With a cigar in his mouth, greeting those present one by one, smiling at the most obvious questions and dodging the most complicated with a few ingenious words. Paolo Sorrentino seems to be enjoying the presentation of The New Pope in Venice. The Italian director came to the Venice International Film Festival three years ago with The Young Pope – the first in his Vatican-based series. He also seemed somewhat more apprehensive regarding the Church’s and Italian society’s possible reaction. But those rain clouds have long since dispersed and have given way to a more relaxed response from the director in his answers and relationship with the press. Reviews of the first batch of episodes were overwhelmingly good, and after the preview of these new episodes presented in 2019, it seems that he’s in for another showering of praise upon his work.

The meeting with Sorrentino and the rest of the cast of the series, including Spanish actor Javier Cámara, took place at the Hotel Hungaria del Lido, an environment that wouldn’t have been out of place as a location for The New Pope. The hotel is filled with that baroque vibe the Neapolitan director has once again applied to the series, along with his pop-art touches, the meticulously prepared scenes and stunning lighting. Certain locations feature once again, the Vatican of course, as well as new scenarios, such as an impressive Scottish palace where a key character for the plot resides or ancient Venice, which ends up becoming a safe haven for pontiff Jude Law while recovering from a major setback … but we’ll get to that in a second.

So, what can we expect to see in The New Pope? Or at least … what can we tell you about without spoiling it? Well, here are just a few brushstrokes to whet your appetite without overfeeding you and to have you yearning to see the new season. Pope Lenny Belardo [Jude Law] falls into a coma, and the machinery of the Catholic Church go into full swing to find a new pontiff. They find a provisional candidate, and here’s where we’re keeping the cat very much in the bag and we’ll reserve the remarkable, unexpected and very poignant details for another day. Suffice to say that it all goes very pear-shaped for them. The time has come for a real gamble and a Vatican commission travels to Scotland to convince a very particular cardinal. A noble fan of the arts and philosophy brought to life by the one and only John Malkovich.

David Martos. 
Journalist in Kinotico (Onda Cero) and AytoTudela.