As Deadline first reported two months ago, Jude Law has now been confirmed for Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope. The long-rumoured casting comes as the eight part series is confirmed as three way co-production between HBO, Sky and Canal +.

The project tells the story of the beginning of the Pontificate of Pius XIII, born Lenny Belardo (Law). He was a complex and conflicted character, so conservative in his choices as to border on obscurantism, yet full of compassion towards the weak and poor. This Pope is a man of great power who’s stubbornly resistant to the Vatican courtiers, unconcerned with the implications for his authority. During the series, Belardo will face losing those closest to him and the constant fear of being abandoned, even by his God. A man who is, however, not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.

Wildside is producing, with Haut et Court co-producing. Exec producers for Wildside are Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani together with John Lyons. Exec producers for Haut et Court TV are Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal.

Production on The Young Pope will begin this summer and continue through early 2016.  The series will film predominantly in Italy with additional locations to include the United States, Africa and Puerto Rico. 

”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. That is what The Young Pope is about,” commented Paolo Sorrentino in a statement.

Sorrentino’s Youth is playing in competition in Cannes. Deadline exclusively revealed Sony Pictures Classics had acquired North American rights. Sorrentino’s previous film The Great Beauty won the Best Foreign Language Academy Award.

Law is repped by Julian Belfrage Associates in the UK and WME in the U.S.