UK & World News
Hitler Actor Bruno Ganz To Play Pope On TV
An actor best known for playing Hitler is to take on the role of the Pope in a US television drama.
Bruno Ganz will play the fictional Pope Sixtus VI in The Vatican, a show for the American Showtime network.
The Swiss actor received praise for his part in 2004 film Downfall, which told the story of Hitler's final days in his Berlin bunker.
But now the 71-year-old will star in director Ridley Scott's take on the "relationships and rivalries ... behind one of the world's most hidden institutions".
A pilot episode is currently in production and if it proves successful a full series is likely to be made.
Showtime says Ganz's character will be of German ancestry, which draws parallels with the recently retired former pope, Benedict XVI.
"(He) is an unassuming and introspective caretaker of the Church, who struggles with his own legacy, and how history will judge his papacy," says the US network.
The show was approved before this week's election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the first non-European pope for more than a millennium.
However the decision to reveal Ganz as the lead character seems to have been well-timed.
The show also marks the first time that Prometheus and Gladiator director Scott has taken charge of a TV pilot.
Ganz's ability to convincingly play powerful figures is well recognised.
He won multiple awards for his intense portrayal of Hitler, with one of the scenes becoming a YouTube meme and spawning many tongue-in-cheek subtitled versions.