July 28, 2015 – Academy Award® winner Diane Keaton joins two-time Academy Award®nominee Jude Law in THE YOUNG POPE, the eight-episode drama series from Paolo Sorrentino, director of the Academy Award®-winning film “The Great Beauty,” as well as the upcoming “Youth.” Keaton stars as Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City. Law is set for the lead role as PIUS XIII, formerly known as Lenny Belardo.
Production on the series, which is a joint production of Sky, HBO and Canal +, begins this week. All eight episodes will be directed by Sorrentino. Additional casting will be announced soon.
Diane Keaton has established herself as a versatile, award-winning actress, accomplished director, producer and bestselling author. As an actress, her films include “The Godfather Trilogy,” “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” “Annie Hall,” “Baby Boom,” “Father of the Bride” and “The First Wives Club.” She received an Academy Award® for Best Actress for “Annie Hall” and Academy Award®nominations for “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Reds” and “Marvin’s Room.”
Among Keaton’s directorial credits are the documentary “Heaven,” the feature films “Unstrung Heroes” and “Hanging Up,” the TV pilot for “Pasadena” and an episode of “China Beach.”
As a producer, she worked with Gus Van Sant on HBO Films’ “Elephant,” which won the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Keaton starred in and executive produced the Lifetime TV movie “On Thin Ice,” for which she won a Prism Award for her performance.
An accomplished, two-time New York Times bestselling author, Keaton has published many books, including “Clown Paintings,” “Local News: Tabloid Pictures from The Los Angeles Herald Express 1936-1961,” “California Romantica,” “House,” “Then Again,” Keaton’s touching memoir and love letter to her mother Dorothy, and her latest bestseller, “Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty.”
THE YOUNG POPE tells the controversial story of the beginning of PIUS XIII’s 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. He is, however, not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.
Describing the series, Paolo Sorrentino said, “The clear signs of God’s existence. The clear signs of God’s absence. How faith can be searched for and lost. The greatness of holiness, so great as to be unbearable when you are fighting temptations and when all you can do is to yield to them. 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. Finally, 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.”
The series is being produced by Wildside, and co-produced by Haut et Court TV and MEDIAPRO. Executive producers for Wildside are Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani together with John Lyons. Executive producers for Haut et Court TV are Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal.
THE YOUNG POPE is a major co-production for HBO and the newly merged Sky, representing the unique opportunity these pay-television platforms offer the creative community worldwide.