German actress Johanna Wokalek (“Barefoot”) will replace Franke Potente as the 9th-century female pontiff in “Pope Joan.”
The change is the latest in a long litany of delays, talent changes and lawsuits that have plagued Constantin Film’s adaptation of Donna Cross’ international bestseller.
The only movie about a fictional pope I can remember enjoying was The Shoes of the Fisherman, and that fiction was partially vindicated by reality in any event. But this “Pope Joan” bullshit… there’s no excuse for this.
Two notes of interest. First: the article simply refers to “Pope Joan” as “the 9th-century female pontiff,” as though this ever actually happened. Thanks, Reuters.
Second: John Goodman was slated to play a “Pope Sergius,” though he has since pulled out. This likely refers to Sergius II, who reigned from 844 to 847 (just prior to when “Pope Joan” is falsely said to have taken the throne). Would this mean that the filmmakers would include some mention of the Saracens who sacked Rome during Sergius’ pontificate, in the autumn of 846? Or would that fly unacceptably in the face of the conventional wisdom of the Crusades being a wholly unprovoked assault on a people and culture that never did the west any harm?
Founder, grim project. Founder.