My chain-smoking Pope is only meant to start a debate, says Jude Law


Jude Law has insisted that his new series The Young Pope does not judge Catholicism, but said he welcomed anything that opened up discussion "freely and diplomatically".

The British heartthrob plays the "complex and conflicted" chain-smoking, Cherry Coke-swilling Pope Pius XIII in the ten-part series, which is airing on Sky Atlantic later this month.

Jude said he did consider whether it would cause offence but decided that it was not a critique of the religion.

Jude Law in The Young Pope (Sky Atlantic)

He told Radio Times: "Obviously, I thought long and hard about that.

"But we are only investigating the conservative side of Catholicism. We're not scandalising it. We're not judging it.

"I'm sure someone somewhere is going to be offended by it but that's what storytelling is about, opening discussion, openly, freely and diplomatically... I'm all for that."

The 43-year-old said the series "is not The West Wing in the Vatican".

He added: "The themes are more about how an individual survives one's relationship with faith as opposed to accurately portraying Vatican politics."

Jude Law is Pope Pius XIII in The Young Pope (Sky Atlantic)

The show starts in the UK later in October.

The dramatic trailer released earlier this year sees Jude's Pontiff stating: "I am a contradiction. I'm God: one in three and three in one. Like Mary Virgin the Mother, like man good and evil."

"What do you intend to do?" he is asked. "Revolution," comes the answer.

Sky Italia head Andrea Scrosati, who commissioned the programme, said it should trigger questions rather then cause upset.

He said many of the show's writers were Catholic and that they also used consultants from the Catholic Church.

"I don't think they will find it offensive. They will find it challenging," he said.

"Those who have the most sincere faith are the ones that constantly question... This is the story of the show."

Jude Law in The Young Pope (Sky Atlantic)

This week's Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday.