A follow-up to Sorrentino’s The Young Pope is coming

Paolo Sorrentino, the Oscar-winning film director who scored a small-screen hit with "The Young Pope", is to make a follow-up series called "The New Pope."

A follow-up to Sorrentino's The Young Pope is coming
Actor Jude Law (L) and director Paolo Sorrentino attend the premiere of The Young Pope. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Distributor Fremantle announced Tuesday that the new series, a joint production of HBO and Sky, will go into production in Italy later this year with a screenplay written by Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello.

Casting will begin soon.

The role of pontiff was played in the critically and commercially successful first series by Jude Law but there was no immediate word on whether the English actor would reprise what may well be an older role.

In “The Young Pope“, which premiered at last year's Venice film festival, Law plays a fictional first American pope called Lenny Belardo as a chain-smoking, Machiavellian character.

The series, which also starred Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando and James Cromwell, also included many surreal sequences that were well received by audiences not necessarily used to the whims of European arthouse cinema.

Sorrento was the director of 2013's “The Great Beauty”, which won the Oscar for best foreign language film at the 2014 Academy awards.

READ ALSO: Texting during meals is the start of war, pope tells young Italians

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Why Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky date in Italy

Unlucky for some, but not for Italians. Here's why today's date isn't a cause for concern in Italy - but Friday the 17th is.

Why Friday the 13th isn't an unlucky date in Italy

When Friday the 13th rolls around, many of us from English-speaking countries might reconsider any risky plans. And it’s not exactly a popular date for weddings in much of the western world.

But if you’re in Italy, you don’t need to worry about it.

There’s no shortage of strongly-held superstitions in Italian culture, particularly in the south. But the idea of Friday the 13th being an inauspicious date is not among them.

Though the ‘unlucky 13’ concept is not unknown in Italy – likely thanks to the influence of American film and TV – here the number is in fact usually seen as good luck, if anything.

The number 17, however, is viewed with suspicion and Friday the 17th instead is seen as the unlucky date to beware of.

Just as some Western airlines avoid including the 13th row on planes, you might find number 17 omitted on Italian planes, street numbering, hotel floors, and so on – so even if you’re not the superstitious type, it’s handy to be aware of.

The reason for this is thought to be because in Roman numerals the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Latin word VIXI, meaning ‘I have lived’: the use of the past tense apparently suggests death, and therefore bad luck. It’s less clear what’s so inauspicious about Friday.

So don’t be surprised if, next time Friday 17th rolls around, you notice some Italian shops and offices closed per scaramanzia’.

But why then does 13 often have a positive connotation in Italy instead?

You may not be too surprised to learn that it’s because of football.

Ever heard of Totocalcio? It’s a football pools betting system in which players long tried to predict the results of 13 different matches.

There were triumphant calls of ho fatto tredici! – ‘I’ve done thirteen’ – among those who got them all right. The popular expression soon became used in other contexts to mean ‘I hit the jackpot’ or ‘that was a stroke of luck!’

From 2004, the number of games included in Totocalcio rose to 14, but you may still hear winners shout ‘ho fatto tredici’ regardless.

Other common Italian superstitions include touching iron (not wood) for good luck, not toasting with water, and never pouring wine with your left hand.