Anna Friel

Anna Friel, Matthew Goode, Kyle Chandler Set for Showtime’s The Vatican

Anna Friel
Anna Friel

Showtime announced yesterday that the beautiful and talented Golden Globe nominee Anna Friel (“Pushing Up Daisies”) has been added to the cast of The Vatican.”

Now that Pope Benedict XVI has said “Ciao Baby!” and the search is on for his successor, nothing could be more timely than the Showtime thriller, which will go into production this year and hopefully go on to be a series.

When I spoke to Matthew Goode recently at the “Stoker” junket, he revealed some tantalizing details about the hotly anticipated drama, which will be directed by Sir Ridley Scott. Goode will play Papal Secretary Bernd Koch. For more details, click through to Showbiz 411.

The script will be written by Paul Attanasio, who was Oscar-nominated for “Quiz Show” and “Donnie Brasco.”

Previously announced cast members Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) will star as Cardinal Thomas Duffy, and German actor Sebastian Koch (“A Good Day to Die Hard”) will play the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Marco Malerba.

Friel will play Cardinal Duffy’s New York hard partying sister, Kayla. The siblings are described as “close” and “loving,” but Kayla’s wild girl ways are a liability for someone aspiring to be Pope.

Friel will add some sexual sizzle to the show! I saw her on Broadway in 1999 in “The Closer” and she was sensational. (Unfortunately, the part went to Natalie Portman when Mike Nichols directed the 2004 film version.)

Matthew Goode
Matthew Goode

“The Vatican” is being pitched by Showtime as a contemporary thriller about spirituality, power and politics, “set against the modern-day intrigue and political machinations within the Catholic Church.” They also promise that, “The Vatican” will explore “the relationships and rivalries as well as the mysteries and miracles behind one of the world’s most hidden institutions.” Works for us!

Ridley Scott, who was also a producer of “Stoker,” with his late brother Tony, is also producing “The Vatican.”

At the “Stoker” junket, Goode was asked how active Tony Scott was as a producer on “Stoker,” his last project. Goode said, “Tony, God rest his soul, was not around, and neither was Ridley, but they were obviously behind the scenes.”

Goode landed the part as Bernd Koch in “The Vatican” as a result of his audition for another Ridley Scott project, “The Counselor.” Goode said he was very close to getting a part in “The Counselor,” which has an amazing cast, including Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt, but that screenwriter Cormac McCarthy (“No Country for Old Men”), ruled him out, saying, “’You’re too young,’ which was slightly depressing,” Goode said.

The 34-year-old actor was told, however, that Ridley Scott really liked him, but “I never thought anything would happen again, and then low and behold, within a short time period, he was like, ‘I’d love you to be in this.”


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