Antonio as Frankie? Be still my beating heart!

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.


48 responses to “Antonio as Frankie? Be still my beating heart!”

  1. Gindy51 says:

    If you take a look at the actor named Jonathon Pryce (Brazil 1985 and many other roles) he looks so much like Francis now it is truly scary. Sam could easily play the older Francis in an English language film. Not sure if he knows Spanish.

  2. Bubba T Flubba says:

    True blockbuster material……can’t wait not to see it. The rcc relies heavily on propaganda just like the nazis did.

  3. Oy Vey says:

    I wish I had not just eaten before reading this.

  4. Broga says:

    I’m afraid it won’t fit with my favourites. I tend to like the violent genre “The Searchers”; “Gunfight at the OK Corral”; “Shane”; “Spartacus”; “The Vikings” etc. I don’t think there will be enough gunplay coming from Frankie for my taste.

    He might creep into our domestic viewing, though. Did he have any romance in his past? My wife likes romantic films so I might find myself watching the early Frankie involved in a passionate affair. I remember a film from the past called, I think, “The Cardinal” who fell in love with a beautiful woman whom he gave up for the priesthood.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Benedict’s part has already been cast:

  6. barriejohn says:

    I think I prefer this one actually, but then I always was a Munsters fan myself:

  7. barriejohn says:

    Extras playing the faithful at St Peter’s:

    (This could go on all night.)

  8. Broga says:

    Lots of fun to be had from this one. What about the handsome priest who is around Benny so much? Who gets that role? And the visitors to the Vatican? Widders is going to be difficult to cast.

  9. andym says:

    Kathy Bates?

  10. tony e says:

    I’m sure this will be as historically accurate as Braveheart!

  11. Broga says:

    @andym: Very fair from Widders point of view. I think we must rule out Nicole Kidman?

    It’s too bad Bernie Ecclestone isn’t an actor. He could have taken the Benny part.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Cherie Blair’s already been cast as well:

  13. Broga says:

    Perfect. And Cliff Richard, who has done a bit of what, if not examined too closely passes for acting, as Tony.

  14. Angela_K says:

    Sob, how could he! Banderas is a lovely looking man and was great in Tarantino’s “Desperado”.

  15. barriejohn says:

    “Desperado” is about right! Who’s going to play God = Ian Paisley or Billy Graham?

  16. barriejohn says:

    @andym: That’s brilliant – and gives me the perfect excuse to post this one again (not for those of a nervous disposition).

  17. Barry Duke says:

    Perhaps there could be a role for Bob “Potty” Hutton, coming to Rome to receive a kiss from Frankie, who partial to snogging the afflicted:

  18. barriejohn says:

    Another swivel-eyed mad prophet, Barry:

  19. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Certainly the Widders’ pic is not for those of a sensitive nature. The shock could be traumatic. I have heard that Widders is a bit of a dancing girl although I have managed to escape that particular trauma. Could there be a dancing role for Widders in the film?

  20. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Re-enactment of Salome, no doubt.

    Enough to force a man to chop off his own head!

  21. Matt Westwood says:

    Nick Clegg is of course played by Colin Firth. After all, Nick Clegg was specifically selected to lead his party to election *because* he looks like Colin Firth, so that might not count.

  22. zombiehunter says:

    so at which point in the film will pope Frankie boy be opening up his guitar case and pulling out the biggest hand cannon you’ve ever fucking seen??

  23. Barry Duke says:

    Oh No! Don’t tell me Stephen “Birdshit” Green’s climbed on the bearded drag queen wagon!

  24. barriejohn says:

    Yes, I think it should definitely be a musical:

  25. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: The Widders pic. “Cripes”, as Boris would say, “where is that man putting his hands?”

    The musical has massive potential. We could have Cliff dong a turn and there is also Aled waiting to come on. Widders could have the Salome part but the stripping scenes and belly dancing would have to be left out in interests of good taste and public decency.

  26. Barry Duke says:

    If we’re going full-blown musical here, Broga, I wanna see the Swiss Guards doing the can-can.

  27. Broga says:

    @Barry Duke: Damn. Almost forgot the Swiss Guards. A musical could be a good little earner for the NSS. Perhaps around Christmas.

  28. barriejohn says:

    I love the look on Widders’ face!

    If it was a modern musical it would have to include rap:

    I am da Pope and I ain’t no dope;

    Don’t be a fairy, say a Hail Mary;

    Don’t get in a lather, say an Our Father;

    Go through da Rosary – easy as ABC.

    God is near to ease your fear;

    Who can tell who’s goin’ to Hell?

    Put yo’ gold in da plate an’ I’ll open Heaven’s Gate!


  29. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: classy rap.

    Widders has a paralysed look on her face. However, the look on the man’s is even better. It is a mixture of someone thinking, “I’m hoisting five stones beyond my capacity here” and “My hands have strayed into terra incognita and there be dragons.”

  30. barriejohn says:

    BTW It has been reported all over the place recently that Christian films have been doing well at the box office, though I suspect a bit of spiritual spin, if not downright “lying for Jesus”.

  31. Barry Duke says:

    Good effort BarrieJohn, but The Vatican Rag takes some beating. Enjoy:

  32. barriejohn says:

    Bary: I remember Tom Lehrer well from my youth (The Periodic Table Song – brilliant); also Bob Newhart (“Hi, Walter baby”; “I see you’ve had one lesson already”) and Allan Sherman (“Camp is very entertaining, and they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining”). They don’t make ’em like that any more!!

  33. Broga says:

    A Christian Experience: I happened to be sitting in a café with a boy, perhaps four years old, and his mum. The child had fish and chips placed in front of him and went for his knife and fork like a starving shark. d

    “Sam,” says mum. “Haven’t we forgotten something important?”

    The boy bent his head and mumbled what I took to be some kind of grace. The mother looked around and seemed to me to be proud of this display of maternal care. She then said something about how important it was always to remember who provided our food and who must be thanked.

    For the rest of the meal she was, in the most gentle of ways, correcting the little boy. “Sam, you musn’t stare.” “Keep your elbows by your side when eating.” (New one on me that.) “You must learn not to fidget.” “Don’t talk when you have your mouth full.” And so it went on. One correction after another.

    I can’t say she seemed other than a caring and gentle woman. But there was no chat, no fun, no exchanges, no questions from the boy. The effect on me was to feel sad that the boy should be so endlessly restrained. By the standards of society I expect she is regarded as a good mother and she no doubt thought she was providing the best of care.

    What was influencing her? Her all knowing, all seeing God whom she wanted to please.

  34. barriejohn says:

    Broga: were you a fan of Gimme!Gimme!Gimme!?

    “Do you have to keep your mouth open while you’re eating?”

    “Ow else am I supposed to get the food in?”

  35. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: I missed out on Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.

  36. barriejohn says:

    “I like the men in my life to be strong – to stand up for what they believe in – not to be so far back in the closet they’re in FUCKING NARNIA!”

    It’s just occured to me that we haven’t cast the part of The Devil yet. Benny himself might do – or how about Brian Blessed?

  37. Paul Cook says:

    I had a good laugh at this train. Thanks!

    widders could be the love interest and the trigger as to what made frankie become a priest.

    but there are too many British actors, we need some from the US.

    Tom hanks needs to do the fight scenes as there ought to be some. Frankies struggles against drug dealers (type cast any us based mexican actor for that).
    widders can play herself in the love scenes. There couldn’t be a double – unless Matt Lucas puts on his fetching [retching] bubbles De vere suit. Or Jennifer Aniston wears it.

    Angel gabriel will be matt damon or Brad Pitt.

    the devil needs to be a non-us person otherwise it will confuse US audiences so Stellen Skarsgaad Vincent price, Alan Rickman, Ian Holm or that other real big & tall guy who could morph into a baddie – Gandolph.

    God could be played by James Earl jones as he has such a commanding voice.we only need the voice – we shouldn’t see him as he’s black and that won’t do. A black god. whatever next.

  38. barriejohn says:

    A black god. whatever next.

    A Middle Eastern Jesus?

  39. Broga says:

    @Paul Cook: Some nice developments there and I do like Widders as the love interest who drives Frankie into celibacy. That has the virtue of being plausible. We could use other great film lines:

    The intense spiritual debate scene in the confessional about whether Frankie uses a condom or says, “What you have to ask yourself is, do you feel lucky?”

    Frankie proposes and then regrets it saying, “I coulda been a contender.”

    Widders says he has broken what passes for her heart and Frankie says, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

  40. The Woggler says:

    This reminds me of ‘The Strike’, a television programme from the late 80’s where an actor played Al Pacino playing the role Arthur Scargill.

  41. Angela_K says:

    The Woggler. I remember that, done by the “Comic Strip” very funny.

  42. AgentCormac says:

    @The Woggler

    Do you also remember a comedy series from the ’80s called ‘Brass’? Set in the ’30s it starred Timothy West as the Thatcherite-type mill, mine and munitions factory owner, and Barbara Ewing as his adversary (and lover), Red Agnes.

    Brilliant script writing and sadly, as far as I know, never re-run on British TV. Quality.

  43. barriejohn says:


    “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”

  44. barriejohn says:

    I remember Stella Street, but I don’t recall them mimicking any religious leaders. Harry Enfield should be up to it!

  45. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Perfect: the great James Cagney in “White Heat” playing a psychotic, mother obsessed thug.

  46. The Woggler says:

    AgentCormac – I do indeed recollect Brass. As I remember, it was a bit of a parody of Catherine Cookson type stuff, and quite amusing. I think Timothy West is one of those actors who simply adds class to any production (even Eastenders, in which he currently has a role).

  47. andym says:

    The late Richard Griffiths would have been perfect as a paedophile priest.