Jude Law stars as the titular brooding, cigarette-smoking, Italian American pontiff in the first trailer for The Young Pope. The speculative eight-episode series from Oscar-winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino follows Law as he goes from Lenny Belardo, a conservative cardinal, to Pius XIII, a pope elected to combat what is perceived as “rampant liberalism” in the church. Diane Keaton co-stars as an American nun living in Vatican City.
Sorrentino, who won an Academy Award in 2013 for The Great Beauty, has described the series as an exploration of “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.” But from the trailer, Law seems more like a man on a mission than a person conflicted about the responsibilities of his office. While a pope from the United States is a stretch, the idea of electing a radically conservative one to combat Catholic liberalism seems eerily plausible when you consider the direction in which Pope Francis has taken the office.
HBO will air the show in the U.S. but has yet to set a release date. The Young Pope will premiere in Italy in October.