Jude Law is set to star in THE YOUNG POPE, a new limited series debuting on HBO in January. Law is Lenny Belardo, aka Pius XIII, is the first American Pope in history. The College of Cardinals executive a simple but effective media strategy to get him elected, but the new Pope proves himself to be mysterious and contradictory.
The first part of the ten-episode limited drama series debuts Sunday, January 15 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), and the second part the next night, Monday, January (9:00-10:00 p.m.), followed by other episodes subsequent Sundays and Mondays at the same time, exclusively on HBO.
The cast also includes Silvio Orlando as Cardinal Angelo Voiello, the Vatican’s Secretary of State; Scott Shepherd as Cardinal Andrew Dussolier, Lenny’s best friend and a fellow orphan-turned-cardinal; Cécile de France as Sofia Dubois, the Vatican’s director of marketing and communications; Javier Cámara as Monsignor Bernardo Alonso Gutierrez, the Spanish-born master of ceremonies of the Vatican; Ludivine Sagnier as Ester Aubry, a chaste beauty with an unshakable faith in God, who is married to a Vatican Swiss Guard; Toni Bertorelli as Cardinal Caltanissetta, who is an expression of the strongest powers and secrets of the Vatican; and James Cromwell as Cardinal Michael Spencer, Lenny’s mentor and one of the most influential cardinals in the Vatican.
Read on below for spoilers from HBO:
Episode #1: “First Episode” (Sunday, January 15)
Newly elected Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), a.k.a. Lenny Belardo, defies expectations as he settles in at the Vatican to begin his reign. The youngest and first American pope in history, Lenny’s ascension was orchestrated by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), who mistakenly believed the young pope would follow his lead on policy and protocol. Instead, Lenny shuns Voiello and tasks his confessor, Don Tommaso (Marcello Romolo), to share details on the private thoughts and motives of those in his inner circle. Meanwhile, as Cardinal Spencer (James Cromwell), Lenny’s onetime mentor, stews about being passed over as pontiff, the new pope flies in Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), who raised him since he was delivered to an orphanage at seven, to serve as his chief advisor. While Sister Mary urges Lenny to put aside dark memories and focus on leading his billion followers, the young pope shows no inclination towards making himself available, either to the College of Cardinals or to the masses.
Episode #2: “Second Episode” (Monday, January 16)
Sofia (Cécile De France), the Vatican’s marketing director, receives a surprise directive as Lenny (Jude Law) prepares for his first public appearance. While the cardinals await an audience with their new pope, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) catches up with Lenny’s childhood friend Andrew Dussolier (Scott Shepherd), another orphan-turned-cardinal. Lenny reaches out to Cardinal Spencer (James Cromwell) to take over a high Vatican post, but the meeting doesn’t go as he hoped. Ester (Ludivine Sagnier), wife of a Swiss Guardsman, eagerly joins the throng of followers in St. Peter’s Square on the night of Lenny’s first public homily as Pope Pius XIII.
Episode #3: “Third Episode” (Sunday, January 22)
Baffled by the pope’s intentions and desperate to retain control in the Vatican, Voiello (Silvio Orlando) considers his options in the face of public reaction to Lenny’s (Jude Law) speech. In a press conference, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) outlines the pope’s policy towards questions and concerns from the media. Elder Cardinal Caltanissetta (Toni Bertorelli) enjoins Spencer (James Cromwell) to put his resentment aside and accept Lenny’s offer. Moved by Lenny’s message, Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) is summoned by Valente (Ignazio Oliva), the pope’s aide, to meet her pontiff. Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) finds that his shared confidences with Lenny are jeopardized by a secret.
Episode #4: “Fourth Episode” (Monday, January 23)
Tonino (Franco Pinelli), a rural shepherd, appeals to the Vatican to recognize his miracle-working stigmata. Lenny (Jude Law) councils a nun whose sister is gravely ill in Sri Lanka. Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) is torn by a threat from Voiello (Silvio Orlando) and her devotion to the pope. Lenny makes a bold decision regarding a sex-abuse case in New York, deciding to send an unlikely envoy. A visit from the prime minister of Greenland (Carolina Carlsson) stirs Lenny’s musical sensibilities.
Episode #5: “Fifth Episode” (Sunday, January 29)
Voiello (Silvio Orlando) orchestrates a scandalous scenario designed to cripple the pope. Lenny (Jude Law) decamps with old friend Andrew Dussolier (Scott Shepherd), both in the present and the past. As his ornate papal tiara arrives, Pius XIII decides the time has come to address the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel.
Episode #6: “Sixth Episode” (Monday, January 30)
Nine months after being elected, Lenny (Jude Law) has a testy first meeting with the Italian prime minister (Stefano Accorsi), a progressive at odds with Pius XIII’s uncompromising vision of the church. Newly minted Cardinal Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) reluctantly moves out of the Vatican for his new assignment abroad. After a brief reunion with the faithful in Honduras, Dussolier (Scott Shepherd) assumes his new duties as Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, but is thrown by Lenny’s strict guidelines towards prospective priests. Voiello (Silvio Orlando) is questioned about the disappearance of Tonino (Franco Pinelli), who is looking to break from the church. Ester’s (Ludivine Sagnier) miracle comes true.