I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly articulate the pervasive, illicit thrills I got watching the official trailer for The New Pope, HBO’s upcoming papacy drama that’s an extension of previous papacy drama The Young Pope. Like The Young Pope, The New Pope features returning writer/director Paolo Sorrentino and star Jude Law. But this time, they’ve got a John Malkovich to contend with. And honey: Malkovich has been let off the leash.
His John Paul III, the titular new pope, is full of quiet charisma, shocking one-liners (after a reverent photoshoot is completed, he quips, “What, no nudes?”), and the best smoky eyeliner since Zendaya on fellow HBO series Euphoria. He seems less interested in “spreading the love of Christ and keeping the traditions of Catholicism” than “holding on to delicious power no matter what.” But he’s got a competitor for the throne: Law, returning as Pius XIII. He wants that pointy hat back, fam. And it looks like he’ll do anything to get it, waging a war for power as his followers break one of the 10 commandments by idolizing and revering him.
Beyond Law and Malkovich, The New Pope will feature an eclectic cast including Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson. Sorrentino’s eye for arresting images and stunning color schemes is on full display in this wackadoo trailer, and his dialogue, co-written with Umberto Contarello, gobsmacks with pointed barbs and delicious daggers (“I am the new pope,” howls Malkovich at one moment, and I tend to believe him). If you find normal costume, prestige dramas like The Crown hard to watch without falling asleep, The New Pope is gonna give you that soapy goodness you need. My goodness, I cannot reiterate how much I find this trailer to be an absolute banger!