As Robin would say, Holy Screen Credit! Of all the films scheduled to be shown at the Venice Film Festival (beginning Aug. 27), the most intriguing has to be Our God’s Brother, director Krzysztof Zanussi’s spiritual drama about a 19th-century aristocrat who sacrifices his fortune helping the poor. Setting the film apart: The script was adapted from a 1952 play by Karol Wojtyla — more commonly known these days as Pope John Paul II. ”I don’t know if you can find a [screenwriter] as well-known as this one,” deadpans Brother star Scott Wilson (G.I. Jane).
Seems that before he joined the priesthood, the future pontiff had written and directed a number of plays in his native Poland. Zanussi, a renowned Polish filmmaker, has long had a fascination with these early works. In 1996, Zanussi went to the Vatican and received the Pope’s blessing to adapt Brother into a movie. His Holiness even met with the filmmakers during a visit to Krakow in June. (The Pope will screen the film later this month.) ”He told me it was a great responsibility to play this role,” recalls a starstruck Wilson, who got the Holy Father to sign a Brother script. ”It was a hell of an experience. Wait. Don’t print that.”