VIDEO: Trailer for Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce as Benedict XVI and Francis in upcoming ‘The Two Popes’

Well, this is going to be … interesting.

It will be interesting to see if their portrayal of Benedict (Hopkins is a great actor) is anything like the real Benedict. Back in the day, I had an awful lot of good conversations with Card. Ratzinger and we were friendly. From this trailer, I am not optimistic about accuracy of character.

Also, you might remember the day after Francis was elected and he went back (spontaneously?) to his “hotel” to pay his own bill. Well, I lived in that residence for years. Bergoglio would stay there (never with Jesuits). I’ve had numerous meals, back in the day, with Card. Bergoglio. We’ll see if he portrayed well. I didn’t get to know him as well as I did Ratzinger.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t help thinking of Francis whenever that Grand Sparrow, or whatever the title was, was the video episodes of Game Of Thrones. I always thought that they were consciously riffing on Francis in that character. Now it turns out that that actor is the one playing Bergoglio. The type casting is spot on. Hopkins is a good choice, too… a good choice it is a good idea to make something like this at all.



Before too long, you should all get your hands on a couple of books to help understand the thought of the men in the movie.

First, Tracey Rowland’s Ratzinger’s Faith.  


Also, from the same, this splendid “state of the question” book.  In the last section she explores Bergoglio’s theological stance, as far as it can be deciphered.

 Catholic Theology.  


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Anneliese says:

    The portrayal of BXVI seems somewhat arrogant. I find it hard to believe that he would have taken such a great interest in something like shoes. I know he wears Prada but would he really have criticized anyone for the shoes they were wearing?

    [NO! NO! and NO! Those were NOT Prada. They were handmade and given to him. And Pope’s traditionally wore red shoes. There’s nothing odd in the least here. The press LIED.]

  2. Kevin Ryan says:

    Be really interesting to see how this turns out.

    He visited Thomas Aquinas College again last month:

  3. Geoffrey says:

    I had high hopes for this when I first heard of it, but my hopes have been dashed with this trailer. It seems like they are setting Benedict XVI up to be the “villian” and Pope Francis to be the “hero”.

  4. RLseven says:

    Being filmed at the Vatican will provide some lovely scenes. The idea for such a film is a wonderful idea– and I get the impression that the focus will be more on the relationship between the popes, than their individual personalities. Surely, it will have flaws. I remember seeing “Entertaining Angels” (Dorothy Day story) and being slightly disappointed with parts. But for someone who was unfamiliar with her or the Catholic Worker Movement, they got a decent glimpse into her world. I look forward to this film!

    Funny– Fr. Z, you see the Grand Sparrow, and some commenters on other sites have commented that they see Hannibal Lector when they look at Hopkins!

  5. Benedict Joseph says:

    Some weeks back when I first became aware of this project I cringed.
    I continue to cringe. A lot.

  6. Hopkins… Hannibal. Yeah… that was inevitable. I guess the Sparrow was fresher in my memory. I haven’t see Silence of the Lambs for a long time.

    Do you suppose that the producers were intent on up making associations with past roles? Probably not.

    BTW… from the trailer I picked up a idea that they will portray Benedict as vain and a little mean and Bergoglio as thoughtful and affable. From what I know and from what I have lately heard, this is quite the flip flop. I’ve rarely met anyone as humble as Ratzinger, and as affable. Just sayin’.

  7. Amerikaner says:

    Honestly, who knows until it’s out. The way trailers are cut nowadays there is no way to tell until one has watched the final, full version.

  8. richiedel says:

    An absurdly inaccurate portrayal of Benedict. Everything he has said on and off the record is in support of Francis. In the book-length interview, Last Testament, Benedict praises Francis’ closeness to the people, and simultaneously critiques himself:

    “But at the same time he [Francis] is simply someone who is very close to the people, who stands with them, who is always among them. That he is living in Santa Marta as opposed to the Palazzo is due to the fact that he wants to be among the people at all times. I would say that this is something one can achieve up there as well [in the Palazzo Apostolico], but it does show a new emphasis. Perhaps I was not truly among the people enough.” (p. 31)

  9. Chuck4247 says:

    At the very least, they have cast capable actors who convincingly look like the people they are portraying. Now to see if they act like the people they are portraying…

  10. Father Bartoloma says:

    No thanks. I’d rather watch a blank movie screen for two hours than this film for two minutes.

    Rapid-fire canonizations make me uncomfortable. A contemporary movie like this with the Catholic protagonists soo high profile and very much alive offends my pious ears.

  11. acardnal says:

    This looks interesting. I will watch. It can’t be worse than the horrible Fellini-esque “Pope” movie on HBO previously!

  12. Stepheno says:

    I’d hold my fire till I saw the film. Yes it appears that B16 is slightly the stiffer, elitist yet who can deny Hopkins charm and incredible acting skills. Unlike FZ I didn’t know B16 so I’ll not look for that level of accuracy. PF seems to be presented as he was in the 1st year of his pontificate: down to earth etc etc. so stale and old today of course. I think it looks fairly promising.

  13. RLseven says:

    It’s hard to know if they are accurate portrayals, just from the trailer. We all know the popes as they present themselves publicly (some people, like Fr. Z, know them personally). We don’t really know their private personas or how they interact with each other. I agree– let’s see what the whole film offers. Even if it’s not completely factual, I bet it will offer us some deeper truths…

  14. Gab says:

    I hold very little hope this film will reflect historical accuracy or portray the personalities of the main characters realistically. Hollywood being what it is these days.

  15. Kathleen10 says:

    I would expect the predictable, Benedict to be unpleasant for the most part and Bergolio to be portrayed as we all know the Left sees him. I never see films like this unless I hear lots of good buzz first. I don’t need to pay to be aggravated I can get that for free.
    A good actor transcends characters and Anthony Hopkins is a great actor, and I’m sure they considered his association with that character. The actor playing Bergolio, could be him, wow.

  16. William says:

    I know Pryce has been in a lot of things, but to me, he’s always the guy in the Infiniti commercials.

  17. Kerry says:

    Today’s post from the affable and thoughtful Fr. Hunwicke is not to be missed.

  18. For my part, I don’t see Hannibal. I see C S Lewis in David Attenborough’s production of Shadowlands. I also see this as a sort of Gedankenerfahrung (thought experiment), albeit one with cause for cautious optimism.

    And I do have Netflix. For those who don’t, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  19. teomatteo says:

    I’ve always wanted to write a screenplay that had a retired pope who teamed up with a ‘retired’ queen to travel the world to fight an evil religious order. In one scene the queen finds a tiara in an old secret chest and tries it on…oh the fun i could have.

  20. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    My wife and I watched GoT…and we both commented on the uncanny resemblance between Pryce and Francis several years ago on GoT.

  21. Pius Admirabilis says:

    Anthony Hopkins is without doubt a great actor – one of my favorites. But he has a cold, calculating aura to him, and that does not correspond to Ratzinger at all. I never had the privilege of getting to know Pope Benedict personally, but after everything I have heard and seen (and many of my friends support this idea), he seems to be an extremely humble and friendly man. He is a sweetheart, if it is not too inappropriate to say that about a Pope. The trailer sets him up to be an arrogant man who very consciously tries to keep his cool, but will explode and threaten people to get his way. This reminds me a lot of Chancellor Palpatine from the Star Wars prequels. Benedict mist certainly is not like that. And I also don’t think it was fun to Bergoglio to provoke the Pope constantly, as it is shown in the trailer.

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    teomatteo, ah, it’s been done.

  23. Fallibilissimo says:

    Oh I want to see this. Look, it’s movies so of course it’s gonna be filled with errors and bias. But Anthony Hopkins as our beloved Benedict? For some reason I like that a lot! I hope Pope Benedict enjoys it, if he watches it.

    Now, it might be a disaster (and given the odds with these sorts of things, it’s more than likely), but I’ve noticed that some members of the media have a sort of interest in Benedict. It’s hard to describe exactly, but they (some of them) see him as an strange relic of some type; I’m sure someone can explain this better than me. Anyway, I love our two fathers in Rome and feel an attachment to them, so I’m hoping it’s a decent little film.

  24. WVC says:

    Isn’t hoping that HBO will produce a biopic featuring Pope Benedict in a flattering light as futile as thinking the Fishwrap would produce a biopic featuring a flattering depiction of Fr. Z? Screenplay my Michael Sean Winters, no less!

    Incidentally, if he wasn’t so old, I would cast Paul Sorvino to play Fr. Z.

  25. The Egyptian says:

    Kathleen10 said
    I would expect the predictable, Benedict to be unpleasant for the most part and Bergolio to be portrayed as we all know the Left sees him.

    Brings back memories of how the media treated Reagan and now Trump, vs how Castro and Bernie Sanders and many others leftist are portrayed, The real Bernie is a grumpy old scold and a cheapskate.

  26. Grant M says:

    “The uploader has not made this video available in your country”.

    Oh well, never mind. It makes sense for Hopkins to go from being sovereign of Asgard to being sovereign of Vatican City, now that Asgard has fallen. :)

  27. Grant M says:

    Hopkins’s role does raise irresistible parallels.

    Odin is displaced as sovereign by Loki in questionable fashion. Benedict …..

    Odin insists to Loki that the Aesir are NOT gods. Benedict points out that even the Pope is bound by Scripture and Tradition, whereas a certain zealous member of Team Francis informs us that…

  28. Simon_GNR says:

    I got the same YouTube message as Grant M. I’m resident in England.

  29. Johann says:

    I’m sorry but this is clearly just another attempt to trash Benedict XVI while at the same time portray Francis as the “Great Reformer”. A puff piece in short, and about as historically accurate as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, i.e 90% fiction.

    I am not a subscriber to Netflix but have heard a lot of Catholics calling for a boycott. I am beginning to understand why.

  30. Hellenist says:

    But how deliciously priceless is it that the man who most famously portrayed Juan Perón is now portraying Jorge Bergoglio??? Proof that either God or the Enemy (or both) have senses of humor!

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