The first two episodes of The Young Pope, the hotly-anticipated drama series from The Great Beauty director Paolo Sorrentino, are world premiering here at the Venice Film Festival today. Jude Law stars as the fictional first American pontiff in history, who, according to the just-dropped extended trailer above, is also a saint, a sinner, a smoker and a blue-eyed revolutionary. From Sky, HBO and Canal Plus, the 10-parter is due to air via Sky in its European markets beginning October 21, with HBO set to debut it in February Stateside.

This is a big English-language play for Sky Italia whose Gomorrah just premiered to much praise on Sundance in the U.S. Tickets to the official premiere of The Young Pope tonight in Venice were sold out within an hour.

The story centers on Law’s Lenny Belardo, aka Pius XIII. Says Sorrentino, “Young and charming, his election might seem the result of a simple and effective media strategy by the College of Cardinals. But appearances can be deceptive, especially in the place and among the people who have chosen the great mystery of God as the guiding light of their existence. That place is the Vatican and those people are the leaders of the Catholic Church. And the most mysterious and contradictory figure of all turns out to be Pius XIII himself. Shrewd and naïve, old-fashioned and yet very modern, doubtful and resolute, ironic, pedantic, hurt and ruthless, Pius XIII tries to walk the long path of human loneliness to find a God for mankind. And for himself.”

Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando, Scott Shepherd, Cécile de France, Javier Cámara, Ludivine Sagnier, Toni Bertorelli and James Cromwell round out the cast.

The Young Pope is produced by Wildside and co-produced by Haut et Court TV and Mediapro. FremantleMedia International is on sales.

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