At the Venice press conference today for The New Pope, HBO’s follow-up to Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope (and not to be confused with Netflix’s upcoming and unrelated feature The Two Popes, which just premiered at Telluride) Jude Law confessed that he’d been given, for one scene, the smallest costume he’d ever worn: a single napkin.
In Episodes 2 and 7, which were screened on the Lido, Law appears in a swimming costume that leaves little to the imagination. “You’d be surprised to know those swimming trunks weren’t the smallest costume,” the actor laughed. “I asked the costumier, one day, what I would be wearing, and he lifted up a tiny piece of material. I have a photo of it because it was truly the smallest costume I have ever been given.”
Of the nudity in the series, Sorrentino joked, “You’ve only seen two episodes, the nudity is very well distributed throughout the series. There is a lot of equality in the nudity, often women and men. And, of course, animals.”
Just as with The Young Pope, Sorrentino’s new series will deliver a swaggering Bishop of Rome, but this time it will also introduce a second Pontiff, played by John Malkovich. “I play the new new Pope,” Malkovich noted. “Paolo is unique among filmmakers because he has such a great sense of geography, of putting characters in a geography. He’s an excellent writer and I think this series addresses people’s cravings for something spiritual and that they could believe in.”
Law recalled being pitched the idea for this second season by Sorrentino when they were in Venice with the first series. “At that time, it seemed impossible that Lenny Belardo could go any further than we’d taken him. Realizing that idea has been wonderful.”
Added Executive Vice President, HBO Drama Programming, Francesca Orsi, “There is nothing that Paolo touches that is not a masterpiece. There’s no one we trust more implicitly than Paolo.”
Both Law and Malkovich were asked about plans for retirement, and both were determined it wasn’t on the cards for them. Said Malkovich: “I think when it’s time to retire you’ll be retired. I’m not Frank Sinatra, I don’t have to announce a retirement.”