Emmy-winner John Malkovich will join a returning Jude Law in The New Pope, the follow up to Paolo Sorrentino's HBO limited series The Young Pope. Originally airing on Sky Atlantic and later on HBO, The Young Pope starred Law as Lenny Belardo, the highly unconventional first-ever American pontiff. Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando, Ludivine Sagnier and James Cromwell co-starred in the limited series set in the modern-day Vatican.
With its breathtaking and quirky visual style, delivered by acclaimed director Sorrentino, The Young Pope wowed critics but went on to be largely snubbed by the Emmys, receiving only a pair of technical nominations. Lead actor Jude Law did receive a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television for his complex portrayal of the enigmatic - and ultimately somewhat sinister - modern day pope. In May 2017, HBO and Sky Atlantic greenlit a Young Pope sequel series to be entitled The New Pope.
With production set to begin in Italy in November, Deadline reports that The New Pope has added John Malkovich to star alongside a returning Law. Details on Malkovich's specific role in the series are being kept under wraps. The future of Law's character is very much up in the air as well after the Young Pope finale, which saw Lenny collapsing while delivering a homily before a crowd that may or may not have included his long-lost parents.
In Malkovich, The New Pope adds another commanding actor who like Law is entirely capable of delivering a wildly unconventional and possibly brilliant performance. After garnering early attention in films like The Killing Fields and Places in the Heart - the latter of which earned him his first Oscar nomination - Malkovich garnered an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for his performance as Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman. Malkovich nabbed a second career Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing the heavy in Clint Eastwood's 1994 action film In the Line of Fire. Perhaps Malkovich's best-loved and most iconic performance came when he played himself in Spike Jonze's world-hopping surrealistic comedy Being John Malkovich.
Law meanwhile continues to be a very busy actor, with roles lined up in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald where he will play young Dumbledore, and in Captain Marvel where he plays the key role of Walter Lawson. Law also reportedly will return to star as Dr. Watson alongside Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes 3.
Given the unconventional nature of The Young Pope, it's difficult to speculate where Sorrentino intends to take Malkovich and Law's characters in the sequel series. The title The New Pope certainly seems to suggest Lenny will no longer be the pope when the action re-commences. What happened to Lenny after his collapse, and why he apparently is forced to give up the papacy, are just two questions the new series will have to answer when it makes its way to HBO and Sky Atlantic at some point in the future.