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Pope Jack the First

A Screenplay 1999 by Patt Shea and Bud Wiser

©1999 by Patt Shea and Bud Wiser. No part of this literary property shall be copied or offered for sale.


The year was 1294. The College of Cardinals was deadlocked, unable to elect a pope. Desperate, the cardinals plucked a simple monk, Peter of Morrone, from his secluded mountaintop abbey, rode him into Rome on the back of a donkey, and elected him pontiff. It could happen again.






        PETER JENNINGS
    … and so we continue to wait for the
    traditional puff of white smoke.,.

        DAN RATHER
             (same background)
    … the age old signal that a new pope
    has been elected.

        TOM BROKAW
        (same b.g)
    Never has the world’s attention been more
    focused on the selection of St. Peter’s
    successor. Who thought that after such a
    short time the cardinals would be at it
    again?

        JENNINGS
    …The death of the last pope after serving
    such a short time was a shock to the world,

        BROKAW
        (Rather’s voice lip synched)
    Whoever the new pope is, it will fall to
    him to lead the world’s more than one
    billion Catholics into the new century and
    the new millennium.

        RATHER
          (Jennings’ voice)
    … as we gather on this grim, gray December
    day, the twenty-first century is fast
    approaching.

        JENNINGS
          (Jane Pauley’s voice)
    The third millennium is less than a month away.

ST. PETER’S SQUARE

A YOUNG MAN IN THE CROWD

        YOUNG MAN
          (pointing up, excited)
    Is that smoke? White smoke?

The crowd gazes up. The young man busies himself, picking
pockets with both hands.

A phalanx of motorcycles leads a stretch limo on to the Vatican grounds. Its side is emblazoned with the papal crest. The press surges after it. The car pulls up to the papal palace. CARDINAL ANTHONY FALCONARI, papal secretary of state, and his aide, MONSIGNOR RATIGAN, emerge. They push through the crowd and up the stairs. The media close in on their prey.

        REPORTERS
    Your Eminence! Your Eminence! When will we
    have a new pope?

Falconari stops at the top of the steps, turns and looks down on his pursuers. He stands erect, rigid actually in his crimson robe. He has been playing a cardinal for 25 years. He plays it well. He raises one hand slightly and waits.

        FALCONARI
    Soon. Soon. The cardinals are back in conclave.    
    Pray for them.

        ANOTHER REPORTER
    It’s been four months.

        FALCONARI’
    The Holy Spirit works in his own time.

        ANOTHER REPORTER
    Cardinal Falconari. There’s are rumors that     delay is caused by financial crisis in the     Church.

FALCONARI pretends not to hear. He strides into the building, crimson cape flowing.

        DAN RATHER
    … Rumors run rampant in this Vatican City.

        BROKAW
    … Insiders say three of the top contenders
    have withdrawn their names from consideration.

 
        RATHER
    … Poor health is the reason given. Rumor has
     it that the financial problems the new pontiff         will have to face is the real reason.   

INT. VATICAN FOYER AND HALLWAYS

Falconari strides along. Ratigan keeps pace. MONSIGNOR CHARLES THOREAU, Vatican press officer, swings out of his office and hurries to catch up. He’s 45, Madison Avenue in a cassock. They exchange ‘good mornings.’

                     FALCONARI
            When will we have a pope? When? I wish
            I knew,

Ratigan shrugs.

                    FALCONARI (CONT’D)
            This should have been my time. I’ve
             served under two popes. But no. Not now…

Ratigan nods, ‘Yes.’

                    THOREAU
            The press knows we’ve got a problem, Your
             Eminence. They can smell it.

                    FALCONARI
            Get them off our backs, Thoreau. You’re
             the press officer. Issue a statement.

Thoreau looks at him.

                    FALCONARI (CONT’D)
            Take somebody to lunch. Isn’t that what                  you do?
       
                    THOREAU
            And what do I say? ‘Funny thing, nobody
            wants to be pope.’

Falconari charges down the hallway, gesturing angrily.

                    FALCONARI
            There’s much at stake. These are crucial                    decisions we’re confronted with.

INTERIOR VATICAN – LATER

TWO SWISS GUARDS stand alongside a heavy door. A sign on the door: ‘SACRED COLLEGE OF CARDINALS’

INT. CARDINALS CONCLAVE –

We’re inside a CHAMBER with 120 CARDINALS.

ON CARDINAL MARTINEZ

He stands with a folder, a pencil. He leans into another cardinal.

                    CARDINAL MARTINEZ
                    (exasperated)
            You’ve got to decide something. Make up                     your mind.

                    CARDINAL 2
            Okay. Okay.

He anguishes. Others stare at him anxiously.

                    CARDINAL 2
            All right!
                (beat)
            I’ll go with … the Chinese chicken salad                     and the fried dumplings.

He hands the menu in.

                    CARDINAL MARTINEZ
                    (writing)
            All right, that’s forty five orders of                     dumplings. Thirty orders of chicken salad.

He turns to a third cardinal.

                    CARDINAL 1
            Your eminence?

No answer. He’s engrossed in a book.

                    CARDINAL MARTINEZ
            Your Eminence!
                    (louder)
            Cardinal Kalophski!

CARDINAL KALOPHSKI continues reading his book. We see the book’s logo, a stylized Celtic picture of a flying bird and the title:

‘THE FLYING GOOSE NEVER LOOKS BACK’ BY FATHER PATRICK

                    MARTINEZ
            Karl!

                    CARDINAL KALOPHSKI
                    (looking up)
            Anything. A double cheeseburger, French                     fries… and a Diet Coke.

Karl turns to CARDINAL ISHIHARA who is reading the same book – in Japanese, Karl points to a page. Ishihara flips to it. They laugh. Ishihara turns to ANOTHER CARDINAL, who’s reading an Arabic edition. He points to the page. OTHERS lean over. They each have copies of the book in their own language. They laugh and nod their approval.

A FEW HOURS LATER

Several Cardinals are either meditating or napping. Many are still reading ‘THE FLYING GOOSE.’ Next to Cardinal Falconari is ERNESTO CARDINAL GANELLI. He’s stuffing his face with pastry. Falconari leans in,

                    FALCONARI
            This isn’t a book club. All they’ve done                     for weeks is read and re-read that book.

GANNELLI gulps the final bite of pastry and wipes his fingers on his cassock. He tries to swallow.

                    GANNELLI
            I know, Your Eminence. It’s frustrating,                     discouraging actually.

He hustles to stuff papers into his briefcase. A copy of the Goose Book clatters to the floor. Falconari glares at him.

                    GANNELLI
                    (babbling)
            I’m only reading it out of curiosity… to                     see what all the fuss is about.                         Everybody’s reading it. It’s a best                     seller.

                    FALCONARI
                    (coldly)
            I don’t want a book review, Gannelli. I                     want a pope.

                    GANNELLI
            Father Patrick gives a spin to modern                     theology. Listen. ‘How can you look at an                 artichoke and not believe in God?’

Falconari just half listens.

                    FAlCONARI
            The media are getting too nosey. I don’t                 want to have to tell them that nobody                     wants the job because we’re facing                         financial ruin and scandal.

Snatches an Abba-Zabba bar out of his briefcase.

                    FALCONARI (CONT’D)
            Maybe you’d like to tell them that?

                    GANELLI
            No, no….

                    FALCONARI
            Well, Cardinal Ganelli, as Vatican                         treasurer, it seems that would be your                     responsibility.

                    GANELLI
            You’re right. We have to find somebody                     fast.

                    FALCONARI
            Tonight in my office. I want every                         member of the nominating committee… But                     first …
                (takes Ganelli’s book)
CONTINUED:
            We’re getting every copy of this book out                 of this conclave.

ON STACKS OF ‘THE WILD GOOSE NEVER LOOKS BACK’

Half a dozen cardinals are seated around the table. Monsignor Thoreau stands behind Falconari’s chair. The committee is studying 8x10 glossies of candidates. It’s a Hollywood casting session.

                    FALCONARI
                (taking glossy from his
                 briefcase)
            Aldo Cardinal Baccaloni.

They all look at him.

                    CARDINAL MARTINEZ
            He’s so old! He’s losing it.

                    GANELLI
            Past tense. He’s lost it.

                    FALCONARI
            Aldo Baccaloni buys us time. A little time.
            We can handle him. He’s very devout. We tell
            him it’s God’s will, he won’t dare say ‘no.’

                    ISHIHARA
            Well, he does look holy!

They pass the glossy around.

                    THOREAU
            You want ‘holy?’ Take a look at this guy.

He hold up the book. Points to author’s picture.

PHOTOGRAPH OF FATHER PATRICK

A very ascetic looking monk, heavily bearded. His cowl shrouds his face. He could be 70. He stands amidst a flock of sheep.

                   
                   
                    THOREAU
            Put a bird on his shoulder and you’ve got
            St.Francis.

Falconari snatches the book out of Thoreau’s hand and tosses it back on the pile.

                    ISHIHARA
            He’s not even a cardinal.
   
                    THOREAU
            We’ve had a lot of popes who weren’t                     cardinals.   
                (leaning into Falconari)
            You want to get the media off our fannies?
            Give ‘em a big story.

                    FALCONARI’
            Monsignor, we don’t have time.

                    THOREAU
            We want somebody who’s not going to give
            us any trouble, right?

Falconari gestures dismissively.

                    THOREAU (CONT’D)
            This Father Patrick has been holed up in
            an Irish monastery for God-knows-how many
            years. He’s clueless!

                    FALCONARI
            We’re not electing some Irish monk!

                    THOREAU
            He’s not Irish. He’s American, from Erie,                 Pennsylvania.

Falconari glares at him.

                    FALCONARI
            We’re not electing some American monk.

                    GANELLI
            America,that’s where the big bucks are.

                    FALCONARI
            This is the same man who told us the big
            bucks were in derivatives.

                    GANELLI
            One little mistake. Who knew the yen was
            going to tank?

Falconari takes the picture.

                    FALCONARI
            Aldo Cardinal Baccaloni is our man. He
            won’t give us any trouble.

Thoreau and Ganelli have lost.

                    GANELLI
            He’s not going to get us a plugged nickel
            from the Americans.
   
                    FALCONARI
                    (to Ganelli)
            Ernesto, you were Cardinal Baccaloni’s
            student in the seminary. You have the
            honor of telling him.

INT. VATICAN CORRIDOR – DAY

Falconari, Thoreau and Ratigan walk along a wide corridor.

                    FALCONARI
            We just congratulate him, pledge our
            loyalty and ask for his blessing.

Cardinal Ganelli exits a room and walks toward them.

                    FALCONARI
            Did you tell him?

                    GANELLI
            I told him.

                    THOREAU’
            How’d he take it?

                    GANELLI
            Not well.

The door re-opens. TWO MEDICS wheel a gurney past the group.
A sheet covers the body. A red cap rests on the sheet covering the body. They look at Ganelli. He shrugs.

                    FALCONARI
            Baccaloni?   

                    GANELLI
            Baccaloni.

                    THOREAU
            And that leaves Father Patrick.

                    FALCONARI’
                    (cynically)
            If you think you can sell your Father
            Patrick to the Sacred College of Cardinals,
            good luck!

INT. CONCLAVE OF CARDINALS

Falconari glares across the room as Ganelli shows the picture on the Goose Book to a cardinal and whispers in his ear. Martinez and Ishihara do the same. The cardinals look up incredulously. They whisper to three others. Those three whisper to three others… etc. etc. Father Patrick’s picture is passed around. There are cries of “Yes, yes!’ ‘Si!’ ‘Oui’ etc. Applause breaks out. Congratulations are exchanged. Falconari is stunned.

EXT. ST. PETER’S SQUARE – DAY

A white puff of smoke rises. The crowd cheers.

                    CROWD
                (various languages)
            We have a pope! We have a pope!
            A pope! Viva il papa!

We move in on the puff of smoke.

EXT/ WHITE FOG –

The fog lifts revealing a distant hill-top abbey in the Irish countryside. A monk stands at the bottom of the hill. His back is to us. Sheep graze nearby. FATHER PATRICK stops and looks up the crest of the hill.

FR. PATRICKS POINT OF VIEW

A little red cap appears over the crest of the hill, then another and another. Under each cap is a red robe. An army of cardinals swarms over the crest of the hill. They walk toward him.

ON LINE OF CARDINALS

They approach. They kneel and say something. The monk crumples in a faint. The cardinals pick him up and, in an orderly procession, carry him off over the hill.

EXT. THE ABBEY –

Father Patrick stumbles toward a line of limousines. His hair and beard are very long. He carries a small duffel bag. In a daze, he waves goodbye. A DOZEN OTHER MONKS look on, dumbfounded. Father Patrick hugs an old monk, MICHAEL FITZGERALD. Patrick gets in the limo and looks out the rear window as the abbey recedes. FITZGERALD gazes dumb struck after the disappearing cars.

EXT. PAPAL JET PLANE IN FLIGHT

In each window we see a little red beret. In the last window, we see white – the face of Father Patrick staring out.

EXT. ROME AIRPORT – NIGHT

The plane lands.

EXT. ROME STREETS – NIGHT

The papal caravan winds through the city.

INT. PAPAL LIMOUSINE

Patrick stares in awe at the sights of Rome.

EXT. VATICAN – NIGHT

The limousine pulls up to the papal palace. The cheering mob crowds in. The media and the paparazzi surge forward with microphones and cameras. Father Patrick steps out of the car into blinding light and chaos. He still wears the robes of a simple monk. FALCONARI steps forward as others hustle him into the building. Patrick stops,smiles uncertainly, and gives a hesitant ‘two thumbs up.’

                    FALCONARI
                Please. Please. The new pontiff has had a ‘
            grueling trip. Tomorrow, after the                         installation, he’ll have a few words. Thank                 you. Thank you.

The media push forward, but Patrick is gone.

INT. NEW YORK NETWORK NEWS STUDIO

ON JANE PAULEY

                    PAULEY
            Tomorrow he will be the leader of the largest
            congregation in the world.
               
ON ROBERT HAGGER

                    HAGGER
            Some researchers believe that the last pope
            elevated from the ranks of a simple priest
            was Peter or Morrone…

ON LYNN SCHEERER

                    SCHEERER
            … who was taken from his hermitage and crowned
            Pope Celestine the Fifth. That was in 1294.

INT. POPE'S PRIVATE QUARTERS – NIGHT’

The rooms are palatial, ornate and dreary. The walls are covered with dark religious paintings and faded tapestries.’
This I a palace from ages past. Papal robes are hung on stands. Patrick gazes around as he’s led across the room 
by the Vatican hierarchy. He’s totally overwhelmed.

                   

                    FALCONARI
                (pointing everything out)
            These are your private quarters.

They move through a set of double doors.

                    FALCONARI (CONT’D)
            And this is one of your reception areas.
            John the Twenty Third’s favorite.

                    THOREAU
            You’ll meet heads of state here. President
            Kennedy sat on that couch.

Patrick studies a particularly gloomy portrait.

                    FALCONARI
                (reverentially)
            Fourteenth century. St. John the Apostle.

                    PATRICK
            How can you tell?

Falconari just looks at him.

                    THOREAU
            Any questions, Holy Father?

                    PATRICK
            Just one…

Patrick walks around the room. He touches things.
                   
                    PATRICK (CONT’D)
            Why me?

                    FALCONARI
            It was the will of the Holy Spirit.

                    PATRICK
            But I don’t know how to be pope.

                    FALCONARI
            The Holy Spirit will guide you, as he
            guided the cardinals who elected you.
            Trust him. And, trust us.

Thoreau hands Patrick a few stapled papers.

                    THOREAU
            Here’s the schedule for tomorrow’s
            investiture.

                    PATRICK
                    (panicked)
            Tomorrow?

                    FALCONARI
            The world is anxious to see its new pope.

                    THOREAU’
            We’ve actually delayed it a few hours,
            Holy Father.

Patrick looks at him,’

                    THOREAU (CONT’D)
            So we can go live on the ‘Today Show,’
                                    DISSOLVE

Int. POPE;S QUARTERS –

ON A JEWEL CASE CONTAINING SEVERAL CROSSES

A hand picks one up.

                    GANELLI (VOICE OVER)
            This was first worn by Pope Clement the                      Ninth,

Ganelli hands the cross to Patrick.

                    PATRICK
            These are diamonds.

                    GANELLI’
            And sapphires.

Patrick drops the piece back in the box,

                    PATRICK
            I couldn’t wear that.

                    FALCONARI
            It’s tradition. It’s a symbol of the
            office. It’s like your shepherd’s staff,

FALCONARI hands the shepherd’s staff to the pontiff. Patrick checks it for balance and breaks into a fancy twirling routine, The others look on in surprise.

                    PATRICK
            That was my last job … herding sheep,

He leans the staff against the wall.

                    PATRICK (CONT’D)
            Ah, I don’t think I could carry this.

                    GANELLI
            But, it’s the historic sign of the papacy.

                    PATRICK
            Yeah, but people really aren’t sheep, are
            they?

They do not answer.

                    PATRICK
            And do you have to call me ‘Holy Father?’

                    THOREAU
            After tomorrow, you will be ‘His Holiness,                 Pope Gregory the Seventeenth.’

                    FALCONARI
            The synod thought it appropriate. Gregory
            Sixteenth was pope, in 1999, before the Second             Millennium.

                    PATRICK
            I thought I go with my own name. If that’s all             right.

They exchange glances.
                    FALCONARI
            Of course, ‘Patrick.’ ‘Pope Patrick.’ We’ve n                never had a Pope Patrick.

                    PATRICK
            No. ‘Father Patrick’ is my pen name. My real name is ‘Jack.’

                    GANELLI
            Oh, Pope John the
                (he thinks)
            … Twenty-fourth?

                    PATRICK
            No. Not John. ‘Jack.’

                    FALCONARI
            ‘Jack?’

                    PATRICK
            Jack Cleary. That’s my real name.

                    GANELLI
            ‘Pope Jack The First?’

Jack smiles. The group is speechless.

                    PATRICK
            Well, good night.

EXT. VATICAN HALLWAY

Falconari is in shock.

                    FALCONARI
            ‘Pope Jack!’

                    THOREAU
            Well, you have to admit, it is very
            … ah, American.

INT. POPE’S PRIVATE QUARTERS –

Jack has put on the papal robe. He poses in front of a mirror. He gets into it. He twirls. Does a little dance.
He walks to the end of the room and opens a door.

INT. CHAPEL – NIGHT

Jack enters, looks at the altar, statues, etc. He walks to a kneeler, kneels down. He looks up at the altar.

                    JACK
            No disrespect. But I hope you know what
            you’re doing.

EXT. ST. PETER’S SQUARE – DAY

REGIS AND KATHY LEE are fifty feet or so above the procession route. It’s the Rose Parade set up. And they do pre-Rose Parade commentary.

                    REGIS
            It’s a perfect day.
   
                    KATHY
            It’s clear and cool. Crisp actually.

                    REGIS
            Not too crisp. It’s perfect. Perfect,
            What a day for a coronation!

INT. FOYER OUTSIDE POPE’S PRIVATE QUARTERS

Cardinals and  Swiss guards mill about. Falconari checks his watch. Thoreau snaps his cell phone shut.

                    THOREAU
            Americans are glued to their sets.
            Neilsen is predicting a seventy share!

                    FALCONARI
            There won’t be a coronation if that
            barber doesn’t hurry it up.

The barber hurries out. He’s old and nervous.

                    BARBER
            Don’t blame me, Your Eminence. It’s not my
            fault! It’s not my fault!

He rushes off. A rear view of Pope Jack, in white robes as he appears in the doorway.

POPE JACK’S POV

The stunned reactions of cardinals, clergy and guards.

ON POPE JACK THE FIRST

He looks 30 years younger without the beard and long hair. He’s handsome, in his early forties.

                    JACK
            Ready when you are.

INT. A BROADCAST BOOTH

Regis fiddles with his ear piece.

                    REGIS
            We’ve been told that the procession
            has begun across St. Peter’s Square.
            And I think I can hear the trumpets.

ON THE PROCESSION

                    KATHY LEE
            … the new pope has requested that
            Celtic music be played.

                    REGIS
            We should be able to see them any minute.
            Can you see anything, Kathy Lee?

She cranes to look.

                    KATHY LEE
            They’re just coming into view. Yes, it is.
            It’s the Franciscans leading the procession.

                    REGIS (V.O.)
            Eighty or ninety Franciscans. What a sight.
           
ON PROCESSION

                    KATHY LEE (V.O.)
            They’re wearing their traditional brown
            robes, cinched with that white braided rope…                 And they are followed by the Dominicans in                 their glistening white robes.

INT. BROADCAST BOOTH –

                    REGIS
            And here come my men, the Jesuits. Regis is
            a famous Jesuit name. Did you know that,                     Kathy?

                    KATHY LEE
                    (controlled)
            I must have heard that a dozen or so times,
            Reege.

ON PROCESSION

                    REGIS (V.O)
            And here come the cardinals in their red,
            followed by…  here he is, the one we’ve been
            waiting for…
                  (very excited)
            Pope Jack The First… My God! He’s a kid!

                    KATHY (V.O.)
            What’s he doing? He is… tipping his hat to
            the crowd.

                    REGIS (V.O.)
            I’ve seen Notre Dame quarterbacks that look
            older.

ON JACK’S WHITE ROBE –

Everything blurs.

A BLUR OF WHITE

SKIER’S POV

Snow flies. Schussing down a world class run.

ON SKIS, BOOTS, FEMALE LEGS

Twisting, turning, jumping.

ON THE SKIER’S FACE

Mid-thirties, female, beautiful, athletic, determined. After a beat, we realize that the skier’s goggles are not traditional ski wear. They are virtual reality goggles. We’re in a gym. ANN MACKENZIE is on a ski machine. The treadmill beneath her feet slants and yaws and pitches.

Ann flips up the goggles and switches off the machine. She glances up at the wall clock.

ON CLOCK: 7 A.M.

Ann rushes out with a wave to other skiers and exercisers.

                    ANN
            Have to rush. Another humongous day
            ahead.

She dashes out.

INT. ST. PETER’S/PAPAL PROCESSION

The papal procession ascends the altar. The cardinals and the new pope assume their places.

REVEAL TV SET

                    MATT LAUER (V.O.)
            Pope Jack The First has just ascended
            the altar of St. Peter’s for the first
            time.

                    KATHY COURIC
            One of many firsts. It is also the first
            time the new pope has ever been in St.                     Peter’s.

We’re in…

A HEALTH CLUB LOCKER ROOM/LOUNGE AREA – MORNING

Women in sweats and towels huddle around the TV watching the Today Show’s telecast of the papal ceremonies. Ann dashes by from the shower without glancing.

EXT. NEW YORK STREETS

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS EVERYWHERE

Ann tries frantically to get a cab. The city is at a standstill. Gridlock. Crowds watch portable TV’s and
monitors in store windows. Images of the coronation circle the Times’ Building. Ann dashes along the streets. We catch
glimpses of the ceremony on TV monitors.

ON TV MONITOR

We SEE the interior of St. Peter’s.
               
                    MATT LAUER (V.O.)
            The high point of this ceremony will be
            the crowning of Pope Jack The First by the
            senior Cardinal Deacon, Anthony Cardinal
            Falconari.

ON JACK AND ANN

as he is crowned

                    COURIC (V.O.)
            The world has a new pope, Pope Jack The First,             the Supreme Pontiff, Bishop of Rome and head
            of the college of bishops.

                    LAUER
            So, the first American pope, a man from Erie,                 Pennsylvania, Jesuit educated, Peace Corps                 volunteer, a priest out of an Irish abbey, has             been crowned Pope Jack The First.

EXT. DAZZLING NEW YORK SKYSCRAPER – MORNING

Ann Mackenzie hurries along the street. She charges past a STREET PERSON with his cup out. Ann passes him. She stops. She mutters to herself and dashes back and gives him a bill.
She rushes into the building.

INT. LOBBY OFFICE BUILDING – DAY

Ann sails in. A couple of GUARDS and a DELIVERY BOY are watching TV.

                    GUARD
            An American pope. Have you seen him, Miss
            Mackenzie?

Ann hurries to the elevator.

                    ANN
            I haven’t had time, Ralph.
        (she presses the elevator button)
            I’ve got to be in court today.

                    DELIVERY LADY
            I might convert for this babe. We’re
            talking world class cute here.

INT. VATICAN CORRIDOR

The new pope, still in shock, is surrounded by a red sea of
cardinals and other clerics.

                    FALCONARI
            Your Holiness, the people are waiting.

                    JACK
            What do I do?

                    FALCONERI
            Wave, just wave.

He ushers Jack out on to the balcony.

EXT. ST.PETER’S SQUARE – DAY

ON BALCONY

Jack walks out on to the balcony. He waves.
       
ON ST. PETER’S SQUARE

People below cheer.

ON BALCONY

                    JACK
            They’re so far away. Why don’t I go
            down there?

                    FALCONARI
            Just wave.

Jack continues to wave. He’s enjoying himself.


INT. ANN’S LAW FIRM/HALLWAY
The name on the door reads: WILLETT, BODINE, SHAEFFER AND MACKENZIE, ATTORNEYS AT LAW. She beeps the door and enters.

INT. A CORNER ‘POWER’ OFFICE – DAY

The bank of windows looks out on New York City from what is
at least the 23d floor. A CLEANING LADY, her vacuum idle, sits in a chair gaping at the TV. Ann charges in. The cleaning lady is flustered.

                    CLEANING LADY
            El Papa.

                    ANN
                   (in Spanish)
            It’s okay, Maria. Sit down. Watch your pope.

Ann glances at the monitor. St. Peter’s Square is jammed.

ANN’S POV

                    COMMENTATOR (V.O.)
            And so the new pope, Jack The First, is 
            being cheered by the crowds.

ON DISTANT FIGURE ON THE PAPAL BALCONY

Ann pauses to watch.

He waves to the crowd. His hat falls off. He holds it and laughs.

INT. ANN’S OFFICE

Ann reels back and collapses into a chair. She points at the monitor, speechless.

                    CLEANING LADY
            Si, El Papa. El Papa.

                    ANN
                     (gasping)
            He can’t be the pope. That’s my husband!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And of course he is. And that is the dilemma and the story. Gradually, we learn that Jack and Ann are each sure that the other is dead… killed in a Central American uprising. Without telling anyone her secret, Ann flies to Rome. She wants her husband back. Now the pope too has a secret… and a dilemma that is unique in the history of the modern papacy.

The film is a love story unlike any other… a romantic comedy set in the Vatican.

The premise is simple. The pope has a wife no one knows about. What does he do? What would you do?

           







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