The Upcoming Pope Francis Biopic Is Mostly About Drugs, Prostitution, and Dictators

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It’s been less than two years since Pope Francis (born Jorge Bergoglio) was elected pope, but his appointment sent directors and producers all over the world on a race to release the first biopic of arguably the most personable pontiff ever. Spain and Argentina have just made their collaboration official with the announcement that filming has begun on the adaptation of Elisabetta Piqué’s biography of her friend and fellow Argentino.

Spain’s Beda Docampo Feijoo (Crazy Loves, Buenos Aires me mata) will direct the feature and its international cast, which includes Spanish actors Carlos Hipólito and Silvia Abascal, as well as Argentinos Jorge Marrale and Leonor Manso. Pascal will play the Spanish journalist (modeled after Piqué) who has been following the former cardinal’s journey to the Vatican. And in the lead role is Argentina’s own Dario Grandinetti, who rose to prominence in Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her.

Despite some of the more charming and recognizable anecdotes about El Papa — he used to sneak out to feed the indigent, and he donated his own motorcycle to charity — the biopic will focus on his life prior to the papacy. The film, which will tell the mostly unknown story of Bergoglio’s struggles in a military dictatorship against prostitution, corruption, and drug trafficking, is scheduled to be released in July 2015.