Mark Rylance 'to play a pope in new Steven Spielberg film'
British Oscar winner Mark Rylance will play a pope in a new Steven Spielberg film, according to reports.
It follows the pair's collaboration for Bridge Of Spies, the Cold War espionage thriller for which Rylance was honoured at the Academy Awards.
The upcoming project, titled The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara, tells the true story of a young Jewish boy who in the mid-19th Century was forcibly taken from his Italian parents to be raised a Christian.
The ensuing struggle pitted the Catholic Church against modernising forces in Italy at the time and became a cause celebre that attracted attention from across the Western world.
The 56-year-old is understood to be poised to play Pope Pius IX who refused to return the boy to his parents. Spielberg is expected to begin filming in early 2017.
Rylance will appear on screens again in 2016 in Spielberg's blockbuster interpretation of The BFG - in which he will play Roald Dahl's benevolent giant.
The actor, who scooped the supporting role Oscar for Bridge Of Spies, also won plaudits for his turn as Thomas Cromwell in the 2015 hit BBC series Wolf Hall.