a religious leader — but one quite different from the nefarious High Sparrow.

The 79-year-old Hopkins will reprise his role as Odin in the forthcoming Thor: Ragnarok, due out November 3. He also plays the key role of Dr. Robert Ford in the hit HBO series Westworld. Meirelles works much more rarely — he hasn’t directed a full-length feature film since 2011’s 360 (which, as it happens, featured both Hopkins and Jude Law, who starred in The Young Pope).

The Pope, which is set to begin filming in November, will allow Netflix to continue to add to its already impressive catalog of original series and movies. Each month, the service builds up its library, ushering out the old and giving viewers new content. Despite the streaming giant’s seeming stranglehold on the industry, Netflix keeps on trying new things, like introducing “choose your own adventure”-style content for kids to enjoy.

Netflix is continually on the hunt for quality content, and The Pope is far from its only new project with big names attached. The platform recently acquired rights to the Coen brothers’ upcoming Western miniseries The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and also threw down some serious bucks in a recent deal to acquire three independent movies featuring such performers as Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) and Melissa Leo (The Fighter).

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