Venice Film Fest: Paolo Sorrentino’s 'The Young Pope' to Get World Premiere

The Young Pope Promo Image
Sky, HBO, Wildside

Jude Law stars as the fictional American pope in the TV series.

Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s first TV series, The Young Pope, will get its world premiere Sept. 3 during the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, with the first two episodes to screen out of competition on the Lido. The fest is set to run Aug. 31-Sept.10.

Jude Law stars as the first American pope, described as conservative, melancholy and ruthless, and an expert at playing Vatican politics. Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando, Scott Shepherd, Cecile de France, Javier Camara, Ludivie Sagnier, Tony Bertorelli and James Cromwell also star.

“It is a great pleasure, as well as a privilege, to present at the Venice Film Festival the world premiere of the first two episodes of Paolo Sorrentino’s much-awaited television series,” festival director Alberto Barbera said Saturday in a statement. “He is a filmmaker who dares to take risks, who — fearlessly and with his customary creative and innovative spirit — tackles the language of television series, the new expressive frontier which many filmmakers, primarily foreign, have already tried their hand at. The result will not fail to kindle sincere emotion and, above all, invigorating and boundless surprise.”

Although Sorrentino is now a Cannes mainstay, he launched his career in Venice with his 2001 film One Man Up, starring Toni Servillo and Andrea Renzi.

“It is an honor for me to return to Venice. I was here with my first film and now I’m returning with my first television series,” said Sorrentino of the announcement. “Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I prefer to think that, today like back then, the festival is daring to choose. Fifteen years ago, it did so by selecting a young director’s first movie; this year by reaffirming its open-mindedness toward television, recognizing the role that series play in the evolution of visual communication.”

This is not the first time Venice has launched a TV series with a prestigious pedigree. HBO series Olive Kitteridge and Mildred Pierce also premiered on the Lido.

The Young Pope was produced by Sky, HBO and Canal+ and will debut in October across Sky Atlantic in five countries (Italy, the U.K., Germany, Ireland and Austria) and in France on Canal+. The series will air on HBO in the U.S., but a premiere date has not yet been announced.