It’s official: Jude Law will become the latest A-lister to head to the small screen, with news that he’s signed on to topline Paolo Sorrentino’s first-ever television series The Young Pope. Confirmation of Law’s involvement coincides with HBO picking up the show for broadcast in the U.S.
Law will portray a fictional American pope named Lenny Belardo who, upon being selected as the next leader of the Catholic Church, reveals himself to be the most conservative one in the history of the faith. Even the Vatican’s most prominent figures are not prepared for many of the hard-line policies Belardo sets out to implement. The series will take place in both the U.S. and the Vatican. Its timing is intriguing, given that the real-life Pope Francis is widely considered to be one of the most modern and liberal leaders the Church has had in many years.
Sorrentino, the Italian filmmaking ace behind The Great Beauty and This Must Be the Place, will direct all eight episodes of the limited series, which he also wrote alongside Tony Grisoni, Umberto Contarello and Stefano Rulli. If the director brings the same gorgeous visual eye, clear ambition and measured pace to The Young Pope that he did to The Great Beauty, we could be looking at one of the most exciting television projects to come down the line in many a year.
Law’s casting and HBO’s involvements are two extra shots of credibility for the series. The actor is garnering Oscar buzz for his performance as Thomas Wolfe in the upcoming prestige pic Genius, and he’s expected to bounce back into the public eye with a role in this summer’s Spy. A juicy role on an HBO series like The Young Pope is sure to increase his star power even further.