Jude Law Stars as the Chain Smoking, Cynical and Ruthless Pius XIII in HBO’s ‘The Young Pope’

HBO’s ‘The Young Pope’ premieres in the U.S. in 2017.

For those living on the other side of the pond, Christmas has come early. The debut of The Young Pope in Italy and Britain on Sky Atlantic and Canal+ in October has left tongues wagging and waiting for a response from The Vatican. Americans are not going to be left behind, with the show planning for a premiere on HBO on January 15, 2017.

Jude Law Stars as the Chain Smoking, Cynical and Ruthless Pius XIII in HBO’s ‘The Young Pope'[/tweetthis]

Directed by Academy Award winning director Paolo Sorrentino, The Young Pope is a controversial tale of the first American pope, the fictional Pope Pius XIII. With the birth name Lenny Belardo, the young pope is strictly conservative but deeply conflicted as well. He chafes against the Vatican establishment and talks about starting a revolution.

The series is a ten episode show, starring big names such as two time Academy Award Nominee Jude Law as Pius XIII and Academy Award winner Diane Keaton as Sister Mary, a close aide of the young pope and originally from the U.S.A.

Asked about the upcoming series, Sorrentino stated that the show is about, “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 neighbor."

The fictional Pope Pius XIII has been identified as a conservative, chain smoking, cynical and ruthlessly political character with a history as an orphan, abandoned by hippies and raised by nuns. He is 47-years-old. Having already premiered in Britain and Italy, the show has received very positive reviews, with the Catholic Herald commenting about the “mordantly funny story telling.”

The show’s cast includes Silvio Orlando, Scott Shepherd, Cécile de France, Javier Cámara, Ludivine Sagnier, Toni Bertorelli and James Cromwell. The show has been 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.

While in character, Jude Law comments on his character as Pius XIII, “I am a contradiction. Like Mary, virginal mother; like man, good and evil. I’m God.” 


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