Everything you need to know about the director of HBO’s new limited series The Young Pope, and what to watch while you wait for the premiere.
Set in present-day Vatican City, The Young Pope follows the turbulent papacy of Lenny Belardo, the Catholic Church’s first American pope—and a polarizing one to boot. Starring Jude Law as the fictional pontiff, the limited series welcomes director Paolo Sorrentino to the small screen. Get to know the Italian visionary before he turns TV topsy-turvy.
Who is he?
A Naples native, Sorrentino is revered as Italy’s modern-day Renaissance man. In an international market dominated by blockbuster genre adaptations, Sorrentino focuses on narrative: What’s a story we haven’t heard yet? How about one featuring a 40-something American pope? Certo!
What else has he done?
Sorrentino’s first English-language film, 2011’s This Must Be the Place, stars Sean Penn as a retired rock star determined to track down his late father’s Nazi torturer. (Talk about an elevator pitch.) The director’s bold storytelling and even bolder aesthetic style helped garner him buzz with international audiences.
His major break, however, came two years later with The Great Beauty: a visually intoxicating chronicle of one man’s rise to the top of Rome’s nightlife scene—and those he left behind to get there. It earned Sorrentino an Oscar and reestablished Italy—home to icons like Federico Fellini and Bernardo Bertolucci—as a key player in the international filmmaking community.
What can I watch right now?
Youth (2015), Sorrentino’s latest English-language film, starring Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor who gets the career opportunity of a lifetime, is currently streaming on HBO NOW and HBO GO. An Oscar nominee for best original song, and featuring Harvey Keitel, Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano—Youth is a blend of drama, off-beat comedy and sweeping visuals, all set to an opera soundtrack sure to charm even the biggest skeptics.
Stream Youth on HBO NOW and HBO GO; The Young Pope airs in 2017.