Oscar winner Mark Rylance 'to play a pope' in new Steven Spielberg film


British Oscar winner Mark Rylance will play a pope in a new Steven Spielberg film, according to reports.

It follows the pair's collaboration for Bridge Of Spies, the Cold War espionage thriller for which Mark won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards.

The upcoming project, titled The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara, tells the true story of a young Jewish boy who in the mid-19th Century was forcibly taken from his Italian parents to be raised a Christian.

Mark Rylance is teaming up with Steven Spielberg again

The ensuing struggle pitted the Catholic Church against modernising forces in Italy at the time and became a cause celebre across the Western world.

The 56-year-old is understood to be poised to play Pope Pius IX who refused to return the boy to his parents. Steven is expected to begin filming in early 2017.

Mark will appear on screens again in 2016 in Steven's blockbuster interpretation of The BFG - in which he will play Roald Dahl's benevolent giant.

Mark Rylance won a Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Wolf Hall

The actor also won plaudits for his turn as Thomas Cromwell in the 2015 hit BBC series Wolf Hall.