(RNS) Will ‘Pope Lenny’ be a hit drama? Or a hilarious disappointment?
Watch the first trailer for the ballyhooed new series, “The Young Pope,” and your reaction will likely be one or the other.
There doesn’t seem to be much room in between.
To summarize: actor Jude Law plays Lenny Belardo, the first American ever to be elected pope. (Well, as long as you don’t count Latin America, where the current pontiff hails from.)
More to the point, perhaps, he is apparently the youngest and hunkiest pope ever elected. And judging from the trailer, he spends more time contemplating the theology of himself than he does praying.
“Who are you, Lenny?” asks an off-camera voice.
“I am a contradiction,” the young pope responds, with more menace in his voice than you would expect in a Roman pontiff since, well, the Borgias ran the Vatican in the Renaissance.
“Like God,” Lenny continues, as he takes another sensuous drag on his cigarette. “One-in-three. Three-in-one. Like Mary, virgin and mother.”
“Like man. Good and evil.”
Well, yes, aren’t we all.
Pope Pius XIII also promises “revolution,” which is what some say Pope Francis is already doing in Rome. “The Young Pope,” however, seems to revolve in a different direction.
The series is directed by Oscar-winner Paolo Sorrentino and also stars Diane Keaton as Sister Mary, a nun who raised Lenny and helps him become pope.
The eight-part series will premier in Europe in October and on HBO at a date to be determined.