Jonathan Pryce has joked that Sir Anthony Hopkins was “rankled” by the fact he was below him on the call sheet for their new film.
The duo star as the liberal future Pope Francis and the conservative Pope Benedict respectively in The Two Popes, which sees the two men discuss topics ranging including football, faith and food and features Pryce at the top of the billing.
Arriving at the movie’s premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, Pryce told the PA news agency: “The call sheets, when you’re called for the following day’s work your number represents how important you are to the film, and I was number one and he was number two and it rankled with him a little.
“But we had breakfast together most mornings and he would refer to me as ‘morning, number one’ and I would say ‘morning, number two’ and now on emails he signs off as ‘Sir number two’, still trying to get one up on me.”
Pryce added that he expects the pope will “probably ignore” the film but added: “If he sees it I hope he’s amused, I hope he isn’t angry and I hope that he understands what we have tried to portray is the essence of the man.
He continued: “There was talk of my meeting him when we were filming in Rome so maybe that will happen now that we have finished the film, that would be nice.”
Discussing his preparation for the role he said: “The script itself is a rich source of inspiration and as soon as he had been made pope the newspapers were full of him and I read about him over the months and years and everything he was doing, liked what he was trying to do.
“And the physical side of it, it helps that I’m supposed to look a bit like him, although I deny it, and I watched lots of videos of him to get the kind of essence of the man and how he moved and how softly spoken he was and all things like that.
“I respond to him more for the social things, the awareness of how divided we are as countries and how we need to think more about others, that is all he’s trying to propagate, caring for your fellow man and I agree with that.”
The Two Popes will be available on Netflix in December.