“The response from all sorts of areas to this film has been quite unlike anything I’ve been involved with before,” exclaims Jonathan Pryce about his critically-acclaimed drama “The Two Popes.” The two-time Tony winner stars as Pope Francis opposite Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict for the two pontiffs debating issues of politics and theology. The film has been nominated for four Golden Globe awards, including a Best Drama Actor nomination for Pryce, and could be a serious contender at this year’s Oscars. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The Netflix film portrays Francis as a reluctant leader with a controversial past in his native Argentina as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. Pryce sees that reluctance as part of what makes Francis such a success as pope. “It was a new awakening for him,” he says. “It’s a new life and a time when he could put into effect all the things he believed in, which weren’t necessarily a part of the church, but part of what he could do to change society.”
“The Two Popes” gave Pryce a chance to work with Hopkins for the first time, and Pryce confesses to some trepidation when it came to working with his fellow Welshman. “I was kind of like a fan in a way,” Pryce admits. “I think I allowed it to work into how we were working together in the scene in that Bergoglio is quite wary of [Ratzinger] when we start those scenes together. Slowly that friendship grows and they become more comfortable in each other’s presence. It did mirror what happened with me and [Hopkins]. We became great friends.”
Pryce admits that he has been surprised by the film’s impact. However, he sees the film’s depiction of two men debating radically different viewpoints as part of its relevance, particularly in today’s fractured political climate. “The idea that you can talk with compassion about things that you quite vehemently disagree with is very important now,” Pryce explains. “There is a sense of optimism that we can do something as citizens to change our lives.”
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