He has been one of the most wanted men for television series for the past two years. After passing on dozens of pilots, Kyle Chandler has finally picked his follow-up to Friday Night Lights, which won him an Emmy. Chandler is set as the lead in Vatican, Showtime‘s high-profile drama pilot from Oscar nominees Paul Attanasio and Ridley Scott. Also joining the pilot, written by Attanasio and to be directed by Scott in his pilot directing debut, is German actor Sebastian Koch (The Lives Of Others). They join previously cast Matthew Goode. Vatican reunites Chandler with Showtime entertainment president David Nevins, who as president of Imagine TV executive produced the critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights.
Said to evoke The Sopranos and Upstairs, Downstairs, Vatican is described as a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. Chandler will play Cardinal Thomas Duffy, the charismatic yet enigmatic Archbishop of New York, whose progressive leanings (he has ordained a woman) excite some and alarm others within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Koch will play Cardinal Marco Malerba, the Vatican’s Secretary of State who is informally known as the “dark prince of the Curia” for his proven abilities to ruthlessly wield power within the Church hierarchy. Goode plays Papal Secretary Bernd Koch. “Kyle Chandler is one of the most talented and sought-after actors working today, and was a fantastic creative partner through five seasons of Friday Night Lights,” said Nevins. “With Kyle, Matthew Goode and Sebastian Koch, Ridley and Paul have put together a powerhouse cast to anchor this incredibly timely show.” The Vatican, produced by Sony Pictures TV in association with Showtime and Scott Free, is set to begin production in April.
Since Friday Night Lights ended its run, Chandler has been focused on features. He is in two films nominated for Best Picture: Argo and Zero Dark Thirty; he shared in Argo‘s best ensemble cast win at the SAG Awards last month. This year, he was out in Broken City and also co-stars in the upcoming The Wolf Of Wall Street and the untitled Terrence Malick project. Chandler is with Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment. Koch is currently seen in A Good Day To Die Hard.