Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles hopes to watch his latest The Two Popes with Pope Francis but admits it is tough task as the Vatican shared a "very distant relationship" with the film.
The Netflix film stars Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, as Pope Benedict and the future Pope Francis respectively, who must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.
Fernando was asked whether the Vatican collaborated with him on the film or whether he met the Pope for the project.
"I wish! But we couldn't. The Vatican is a very closed organisation. It was very difficult... We couldn't use their facilities. So we built our own. All the places that should be Vatican are the palaces in Rome, which are very easy to find. Places which feel like the Vatican.
"At the end of the process, the Vatican allowed us to use images. They gave us the footage of Pope John Paul II's funeral. In some ways, they supported us but not officially. They didn't want to get involved. They neither wanted to approve nor refuse. They had a very distant relationship," the director said during the masterclass at the ongoing JIO MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star on Tuesday.
Fernando said Netflix is currently trying to hold a screening inside the Vatican but even if it doesn't come to fruition, he will respect their decision.
"I hope Pope Francis watches the film. Even if he does, he won't tell if he has seen it. It's a shame. I'd love to watch the film with him but it's not going to happen I guess.
"I think we have already screened it to people from the Vatican but outside of the Vatican, in Rome. We would like to have a screening inside the Vatican. It's really up to them. I will respect whatever they decide."
Written by Anthony McCarten, based on his 2017 play The Pope, the film will open in theaters by November end, followed by digital streaming on Netflix in December.
Fernando, who helmed the acclaimed City of God and The Constant Gardener, has been predominantly making films in Portuguese language.
The 63-year-old director said he had the option of crossing over to Hollywood but he instead chose to have a "life".
"At some point I had to choose if I wanted to be an international director or if I wanted a life. My option was to get a life! I was offered really big films, some of them you've seen in Hollywood, but I would have to almost live abroad. I have deep roots in Brazil. Big family, kids and grandsons...
"So I decided to stay in Brazil and also to be able to work in Portuguese. I speak English but it's not the same. I understand English but I don't feel it like Portuguese. There's a subtle difference... I've done a lot of TV series in Brazil, not films, and now I've decided to come back. So, here I am," he added.
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