The Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, winner of this year’s foreign-language Oscar for The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), announced that he is co-writing with Umberto Contrarello and Stefano Rulli the screenplay for a TV series about a fictional Italian-American Pope, which he will also direct. Suddenly famous for his Oscar, Sorrentino, who received many other awards, has previously directed seven movies and 10 shorts, was the screenwriter for the movie Polvere di Napoli and the TV series La squadra, and is the author of the novel Everybody’s Right (Hanno tutti ragione, Europa Editions, 2011)
With the working title The Young Pope, the eight-episode TV series will be co-produced by Wildside, an Italian production company, and Sky Italia pay TV, which will put the show in their programming in Italy; the executive producer will be John Lyons, the former president of production at Focus Features.
Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani, founders of Wildside, declared: “The series is about dreams, fears, conflicts, battles, the search for meaning and the need for love of a pope, seen through the prism of Sorrentino’s unique vision capable of creating worlds that are at the same incredible and more real than reality itself.”
Andrea Scrosati, executive vice president of programming at Sky Italia, related to Il Corriere della Sera: “We are elated that the director who just won an Oscar for Italy after a 15-year dry spell has chosen Sky for his new project, his first for TV.”