Fan of the Showtime series "The Borgias" love the show for many reasons. Firstly, there are established actors -- which include beloved thespians Jeremy Irons and Colm Feore -- as well as breakout stars like Francois Arnaud and Holliday Grainger.
Then, of course, there are the lavish period costumes, but what keeps fans coming back are the stories of revenge, betrayal, and lust. The Pope of this period is decadent and flawed, far different from what people see when they look at the modern Vatican.
But Showtime is betting that fans of "The Borgias" will have some interest in a story set in the modern Vatican. Later this year, Showtime will present "The Vatican," a contemporary thriller about religion, power, and politics. "The Vatican" marks a big milestone for Ridley Scott: the first time the beloved director has ever tackled a TV pilot.
"The Vatican" will be written by Paul Attanasio, who previously penned the script for the mob betrayal tale "Donnie Brasco," starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino. It will be produced by Scott and David Zucker, the latter of whom has been the executive producer on "The Good Wife."
According to EW, the show will "explore the relationships and rivalries [of the modern-day Catholic church] as well as the mysteries and miracles behind one of the world's most hidden institutions." Reports on Deadline say that the project has been favorably compared to "The Sopranos" and "Upstairs Downstairs." It's not clear whether the show will feature fictional characters inspired by real people or fictionalized versions of current Catholic leaders.
With a built-in audience of "Borgias" fans that are already interested in Vatican-level schemes, it seems like Showtime has made a smart decision greenlighting the pilot for "The Vatican." Despite the fact that "The Borgias" is set about 500 years before the events of "The Vatican," it's likely that the two shows will share similar themes and a similar audience. Even if there's no chance of seeing a nude Francois Arnaud, "Borgias" fans will probably still check out the Ridley Scott-directed pilot.
More details about the production are scarce at this time, but it's safe to say that if Showtime and Ridley Scott are working together, "The Vatican" will include plenty of violence and nudity. How those elements will blend with modern perceptions of the Vatican as a place populated by elderly religious figures is anyone's guess.
Are you a fan of "The Borgias"? Do you plan to tune in to see "The Vatican" later this year? Tell us why or why not in the comments!
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- Ridley Scott