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Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s first-ever TV show, The Young Pope, a production of HBO, Sky and Canal Plus starring Jude Law, has a second season in the works ahead of the first season’s international release. Wildside producer Lorenzo Mieli announced the news Thursday at the series’ Rome premiere.
The show debuts on Sky Italia, Germany and Austria on its Sky Atlantic channel on Friday. It will also air on Canal Plus beginning Monday, on Sky Atlantic in the U.K. and Ireland starting on Oct. 27 and on HBO in the U.S. early next year.
Just as with season one, Italian company Wildside is currently developing the second season, and will take it to partners HBO, Sky and Canal Plus for co-financing as soon as Sorrentino finishes the script.
“We are of course hoping to do it,” said Sky Italia chief of content Andrea Scrosati, “but nothing is signed yet.”
The first two episodes of the 10-part series premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September to rave reviews. Law stars as the fictional first American pope, an outrageously conservative figurehead who seems hell-bent on turning the world of the Vatican upside down. Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando and James Cromwell also star.
The show, which features a chain-smoking, irrational pope with an unconventional approach to religion, created early buzz out of Venice. “I’m sure someone somewhere is going to be offended by it, but that’s what storytelling is about. Opening discussions, openly, freely and diplomatically … I’m all for that,” said Law in a recent interview with Radio Times.
Sorrentino said in Venice his goal was to tackle the topic with curiosity rather than to provoke, adding that the protagonist is the opposite of Pope Francis, which was not accidental. “It’s possible that after a very liberal pope, there is someone that might have very different ideas. I think it’s an illusion that the church has a long-term idea towards modernity,” he said at the time. The show worked with consultants from the Catholic Church throughout the production process for season one.
The first season had a budget of approximately $45 million, making it Italy’s most expensive TV production ever. FremantleMedia sold the series globally in more than 80 countries. The Young Pope was produced by Wildside and co-produced by Haut et Court TV and Mediapro.
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi recently told The Hollywood Reporter that he was a big fan of the show, which is seen as representing the original production boom in Italian television.
The busy Sorrentino also has announced his next film project, a feature on Italy’s former prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi.
Oct. 20, 9:45 a.m.: Updated with statement from Sky Italia.
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