Paolo Sorrentino to Direct Naples-Set 'The Hand of God' for Netflix

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Paolo Sorrentino

The film — which the title and location suggests could have a strong link to soccer star Diego Maradona — will see the director shoot in his home city 20 years after his first feature.

Academy Award winner Paulo Sorrentino is set to return to his home city of Naples for the upcoming Netflix feature The Hand of God. 

The film — for which little information is available — is being produced by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle company, and Sorrentino, who will write and direct. 

"I’m excited at the idea of filming in Naples again exactly 20 years after my first film," said Sorrentino, who won the Oscar for best foreign-language film for The Great Beauty in 2014.

"The Hand of God represents for the first time in my career an intimate and personal film, a novel of formation at once lighthearted and painful. I'm delighted to partake in this adventure with producer Lorenzo Mieli, his company The Apartment and Netflix. The mutual understanding between myself and Teresa Moneo, David Kosse and Scott Stuber from Netflix on the meaning of the film was immediate and dazzling. They made me feel at home, an ideal condition, because this is precisely what this film means to me: going back home."

The name and location of the film offers a strong hint that it could be very closely connected to Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona, who famously played for Napoli and earned the nickname "The Hand of God" following a goal scored against England in the 1986 World Cup. Sorrentino has spoken of his personal connection to the player, who was a character in his film Youth and whom he thanked in his Oscars acceptance speech for The Great Beauty. 

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Paolo Sorrentino, so as soon as we were presented with The Hand of God, we knew that we wanted to partner with him and Lorenzo on this project. It's an honor to work with one of the greatest filmmakers in Europe and to bring his incredible story to the world," said Kosse, Netflix's vp international original film.

Stuber, Netflix's head of films, said: “Paolo is an incredible storyteller who has cemented his place on the world cinema stage. The Hand of God is a personal film that is taking him back to Naples, his hometown, and is a beautifully written story in his signature style."

He added: "To build a great film studio, you need great filmmakers from every part of the world, telling stories in all languages. With the majority of our membership outside of the U.S., under David’s leadership, we’ve been growing our international film business over the past year and look forward to bringing Paolo’s story and so many others to a global audience."

Sorrentino is repped by UTA, which negotiated the deal.