What do two men of God talk about behind closed doors? Would you have guessed The Beatles?
In the first teaser trailer for “The Two Popes,” Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) asks the incoming Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) if he’s ever heard of the Fab Four, only to find that Benedict has no clue who “Eleanor Rigby” is.
“You know the hardest thing is to listen. To hear his voice. God’s voice,” Pope Benedict says in the trailer. “You know there’s a saying. God always corrects one Pope by presenting the world with another Pope. I’d like to see my correction.”
“City of God” director Fernando Meirelles directs the film from a screenplay by Anthony McCarten (“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Theory of Everything”) about the intimate story and rivalry between these two holy men. It picks up with Cardinal Bergoglio considering retiring from the church and Pope Benedict in his frustration with the direction of the church.
Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict (Hopkins) summons his harshest critic and the 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 story is especially timely as in April, Pope Benedict released an essay about the sexual abuse crisis in the church and the impact of the sexual revolution in the world beginning in the 1960s, and earlier this week his Holiness even pushed back on some criticism of his essay.
“The Two Popes” is making its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival later this week before heading to Toronto, and Netflix is releasing the film on their streaming service following a brief theatrical run.
It will open in theaters Nov. 27 followed by on Netflix on Dec. 20.
Watch the first trailer for “The Two Popes” above.
For the record: A previous version of this story listed Anthony Hopkins as Pope Francis and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Benedict. However, Hopkins plays Benedict, and Pryce plays Francis.