Friday, July 1, 2005


British actor Sir Ian Holm is to play Pope John Paul II in a four-hour television mini-series. He will portray the late Pontiff from his 1978 elevation to the papacy until his deah, and a younger actor will play out the role of Karol Wojtyla's earlier years.

The mini-series will cover topics like his time as a student in Poland during the war, the assassination attempt in 1981, and even his Parkinson's Disease. I'm not sure how the script has been structured, but my suggestion would be to do all the earlier years material as flashbacks. Otherwise, we'd have to wait about an hour before Sir Ian Holm finally shows up.

However it's presented, the script has already been vetted by Vatican historians. Of course, they're probably far from unbiased, so I hope it was also checked out by more independent experts.

Then again, those Vatican historians will probably have the final say if the producers of the mini-series want to stay in their good graces. Otherwise they might find that the permission they were granted to film in St Peter's Square and its surroundings revoked. As a fictional character, Pope John Paul II will be represented in the Toobworld Crossover Hall of Fame by Gene Greytak, who played the role in so many TV show episodes.

But there will now be three major presentations of John Paul's life in the TV Universe in biographical TV movies and mini-series. Sir Ian Holm joins Albert Finney and Piotr Adamczyk in assuming the mantle. And the arnice, the alb, the cincture, the maniple, the stole, the chasuble, the zucchetto, the mitre, and the fanon.

(I just flashed on this video image of ZZ Top helping the Pope become a sharp-dressed man!)

So I figure that Finney, Adamczyk, and Holm will each be sent off on missionary work to represent the TV Pope in different TV dimensions.

Thank God for 'Sliders'!


PS: Not that Peter Jackson will ever read this, but should all the legal entanglements get cleared up for the filming of "The Hobbit" as a prequel to his LOTR trilogy, he might want to at least take a look to see who gets cast as the younger Wojtyla in this production. I'm sure the producers of the mini-series will casting more for someone who resembles Sir Ian Holm than someone who looks like a younger version of the Pope. And that actor should then be considered for playing the younger Bilbo.

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