New Zealand-born screenwriter Anthony McCarten is best known for his work on biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody, Darkest Hour, and The Theory of Everything. So, it came as no surprise when the BAFTA-winner was hired in 2017 to pen the script for a biographical Netflix film tentatively called The Pope – later to become The Two Popes.
Inspired by true events, this surprisingly funny chamber piece takes an intimate look at a historic turning point in the Catholic Church. Academy Award-nominee Fernando Meirelles (City of God and The Constant Gardener) directs Anthony Hopkins as the traditionalist Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce as the reformist incoming Pope Francis.
In 2013, these two very different leaders came together, putting their differences aside to debate the best path forward for the Catholic Church. Netflix calls this “one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years.”
Before you watch the teaser trailer, here’s the official synopsis:
“From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award-nominated director of “City of God,” and three-time Academy Award nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.”
Also starring Sidney Cole as Cardinal Peter Turkson, Lisandro Fiks as Father Franz Jalics, and Maria Ucedo as Esther Ballestrine, among others, The Two Popes has its world premiere at this weekend’s Telluride Film Festival and screens later at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The movie will be in select cinemas on November 27th in the US, November 29th in the UK, and on Netflix December 20th. Watch the teaser trailer below.
The Two Popes Trailer
Steven is a Scottish freelance Film & TV Journalist based in London. He earned a BA in Journalism from Edinburgh Napier University before moving onto ghost-and content-writing. Steven now covers Film & TV for various websites.