Production begins in Lithuania on ABC's TV movie about the Pope

MUMBAI: Production has begin in Lithuania on the television movie Have No Fear The Life Of Pope John Paul II for US broadcaster ABC



The telefilm Will star Thomas Kretschman The Pianist as the Pope, As Well as Bruno Ganz and Joachim de Almeida.

In this dramatisation, viewers will see, for the first time, not only the spiritual leader's remarkable public life on the world stage, but also the very intimate moments that epitomized his great humanity -- his passions, regrets, frustrations, triumphs and sorrows. Born in 1920 in Wadowice, Poland, Karol "Lolek" Wojtyla was a bright, deeply faithful youth who loved theatre and school, but suffered the loss of his parents and only sibling before he reached adulthood.

During World War II, he saw the deportation of Jewish childhood friends, which had a lasting effect on him and shaped his views on Fascism and anti-Semitism. In defiance of the German occupation, he staged his own political plays while risking his life, secretly studying at seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1946, and his great intellect impressed his superiors; he was made a bishop in Poland at just 38 years old, the youngest bishop in the country.

Meanhwile Ganz's character Cardinal Wyszynski the head of the Polish Church, was initially skeptical of this young intellectual, but the man who would become Pope proved to be Poland's strongest ally in the fight against Communism and helped give rise to the Solidarity movement. Wojtyla worked hand-in-hand with the beloved Cardinal throughout his life.



Wojtyla's ascendancy through the Church hierarchy was rapid. He participated in Vatican II, rising to Archbishop, then Cardinal. After the death of Pope John Paul I, who was only leader for 33 days, he was elected to become Pope, the first ever from Poland and the youngest appointed in over 100 years.

A man of great intellectual and physical vigor, he survived an assassination attempt and later met with his attacker in prison, pardoning the man. The Pope championed causes thought to be liberal and conservative -- asking forgiveness for the Church's missteps through history, while upholding the Church's traditional stances on the right to life, homosexuality and the ordination of women.

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