‘The Two Popes’ Star Jonathan Pryce on How Even His Son Thinks He’s a Pope Francis Lookalike | Video

“I was never really nervous about playing a living character,” British actor says

Was it divine intervention that led Jonathan Pryce to portray Pope Francis in “The Two Popes,” or was it just an internet meme? Pryce said he knew he might eventually play His Holiness after side-by-side comparisons posted online showed the actor’s remarkable resemblance to Francis.

“It seemed it was going to be on the cards for quite awhile,” Pryce told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. “The day Pope Francis was declared pope, the internet was full of images of me and him, and ‘Is Jonathan Pryce the Pope?’ Even my son texted me, ‘Dad are you the Pope?'”

Pryce stars in “The Two Popes” opposite Anthony Hopkins, who portrays Pope Benedict. Anthony McCarten (“The Theory of Everything,” “Bohemian Rhapsody”) wrote the screenplay about what compelled one of the most traditional Popes in history to retire from his position and take on the title of Pope Emeritus, something that has not occurred in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in over 700 years.

But of course Pryce didn’t just take the part in Fernando Meirelles’s (“City of God”) because he’s got a holy twin.

“Like Fernando, I’m a huge admirer of Pope Francis and what he’s trying to do, not just for the Catholic Church but society in general,” Pryce said. “He’s a great inspiration for a lot of us. I was never really nervous about playing a living character or real character that people have an image of, and I’ve played a few of them in my time.”

“He is a very important voice in the world today. He sees the world as one planet, one thing, one brotherhood,” Meirelles said. “While everybody is trying to build walls, he’s trying to build bridges.”

Netflix is releasing “The Two Popes” first into theaters for a limited release on Nov. 27 followed by on the streaming platform on Dec. 20.

Watch TheWrap’s video with Pryce, Meirelles, McCarten and Juan Minujín, who plays a young Pope Francis when he was still Cardinal Bergoglio, above.

Brian Welk

Brian Welk

Film Reporter • brian.welk@thewrap.com • Twitter: @brianwelk

Oops! This is for WrapPRO members only, please sign up or login to view. Oops! This is for WrapPRO members only, please choose a plan to continue.

Join WrapPRO for Exclusive Content, Full Video Access, Premium Events, and More!
For Only $1/Day Members Access:
In-Depth Coverage
  • Up to 10 exclusive members-only stories a week
  • Awards Editor Steve Pond’s weekly take on awards season
  • TV Editor Tony Maglio’s in-depth TV ratings column
  • Entertainment industry analysis and deep-dive features
  • Daily WrapPRO newsletter covering the latest industry news
Exclusive Video
  • Access to full length Members-Only Video archive
  • Video of notable sessions from TheWrap Events (TheGrill, Power Women Summit)
Vip Access
  • Priority seating for TheWrap's Screening Series with stars and filmmakers (up to 30 min prior to film start time)
  • Access to "chill spots" at select industry events Sundance, TIFF, Newfronts and more
  • Access to exclusive invite-only events
  • DataBank showcasing key stats and streaming video trends in the OTT market
  • In-depth entertainment industry research and whitepapers