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When your career has been as lauded as that of Steven Spielberg and you have as much power as he does to get films made, it’s not difficult to come by film projects that you want to jump right into. Such seems to be the case, since he's already found the next movie he’s going to direct.
Steven Spielberg will next direct The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara early in 2017, for release later that year, reports Deadline. Actor Mark Rylance, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar earlier this year for another Spielberg project, Bridge of Spies, and who also takes on the title character in Spielberg’s The BFG (due in theaters on July 1) will headline the movie as Pope Pius IX.
The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara will be based on the 1997 non-fiction book of the same name which was, in turn, inspired by a real life case in Bologna, Italy which began in 1858. The case centered around a six-year-old boy, Edgardo Mortara, who was taken from his Jewish family by the Papal States. Bologna’s inquisitor had heard that a household employee of the Mortara family had secretly baptized the boy as a baby when she thought he was about to die. The decision was made that this baptism made Edgardo Catholic, and since the Papal States had outlawed Christian children being raised in homes of other faiths, the order was given that Edgardo should be taken and raised by the church.
Pope Pius IX held the child under his protection and Edgardo grew up Catholic. The Pope also denied continued pleas for the boy to be returned to his family. Edgardo trained as a priest in Rome, and was later ordained in France at the age of 21. International and domestic outrage followed the case, and for many in Italy it spoke to everything that was wrong with the idea of the Papal States, and it has often been said that the case helped lead to the downfall of pontifical rule and eventual Italian unification.
Whew. That is deep. And, it sounds perfect for a serious, non-special effects heavy Steven Spielberg film, and an almost definite Oscar contender. The unbelievably well-known director, producer and writer has such a strong career history that few people, even those who don’t have any particular interest in following such things, don’t know who he is. He’s directed 56 films, with his first recognizable credit being an episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. in 1970. He’s best known for his big budget spectaculars, but has often filmed smaller, more personal stories, even if they are surrounded by his larger than life aesthetic. He’s responsible for The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, War Horse and Lincoln.
Well, the combination of Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance seems to be a fine one, indeed, and we can’t wait to see how The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara turns out.