Big news for fans of Jude Law slowly opening and closing his eyes.
Eight-part series 'The Young Pope' – coming to British screens in October and the US next February – sees Law playing Lenny Belardo, a young American cardinal unexpectedly elevated to the Papacy. With the nun that raised him (Diane Keaton) acting as his closest advisor, Belardo's sudden ascent isn't exactly welcomed by rivals in the Vatican.
But having seen early episodes at Venice Film Festival, we can reveal it's not quite a simple tale of a youthful moderniser taking on a fusty, insular establishment. Instead, as Lenny becomes Pius XIII, there are hints his own instincts might be less than pure. He lurks in the shadows during a ferocious speech to the faithful, imperiously demands Coke Zero for breakfast, and quite frankly has a touch of the dangerous megalomaniac. It's 'House of Cards' with a touch of 'King Ralph'.
Visually, Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino (of 'The Great Beauty' ★★★★★ and 'Youth' ★★★☆☆) gives the papal proceedings the feel of a grotesque carnival – with flashy camera movements, wild animals wandering through the Vatican, a dream sequence of the Pope crawling over dead babies... and nuns playing basketball. It's the pontiff like you've never seen him before.
'The Young Pope' premieres on Sky Atlantic on October 27 – watch the trailer below.
The early episodes were previewed by Dave Calhoun.