Amid controversy, protestations, and alleged problems related to the showrunner, ‘The Vatican’ has been scrapped by Showtime following the creation of a pilot.
Described as a contemporary thriller that followed power, politics, and spirituality within the Catholic Church, ‘The Vatican’ had some impressive names attached to it in front of and behind the camera, which lends its unceremonious dismissal some pause.
Kyle Chandler (‘Friday Night Lights’) was set to play New York Cardinal Thomas Duffy with Anna Friel as his sister, Bruno Ganz as Pope Sixtus VI, and an ensemble cast that included Sebastian Koch, Matthew Goode, and Ewen Bremner.
What’s more, Ridley Scott helmed the pilot for his TV directorial debut.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, the inaugural episode of ‘The Vatican’ saw issues after problematic reshoots and the departure of showrunner Paul Attansio.
It stands to reason that the show was canned due to creative issues rather than any concern about the nature of the content. Showtime is not subject to rigid guidelines and censors, and has even dabbled in some relatively controversy with the historic and religious drama ‘The Borgias.’
Considering the people involved and the past of successes of the network, it’s surprising to see the show fall by the wayside. It’s especially so considering the recent embrace (and some success) of religious stories, whether on television (‘The Bible’), in theatres (the forthcoming ‘Noah’), or in literature (everything Dan Brown writes).
At least for now, the story remains behind closed doors, though there will still be those holding out hope for something close to a Robert Langdon serialized story – the movies did not do his stories justice.