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Pope Francis the Subject of Two In-Production Film Projects (Report)

Pope Francis I Balcony - H 2013
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Pope Francis

The films, from Argentina and Germany, respectively, will recount different periods of the new pope's life.

ROME -- Pope Francis, the wildly popular pontiff who became the spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics six months ago after stunning retirement of Benedict XVI, is the subject of at least two major motion pictures, Italian newspapers said Thursday.

Writer and director Alejandro Agresti, from Francis' native Argentina, is reported to be at work on a film tentatively called Historia de un cura (History of a Priest). It purportedly features actor Rodrigo de la Serna -- best known for his role opposite Gael Garcia Bernal in Walter Salles' Ernest "Che" Guevara 2004 biopic The Motorcycle Diaries -- playing a young Jorge Bergoglio, the man who became Pope Francis.

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And writer and producer Christian Peschken, from Benedict's native Germany, is reported to be at work on a $34 million production with the working title Friend of the Poor.

All this is taking place as Ridley Scott is winding down his TV movie project The Vatican, also set in Rome but not directly connected to Pope Francis. The film stars Bruno Ganz as the pope.

Francis was selected as pope in March after benedict became the first pontiff since 1415 to voluntarily step down.

Agresti, who is probably best known for his 2006 romantic drama The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, won the City of Rome honor at the Venice Film Festival for his 2004 drama Todo el Bien del Mundo (A Less Bad World). Peschken, meanwhile, has produced 11 films, mostly TV movies, over a 15-year career.

The Vatican press office had no comment about the two new projects.

Twitter: @EricJLyman