After weeks of speculation about who would lead a worldwide community of more than 1 billion faithful, fictitious Catholics, Showtime has announced that Bruno Ganz will step into the red shoes as Pope Sixtus VI in the pilot for its new drama, The Vatican. While Ganz has never played the pope, he did portray Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski in a 2005 TV movie about Pope John Paul II, so he must at least be decent at pretending to know how to speak Latin. Ganz also played Hitler in the 2004 film Downfall, which hopefully (for the real Catholic Church’s sake) won’t contribute to the role at all, aside from maybe providing him with the opportunity to become a better public speaker.
Ganz joins a cast that already includes Kyle Chandler as progressive New York Cardinal Thomas Duffy, Matthew Goode as papal secretary Bernd Koch, and Sebastian Koch as Vatican Secretary of State Marco Malerba. Shooting begins next month, so he’s probably cramming in declension drills like crazy. [via Deadline]