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One of Venice’s biggest launches this year was surprisingly not a film, but rather a preview of the much-anticipated TV show The Young Pope. Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino launched the first two episodes of the 10-part series to almost universal acclaim. Audiences fell hard for the Vatican world as imagined by Sorrentino and are eagerly anticipating the series.
The show stars Jude Law as a conservative, politically conniving pope and will premiere on Sky and Canal Plus in October and HBO in 2017. The Young Pope will have a global rollout across countries with rights outside of partner territories sold by FremantleMedia.
The busy director is already writing his next project, which will be a feature film on Italy’s controversial former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Sorrentino confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Politics are one of Sorrentino’s strongest topics of exploration onscreen, as evidenced by The Young Pope and earlier works including 2008’s Il Divo, about the life of Giulio Andreotti, Italy’s leader of the Christian Democracy party and seven-time prime minister. In addition to sweeping Italy’s David di Donatello awards, Il Divo won the jury prize in Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar for best achievement in makeup.
Berlusconi, who is turning 80 and recently recovered from a heart attack, has been quietly retreating from the public spotlight after selling off parts of his media empire as well as his beloved AC Milan team. After decades of scandals from tax evasion to the infamous Bunga Bunga parties, his party Forza Italia is now struggling to remain relevant in a changing Italy.
The new film is expected be a nuance entry into Berlusconi’s world through the eyes of Sorrentino, without being an all-out critique. Berlusconi’s company Medusa co-financed most of the director’s recent films, including the Oscar-winning The Great Beauty (2013).
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