James Cromwell Joins Sky, HBO Series 'The Young Pope'

James Cromwell Horizontal - H 2014
AP Images

James Cromwell Horizontal - H 2014

The eight-episode show from Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino started shooting this week in Rome.

Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope has completed its casting with international names filling out roles in the Vatican-set TV show.

The eight-episode series, which started shooting this week in Rome, is a joint production of Sky, HBO and Canal Plus. The Young Pope imagines a highly conservative, controversial American taking the role of the leader of the Catholic Church.

As previously announced, Jude Law will play American Pope Pius XIII, born Lenny Belardo, while Diane Keaton will play Sister Mary.

James Cromwell is set to play Cardinal Michael Spencer, mentor to the Pope, the show producers said Tuesday. Swimming Pool actress Ludivine Sagnier will play Esther, the wife of a Swiss Guard.

Meanwhile, Neapolitan actor Silvio Orlando will play Cardinal Voiello, the Secretary of State, and Scott Shepherd will portray the South American Cardinal Dussolier.

In other casting news announced on Tuesday, Belgian actress Cecile de France will play the Vatican’s head of marketing, Javier Camara will appear as the Vatican’s Master of Ceremonies Cardinal Gutierrez, and Toni Bertorelli will play Cardinal Caltanissetta.

Sorrentino described the series as tackling "the clear signs of God’s existence" and "the clear signs of God’s absence." He also said the show was about "how faith can be searched for and lost. The greatness of holiness, so great as to be unbearable when you are fighting temptations and when all you can do is to yield to them. The inner struggle between the huge responsibility of the Head of the Catholic Church and the miseries of the simple man that fate (or the Holy Spirit) chose as Pontiff. Finally, how to handle and manipulate power in a state whose dogma and moral imperative is the renunciation of power and selfless love towards one’s neighbor."

Wildside, which recently launched 1992 for Sky, is producing the series.