Antonio as Frankie? Be still my beating heart!
ONE of my favourite contemporary film stars, Antonio Banderas, may be cast as Pope Francis in a hagiography due be filmed by an Italian movie company.
According to this report, Italian director Daniele Luchetti plans to make the $12 million Spanish language film – Call Me Francesco – with producer Pietro Valsecchi, who has made some of Italy’s highest-grossing movies.
Valsecchi’s Rome-based production house, Taodue Film, confirmed the news this week and a spokeswoman said the company was looking to shoot the film in various locations, including Argentina and Italy.
Banderas, from Andalucia in Spain, is one of the top Spanish-speaking actors being considered to play the lead role, she told Religion News Service.
Last week, 53-year-old Banderas, a native Spanish speaker like the Pope, said in an interview he was proud of what Hispanic actors had achieved in Hollywood. When he arrived in the US, he said, he was told he should expect to play a “villain all my life” because “blacks and Hispanics” were usually cast as the bad guys.
The film is based on the best-selling book “Francisco: El Papa de la gente” (or “Francis: The people’s Pope”) by Evangelina Himitian, a journalist with the Buenos Aires newspaper La Nacion.
Casting is still being finalized but pre-production is well underway, the company spokeswoman said.
Shooting is expected to begin this summer. Taodue declined to speculate on whether the film would be completed and ready for release on December 17, the pope’s 78th birthday.
While Francis has generated worldwide interest and a slew of documentaries since his election, so far no feature films have been produced about his life.