Neil Jordan And Jeremy Irons Team Up For Showtime's The Borgias

Showtime is going to make Neil Jordan's dreams come true. The filmmaker has toyed with projects involving the history of Renaissance family the Borgias for some time, and now Showtime has ordered a series for which Jordan will be executive producer. The Borgias will star Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, and Jordan will direct the first two episodes.

Variety reports on the show order, but doesn't offer too much context. When it says that Irons will be "Rodrigo Borgia, the patriarch of the powerful Renaissance family," I'm left to surmise that he'll be the same Rodrigo who became Pope Alexander IV in 1492. The figure has been the object of several dramatic takes in the past. Mario Puzo recreated him in the novel The Family; Alejandro Jodorowski told Borgia tales in a comic serial; and a not terribly successful BBC series The Borgias told of Rodrigo Borgia's history before he became pope.

That's likely the time period Jordan's series will dwell in as well, though some of the best tales of Rodrigo Borgia are from after his ascension to the papacy. The role should be fantastic for Irons, as Borgia was famously a ravenous power collector. He was also reportedly involved in poisoning (lurid reports suggest his death was actually caused by a mistaken application of his own poison) and the broad seizure of assets from his rivals, which often resulted in said rivals being jailed and/or killed. Some of the stories are likely serious exaggerations, but the point is clear: a power-hungry Renaissance family could make for excellent, frothy television. With Irons as the main man, I want to see where this goes.

Hopefully the depiction of a less than savory Pope will draw a bit of controversy, and consequently attention. If the Vatican doesn't like Avatar, what will it think of this?