Anthony Hopkins to Play Pope Benedict XVI in Netflix Movie ‘The Pope’

Anthony Hopkins is set to play Pope Benedict XVI in a new movie for Netflix called The Pope.

Deadline broke this major bit of news on Wednesday, reporting that the upcoming Netflix movie has found its two leads. Jonathan Pryce, known recently for playing the High Sparrow on Game of Thrones, has been cast as Francis, while Anthony Hopkins will play his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Other outlets like The Hollywood Reporter subsequently confirmed the casting.

The Pope will tell the story of Pope Benedict’s election, his resignation, and the subsequent election of Pope Francis. According to Entertainment Weekly, the movie is about “the relationship and opposing visions between two of the most powerful leaders in the Catholic Church, both of whom must address their own pasts and the demands of the modern world in order to move the church forward.”

Anthony Hopkins in 2016

Anthony Hopkins in 2016. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Fernando Meirelles (City of God) is set to direct the movie, with the screenplay coming from Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything).  It will begin filming in Argentina this November, meaning it will likely premiere on Netflix in late 2018 or early 2019.

Anthony Hopkins is fresh off of his performance in HBO’s Westworld, in which he played the park’s founder, Dr. Robert Ford. In addition, Hopkins has been seen in supporting roles in some major blockbusters over the past few years, including this summer’s Transformers: The Last Knight. In November’s Thor: Ragnarok, he will reprise his role as Odin, Asgard’s king and Thor’s father.

Netflix as of late has been distributing original films with some pretty high caliber talent.  In 2017 alone, the streaming service has already put out movies starring Brad Pitt, Ben Kingsley, Robert Redford, Jason Segel, and Elijah Wood, and they are preparing to release movies starring Will Smith, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Mackie, Carey Mulligan, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux. Netflix has yet to receive an Academy Awards nomination outside of the documentary categories, though they’re clearly looking to catch up with Amazon in that regard, as at the 2017 Oscars, a Best Picture nominee was Amazon Studios’ Manchester by the Sea. 

Anthony Hopkins in 2017

Anthony Hopkins in 2017. | Rich Fury/Getty Images