Ridley Scott filming Vatican series in Rome

British movie director Sir Ridley Scott is in Rome to film a pilot project for a TV series based on a New York archbishop in the Vatican.

Under the working title “The Portrait” the project's script was written by Paul Attanasio — the screenwriter for the popular American medical drama "House" — and filming in Rome will be directed by Scott over a period of five to six weeks.

The cast is known to include Kyle Chandler who plays the fictional Cardinal Thomas Duffy; Anna Friel as the cardinal’s sister; and Bruno Ganz as the fictional Pope Sixtus VI.

The director and his team are also scheduled to cast “American looking” Italian and Rome-based international actors, in minor roles and as extras, on Friday 29 March, possibly in Cinecittà.

The project is expected to explore the spirituality, power and politics in the inner world of the contemporary Catholic Church.

Scott, who is famous for films such as “Alien”, "Blade Runner" and "The Gladiator", said the interiors would be filmed in Rome, including the recreated New York residence of the cardinal.

The completed pilot project will then be evaluated before it is decided to turn it into a full series.

On 22 March Scott was received by the mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno who welcomed his presence in the capital and presented him with a statuette of the Capitoline Wolf, symbol of Rome.