A while back, Flavorwire excitedly (it was me; I was excited) wrote about Diane Keaton getting cast in Paolo Sorrentino’s upcoming TV series from Canal Plus, HBO and Sky. Now, the first full trailer for the series — titled The Young Pope — is out, and it looks at once exquisite and ridiculous and definitely worth the premature excitement.
The trailer follows Jude Law as the titular young man of the cloth/Papal headgear, as his smoking, his suspicion-inducing looks, and the weight with which he says, “I don’t have any sins to confess,” suggest that he’s using his papacy as part of some kind of scheme. He may even be scheming world domination, as he fancies himself an omnipotent “God,” and when asked who he is, merely replies, “everything.”
(Otherwise, exactly what he’s scheming, we’re not really sure — though he dramatically closes the trailer with the word “Revolution,” and though he taunts some rival with the promise that he intends to wage war against him.) As Pope Pius XIII, Law’s Pope character embodies three firsts for the papacy: he’s the youngest ever Pope, the first American Pope (though Jude Law’s wavering American accent may lead you to question that), and to my knowledge the only Pope ever to have formerly been a robotic sex worker in Stephen Spielberg’s A.I. He also may, from the look of what happens to a line of church pews, have some telekinetic powers? Which presumably would also be a first. The Hollywood Reporter says of the character, “Law’s Pope Pius XIII is a demanding, authoritarian figure who aims to put the fear of God back into the people while isolating all those around him,” and Sorrentino has spoken of him being pretty oppositional to a figure like Pope Francis. Keaton plays an American nun who also resides in the Vatican, and who brought Law’s character up and helped sculpt him into the scary young man he seems to be.
With the gorgeousness of the filming, the trailer starts to rise to such self-serious heights as to become funny, but for anyone who’s seen Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, you know that treating anachronistic traditions with overwrought, hollow beauty is part of the director’s investigation of them. The trailer verges on campy, but it’s kind of perfect.
Sorrentino is quoted in Variety, speaking of the project at a press conference at the Venice Film Festival, where the first two episodes of the 10-episode series screened: “It doesn’t want to display any form of prejudice or intolerance,” he says. “Rather it probes with honesty and curiosity within the constraints of 10 episodes, the contradictions and the difficulties, and also the fascinating aspects, of the clergy.”
Watch the trailer (a British red-band trailer) below: