Jude Law is neither saintly nor American, and yet he’ll be playing both in HBO’s upcoming mini-series, The Young Pope. Directed by Oscar-winner Paolo Sorrentino (Youth), The Young Pope tells the story of the fictional American Lenny Belardo, who becomes Pope Pius XIII. To say the least, he struggles.
The struggles (he smokes cigarettes!) are not evident in this teaser, however, as it mostly involves Jude Law posing in several very pope-ly positions while a somber, serious voiceover that talks briefly of good and evil. Rather, the struggles are revealed in a statement released by the Sky network, which is developing this along with HBO and Canal Plus. It reads:
Shrewd and naïve, old-fashioned and very modern, doubtful and resolute, ironic, pedantic, hurt and ruthless, Pius XIII tries to walk the long path of human loneliness to find a God for mankind. And for himself.
In addition to Law, the series will star Diane Keaton as a nun, James Cromwell as Lenny’s mentor, as well as Silvio Orlando, Sebastian Roché, and plenty of other international actors. It’ll be interesting to see how this show, created by an Italian and starring a British actor and about an American transitioning to the position of power within Rome, deals with perceptions of Americans as well as perceptions of modernity and conservatism within the Church, especially at a time when the politics within both of those establishments — the U.S., the Vatican — seem to be in such flux.
Watch the trailer below. The Young Pope is expected to air on HBO, Canal Plus, and Sky’s Sky Atlantic network later this year, beginning in Europe this October. (U.S. airdates will probably be soon after.)