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CBS plans miniseries on late pope

Lynn Elber Associated Press

An upcoming CBS miniseries about Pope John Paul II is a “papal page turner,” the network’s programming chief says.

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said the film, from the producers of the network’s 2000 miniseries “Jesus,” will focus on the late pope’s life and times. No air date has been announced.

“It’s a very exciting story. He’s a great character,” Tassler told the Television Critics Association this week.

The Polish-born Karol Wojtyla lived a rich and heroic life in turbulent periods, including World War II, she said. The movie will dramatize how he received his calling to join the priesthood and his long reign as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

John Paul II died April 2.

Another made-for-TV movie, “Karol, A Man Who Became Pope,” already has aired in Europe.

“There’s something relatable and very heroic about him,” Tassler said.

Cary Elwes (“Saw,” “The Princess Bride”) will play the young Wojtyla. Ian Holm (who played Bilbo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings”) portrays the pope in his later years.

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