EXCLUSIVE: Add Pope Francis to Netflix’s continually growing TV and movie roster names. The streaming service is moving forward with the feature film The Pope, with Jonathan Pryce tapped to play the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and Anthony Hopkins in talks to play his predecessor Pope Benedict. The film will be directed by City of God helmer Fernando Meirelles, has a script by Anthony McCarten, who wrote The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawking and the upcoming Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. McCarten adapted his stage play. Dan Lin is producing with Jonathan Eirich, and Tracey Seaward. Filming will begin November in Argentina.
The film tells the story of Pope Benedict’s election, and his subsequent resignation from the papacy. That opened the door for Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian Cardinal who became the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas and the first Pope from outside Europe since the 8th Century. The drama conveys his reluctance to take the top post in 2013. His humility and devotion to the poor has made him a galvanizing force for tolerance and change.
Pryce is an intriguing choice to play him. He is coming off Game of Thrones, where he played High Sparrow, the leader of a fictional faith movement, who became more intoxicated with power than piety before his character exited the show last season in rather shocking fashion. He is repped by UTA and Julian Belfrage Associates, LBI Entertainment reps Meirelles and McCarten is repped by ICM Partners. Hopkins is repped by UTA and Independent Talent.