The Two Popes Movie Poster

Trivia for The Two Popes

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  • Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope in almost 600 years who became "pope emeritus" (pope retired) after resigning.
  • Jonathan Pryce commented on his physical resemblance to Pope Francis at the Toronto International Film Festival: "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?'"
  • In addition to Pope Francis, Jonathan Pryce has also portrayed another Argentinean, President Juan Perón, in the 1996 musical film "Evita" .
  • Actor Jonathan Pryce played another figure of religious authority. He was the "Sparrow" in Game of Thrones.
  • Actor Juan Minujín (Young Jorge Bergoglio) can be seen kissing his thumb after crossing himself, a very common practice among Latino/Hispanic Catholics. The thumb and index fingers form a cross shape, which is kissed as a sign of respect.
  • The guard outside Pope Francis' bedroom books a ticket for a flight using his mobile phone. But he does not remove his gloves. Mobile phones cannot be handled with gloves
  • Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce are Welshmen despite playing a german and an argentine respectively.
  • When Cardinal Bergoglio (from Argentina) visits Pope Bendedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger, from Germany) in the latter's summer residence, the Pope comments on Cardinal Bergoglio watching football. Bergoglio replies: "Our nations could be in the final in next year's World Cup". This is a reference to the FIFA World Cup final in 2014, which was played between Germany and Argentina.
  • One of the pizzas ordered for the pope and the cardinal is a "diavola" meaning "the devil" in Italian.
  • Jonathan Pryce is a Welsh actor who speaks Welsh and English. He does not speak Spanish fluently but did learn some Spanish for his role as Pope Francis. He also had to learn some Latin and Italian. All of his lines in the film - regardless of the language they're spoken in - were actually said by Jonathan. Pretty impressive!
  • Jonathan Pryce's fourth time playing a cardinal. He previously played one in Stigmata (1999), The Affair of the Necklace (2001) and Wolf Hall (2015)
  • More than half the movie is subtitled.
  • The screenplay was originally titled "The Pope." After Anthony Hopkins was cast, the title was changed to "The Two Popes," at the request of Anthony's agent.
  • Jonathan Pryce also played an Argentine in Evita (1996), where he played the role of General Juan Domingo Perón.
  • Jonathan Pryce watched a lot of YouTube footage of Pope Francis to prepare for the role.
  • Director Fernando Meirelles only found out about Jonathan Pryce while looking up photos of Pope Francis online. Side-by-side comparison photos of Jonathan Pryce and Pope Francis would frequently appear in the search results. This prompted Fernando to look up Jonathan's filmography and interviews. Impressed by what he saw, Fernando awarded the role to Pryce.
  • The books Bergoglio is shown with during his "two years of introspection" as a priest among the poor in Córdoba are: New Evangelization From the Perspective of the Excluded by Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, and Trigo Gaucho & Pueblerina by Argentine playwright and screenwriter Pedro E. Pico.
  • The song heard when the Pope's helicopter lands at the Vatican (and also as Cardinal Bergoglio falls asleep, as an a cappella version) is called "Bella Ciao". It originated as a protest folk song with Italian field workers in the late 19th and early 20th century, and later was adopted as an anthem of the 1943-45 Italian anti-fascist partisan resistance which was primarily composed of communists. "Bella Ciao" has retained a measure of that popularity since after the war up to the present as an anti-fascist anthem of the Italian political left and especially with Italian communists.
  • The movie is based on historical events, including public speeches and published religious debates, but the private conversations between Bergoglio and Ratzinger are mostly based on conjectures. Writer Anthony McCarten commented: "What you always do is you speculate. Hopefully that speculation is based in facts and the truth, and hopefully it's inspired."
  • Like Pope Benedict, Anthony Hopkins is an accomplished pianist and actually plays the piano in this movie.
  • Netflix recreated Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel masterpiece in under 10 weeks after the Vatican denied them access to film the Two Popes.
  • Sir Anthony Hopkins was originally cast as Elliot Carver in "Tomorrow Never Dies" but left after a short time due to the chaotic production. He was replaced by Jonathan Pryce.
  • Premiered at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival in August. It then enjoyed a brief theatrical window before arriving on Netflix in December.
  • A full-size recreation of the Sistine Chapel was recreated in the Cinecitta Studios in Rome. (Actually, it's a fraction bigger - by mere inches - to allow for the placement of cameras.) This reproduction took eight weeks to complete and was created via a "tattoo" of the original. The ink from this was then absorbed onto the plaster.
  • Scenes set in Rome's St Peter's Plaza were completely generated through CGI rather than filming in the actual location.
  • In reality, Anthony Hopkins is an accomplished pianist. That really is him playing the piano in the film. He was just making it up as he went along.
  • Juan Minujín was 43 when he portrayed the younger Bergoglio from his 20s to his late 40s.
  • This came out on Netflix less than a month before the TV mini-series The New Pope (2019) in which Jude Law and John Malkovich also play two Pontiffs.
  • In both instances, Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce are about seven years younger than the real-life characters they portray.
  • Fernando Meirelles was the original choice for director very early in development. When he was first approached, he had to turn down the opportunity, however, as he was deeply embroiled with the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony. This took up two years of his life. When he was done, the screenplay had been completed and he was able to accept the assignment.
  • None of the film was shot in the Vatican as the filmmakers were denied permission to film there.
  • Jonathan Pryce was inclined to reject the role when his agent called with the offer - he wasn't keen on playing a real-life person. Reading Anthony McCarten's script helped change his mind. He was asked on the day that Pope Francis was inaugurated.
  • Fernando Meirelles and Anthony Hopkins previously worked together on 360 (2011).
  • This was the first time that Jonathan Pryce has played a living character.
  • One of the film's signature scenes - when the two Popes walk through a maze - was shot using a drone.
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