HBO’s new miniseries, The Young Pope, portrays the fictional Catholic leader as a lustful (possibly bisexual) narcissist whose self-serving reign over the Vatican proves ever-more controversial with each episode, according to early reviews.
Through ten episodes, the Paolo Sorrentino-directed Vatican fantasy follows Pope Pius XIII Lenny Belardo (Jude Law), who, at 47, becomes the first American Pope in history.
Pius, according to a Hollywood Reporter review of the first two episodes at the Venice Film Festival, is depicted as “arrogant, whimsical and hilariously destructive,” and “comes off as a borderline anti-Christ not only in his power-mad dreams, but in all his dealings with the cardinals and the Curia.”
His Holiness, according to the THR review, “is so unpredictable he could swing either way.” In an unguarded moment, the Pope also admits that “he personally doesn’t believe in God.”
Chock-full of bareknuckle political beefs, the Pope is seen settling scores with rival cardinals — forcing one out on the accusation of homosexuality.
Pope Pius’ arch nemesis, Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), the Vatican’s the Secretary of State, is described as having, “sexual fantasies.”
In what is sure to offend perhaps a great many Catholics who might happen upon it, The Young Pope pushes the limits with its portrayal of the papacy — leaving one to imagine if such an outrageously offensive mocking of, say, Islam would be as eagerly paraded to wide audiences.
The Young Pope also stars Diane Keaton, who plays Sister Mary, an American nun living in Vatican City, as well as Silvio Orlando, Scott Shepherd, Cécile de France, Javier Cámara, Ludivine Sagnier, Toni Bertorelli and James Cromwell.
The Young Pope will premiere sometime in 2016 on HBO in the United States and on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany.