Actor Who Will Play John Paul II Gets Papal Advice

Piotr Adamczyk Forgets His Lines at an Audience

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 17, 2004 ( John Paul II had some lighthearted advice for the Polish actor who will portray him in the TV miniseries “Karol Wojtyla: Story of a Man Who Became Pope.”

“You are crazy to make a film about me,” the Holy Father reportedly said when he received Piotr Adamczyk in audience.

The account of the meeting between the Pope and Adamczyk, as well as with the producer of the television series, appeared today in Italy, complete with 10 pages of photographs, in the magazine Sorrisi e Canzoni.

Adamczyk, a well-known actor in Poland, revealed details of his meeting with the Pope.

“When I learned that I would be meeting with the Pope, I was overwhelmed, but at the same time I was somewhat worried: What could I say to him?” the actor recalled.

“I must interpret his role and I had dozens of questions to ask him,” Adamczyk said. “But when the moment came and his secretary introduced me with the words: ‘Holy Father, this is the man who will interpret Karol Wojtyla,’ for the first time in my life I forgot the text.”

In the end, the only thing the actor was able to say was: “I am very happy, I am really very happy.”

Nevertheless, Adamczyk was discreet about revealing details of the meeting. The film’s producer, Pietro Valsecchi, is somewhat more explicit: “The Holy Father looked straight in Piotr’s eyes and said: ‘You are crazy to make a film about me. But, what have I done?'”

The film, which has a budget of more than 10 million euros ($12.9 million), is being produced by Taodue Film, and will be broadcasted on Channel 5 in Italy this spring. The producer hopes to sell the television rights to channels worldwide.

Valsecchi said that he is already planning new episodes in addition to the two he is filming.

The television series includes some of the best-known Italian actors, such as Raoul Bova, Ennio Fantastichini and Violante Placido. The director is Giacomo Battiato. For some scenes, more than 12,000 extras were used.

Piotr Adamczyk acknowledges that playing the part of the Pope is difficult.

The “fact that he is a real person, especially contemporary, is a problem for an actor, especially if he is Polish,” he said.

“To try to imitate his gestures and words might prove a pitfall,” Adamczyk added. “It must be clear that the film is not a documentary but fiction, with which we try to offer the climate and atmosphere of those times, narrating as a novel the life and works of a person who has influenced history.”

Scenes for the film are now being shot in Krakow.

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