If you ever wondered why Netflix threw so much muscle behind Roma last year, look no further than their awards season strategy this year. The credibility they gained by that multiple Oscar winner has allowed them the flexibility to field multiple awards contenders at once. We’ve already seen some of their plans for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, but a film that’s getting a similar month-long rollout is The Two Popes. And when you’ve got two leads the caliber of Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, along with City of God director Fernando Meirelles, accolades are practically a given.
Hopkins and Pryce play Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, respectively, as one leader of the Catholic Church passes the torch to the other. The story was borne out of the unusual situation where a Pope retired and was alive to see another take his place. The script is by screenwriter Anthony McCarten and basically everything he touches turns to gold right now, following his acclaimed work on The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
SYNOPSIS: From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award-nominated director of “City of God,” and three-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.
The Two Popes will have its world premiere at Telluride. Netflix will roll it out into theaters on November 27th before making it available to stream on December 20th.