Pope Francis has quickly become the most popular and frequently-discussed religious figure in recent memory. And now the head of the Catholic church will be taking his mainstream popularity a step further by making his acting debut in a full-length movie.
According to Variety,Pope Francis has signed on to play himself in an upcoming film titled Beyond the Sun, which is marketed toward religious families. The movie has been described as an adventure film based on the Bible and designed to introduce children to the teachings of Jesus. It will be produced by AMBI Pictures, a distribution company that provides backing to international films. Co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi will help to produce and finance Beyond the Sun.
Pope Francis was approached to make a cameo as himself in the movie and quickly agreed. Some have attributed the Pope’s willingness to become an actor to his recent meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio, which you can read more about here. Regardless of what convinced Pope Francis, the filmmakers are thrilled that he’s on board.
“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words,” said Andrea Iervolino. “This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope.”
“It is a great honor for Andrea and I to have the opportunity to work with His Holiness, Pope Francis, to spread the awareness of his message, through this film,” said Monika Bacardi. “We will make a movie everyone involved with can be proud of. Not only will families from around globe enjoy this film and be entertained, but they will be moved.”
Pope Francis won’t be diving headfirst into his debut acting role without any guidance. Monsignor Eduardo Garcia will reportedly serve as Pope Francis’ adviser when it comes to playing the part.
The screenplay for Beyond the Sun was written by Graciela Rodriguez, who will co-produce the film with Gabriel Leybu. According to Deadline, the movie is intended to “spiritually engage and encourage audiences of all ages to transmit Jesus’ words, to understand them and integrate them to live a better life, make good choices and help others.”
All of the profits made from Beyond the Sun will be given to El Alemendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, Argentinean charities that help children and young adults in need. Iervolino added that the film is very meaningful to AMBI Pictures and the producers are extremely grateful that Pope Francis is lending a hand to the cause.
“This movie will provide funds to support extremely worthwhile causes that we take very seriously. This message and cause are very dear to the entire AMBI family and we are honored and inspired by the level of collaboration from the Vatican.”
The film is scheduled to begin principal photography early this year. Pope Francis won’t have to travel far to make his appearance, because the movie will be shot in Italy.
No other cast members other than Pope Francis have been named to star in Beyond the Sun, and a director has yet to sign on, but it’s going to be hard to beat such an impressive billing with the Pope in the credits.
Will you be seeing Pope Francis in his first official acting role? Are you surprised he signed on to do a film, even if it is a religious movie? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.
[Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images]