the young pope trailer

If you’ve been watching Westworld for the past six weeks, you’ve surely become familiar with the trailers for The Young Pope, Paolo Sorrentino‘s upcoming limited series about the first American Pope (played by Jude Law) and the eccentric machinations he brings to the Vatican. It doesn’t look like an easy sell and there’s no instantly identifiable hook, which is one of the reasons why I’m so interested in checking out. The new trailer, which is full of all kinds of Jude Law weirdness, only deepens my interest.

The Young Pope was created by Sorrentino, who also directed all 10 episodes (a rarity in American television). Although not a household name, he’s an established talent on the international stage, having written and directed films like Il Divo and The Consequences of Love. His 2013 film The Great Beauty won the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. His English-language debut, This Must Be the Place, is about an aging, Nazi-hunting rock star played by Sean Penn and it’s the kind of uniquely awful trainwreck that only a genuine talent could conjure.

Of course, the main draw here is Jude Law, an excellent actor who rarely finds himself matched with material that really lets him really strut his stuff. But here, he’s playing a charismatic, manipulative, and possibly deranged young Pope, which may very well be the Jude Law performance I’ve been waiting for. The great Diane Keaton offers back-up as his secretary, the nun who raised him in an orphanage and has guided him throughout his career.

The Young Pope Trailer

This looks so odd and unusual and utterly unlike anything else airing on HBO at the moment. I have no idea where this thing is going to go, but I do know that the history of the Papacy is not for the faint of heart and contains characters and developments that make Game of Thrones look mild and level-headed. If Jude Law’s Pope Pius XIII really wants to bring things back to the basics, things could get ugly.

The Young Pope has been airing in select European territories since October, but it will premiere on HBO on January 15, 2017. You can watch the first trailer right over here. Here’s the official synopsis:

The Young Pope tells the story of Lenny Belardo, alias Pius XIII, the first American Pope. Young and charming, his election seems to be the result of a simple yet effective media strategy on the part of the College of Cardinals. But appearances can be deceptive. Above all, in the place and among the people who have chosen the great mystery of God as the compass guiding their existence. That place is the Vatican and those people are the leaders of the Church. And Pius XIII proves to be the most mysterious and contradictory of them all. Shrewd and naïve, ironical and pedantic, primeval and cutting-edge, doubting and resolute, melancholy and ruthless, Pius XIII tries to cross the endless river of human solitude to find a God he can give to mankind. And to himself.

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