Production Begins on John Paul II Bio


Production has begun on CBS's bio of Pope John Paul II, the four-hour miniseries on the life of the pontiff, tentatively titled Pope John Paul II.

Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights) will play the young Karol Wojtyla, with Jon Voight (Coming Home, Midnight Cowboy) playing him as the pope.

Rounding out the cast are James Cromwell (Babe) as Polish Archbishop Sapieha, Ben Gazzarra (Hysterical Blindness) as Vatican Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli, Franco Nero (Camelot) as lay leader Jan Tyranowski, and Charles Dance (Gosford Park) as Austrian Cardinal Franz Konig.

Meanwhile, in other papal programming news, the Hallmark Channel will air the U.S. debut of a four-hour  biopic, A Man Who Became Pope, on Aug. 15.

The film, which the late pope is said to have seen and the current pope screened following his predecessor's death, looks at the life of  Pope John Paul II from his boyhood up to the moment he becomes pontiff. It  was produced in 2004 by Taodue/RTI, in association with Capri Film, and aired in May on the CBC.

The Hallmark film, which will get a repeat airing Aug. 21, features an international cast headed by Piotr Adamczyk as the man who would be Pope.