Pope Jon for SBS

Jon Voight will appear as Pope John Paul II in a 2 -part dramatisation of the life of the Pope screening on SBS in April.

Voight was nominated for an Emmy for his performance.

The drama also has a solid support cast including James Cromwell and Christopher Lee (pictured).

But you won’t believe who is playing the younger Karol Wojtyla….

Cary Elwes!

That’s right, Mr Princess Bride himself.

Elwes also appeared in the Saw movies.

Screening for two Sundays at 10pm I can see a lot of potential elderly viewers annoyed by the timeslot.

SBS’ Press Release follows:

Shot on location in Krakow, Poland and in Italy, the two-part mini-series, Pope John Paul II will screen on SBS Television over two consecutive Sunday nights, beginning Easter Sunday, 1 April at 10.30pm.

Historians at the Vatican provided script consultation for the series, and exclusive footage was filmed on St Peter’s Square, in the Sistine Chapel and in surrounding areas of the Vatican.

Cary Elwes portrays Karol Wojtyla from age 18 to 50, in the years prior to being elected Pope on 16th October, 1978. Academy Award winner and multiple Golden Globe Award winner, Jon Voight portrays him during his extraordinary 26 year reign that ended with the Pontiff’s death on 2nd April, 2005.

The cast also includes Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award nominee James Cromwell (Babe, The Queen), Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Ben Gazzara (Dogville, The Big Lebowsky) as well as Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings).

Pope John Paul II is a two-part drama series about a man whose papal odyssey encompassed more than 120 countries and earned him the reputation of an international fighter for freedom. It follows Karol Wojtyla’s journey from his youth in Poland through his last days on the Chair of St. Peter and explores the 264th Pope’s fascinating life behind the scenes: how he managed to touch the hearts of millions of people and change the face of the church and the world; how he defended the dignity of mankind against Nazism, Communism and consumerism; and how he successfully related to people of all ages.

The series begins on the eve of the German invasion of Poland. The charismatic Karol Wojtyla is passionate about literature, the theatre and poetry. Along with his friends, he covertly resists the systematic persecution of Polish culture and joins the clandestine Catholic resistance. To the amazement of his friends, Karol announces his intention to enter the church. Thus begins the extraordinary career of a man who at the age of 38 became the country’s youngest bishop.

Pope John Paul II screens 10.30pm Sunday Apr 1 & Sunday Apr 8 on SBS.

FULL REVIEW here

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