Description: Young and charming, newly elected Pius XIII, aka Lenny Belardo, is the first American Pope in history. His ascension appears to be the result of a simple, effective media strategy implemented by the College of Cardinals. In the Vatican, however, the prevailing wisdom is the church’s leaders have chosen a mysterious figure as their guiding force. And Pius XIII proves to be the most mysterious and contradictory of them all. As Belardo begins his reign, he is stubbornly resistant to the Vatican stewards, instead relying on Sister Mary to serve as his chief adviser. While she urges him to focus on leading his billion followers, the young pope shows little interest in making himself known, either to the College of Cardinals or to the masses. The 10-episode drama series stars Jude Law in the title role and Diane Keaton as Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City.
Creator: Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Jude Law, Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando
- Lead us not into temptation…
- His religion is revolution
- The papal clothes worn by Jude Law in his role as Pope Pius XIII were created by a store which also makes clothing for the real Vatican.
- None of the series was filmed in Vatican City. Almost everything – including the Sistine Chapel and the papal library – was reconstructed at Cinecittà Studios in Rome.
- The first season had a production budget of $45 million, making it the most expensive Italian television production in history.
- The sculpture of Pope John Paul II, which is shown being hit by a meteorite during the opening credits, is a replica of “The Ninth Hour” by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. The original sculpture was sold at auction at Christie’s for $886,000 in 2001.
- Throughout the series, Cardinal Voiello is depicted as a supporter of the Napoli soccer team and a huge fan of star player Gonzalo Higuaín. This detail proved humorous to Italian viewers, as Higuain left Napoli for Juventus a few weeks before the series premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.
- The pictures shown during the opening titles are: ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’ (1622) by Gerard van Honthorst, ‘Delivery of the Keys’ (1482) by Perugino, ‘Conversion on the Way to Damascus’ (1601) by Caravaggio, an icon representing the First Council of Nicaea, ‘Peter the Hermit Riding a White Mule with a Crucifix in His Hand and Circulating Through the Cities and Villages Preaching the Crusade’ (1827-29) by Francesco Hayez, ‘Stigmata of St. Francis’ (ca. 1420) by Gentile da Fabriano, ‘Saint Thomas of Villanova Distributing Alms’ (ca. 1660) by Mateo Cerezo, ‘Michelangelo Presents Paul IV with His Model of St Peter’s’ (1619) by Passignano, and ‘The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre’ (1572) by François Dubois.
- Javier Cámara contacted series creator Paolo Sorrentino personally and asked him for a role, because he is a fan on Sorrentino’s work and had heard that the miniseries had a Spanish speaking role.
- Throughout the series there are groups of three animals (turtles, owls…), recalling the characters that are playing that scene.