Pope Francis to make acting debut in 'Beyond the Sun'

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Pope Francis Will Make History With His Feature Film Debut in 'Beyond the Sun'

Pope Francis will play himself in the new religious movie "Beyond the Sun," marking his acting debut and the first time that a Pope has appeared in a feature film.

"Beyond the Sun" — from Ambi Pictures — is a family adventure based on the Gospels. Pope Francis asked the filmmakers to make a movie that communicated Jesus' message to children.

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AMBI co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi will finance and produce the film. Graciela Rodriguez wrote the screenplay and will co-produce with Gabriel Leybu. Monsignor Eduardo Garcia will be Pope Francis' advisor.

All profits from the film will be donated to Argentinean charities El Alemendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, which aid at-risk children and young adults.

Iervolino made his first film in his hometown of Cassino, Italy, at age 15.

"Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words," he said. "This is not just a movie for us, it's a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope."

Bacardi said, "It is a great honor for Andrea and I to have the opportunity to work with His Holiness, Pope Francis, to spread the awareness of his message, through this film. We will make a movie everyone involved with can be proud of. Not only will families from around globe enjoy this film and be entertained, but they will be moved."

See 10 of Pope Francis's most provocative quotes below:

11 PHOTOS
10 of Pope Francis’s Most Provocative Quotes
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Pope Francis to make acting debut in 'Beyond the Sun'

"Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God! War is not to be waged in the name of God!"

October 8, 2014, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Women in the church are more important than bishops and priests."

June 28, 2013, on a flight to Rome

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits — but no."

January 19, 2015, on a flight to Rome

(Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

"I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful ... I see the church as a field hospital after battle."

September 30, 2013, interview, America magazine

 (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

"I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation."

October 1, 2013, interview, La Repubblica newspaper

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’ If a computer breaks it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs and dramas of so many people end up being considered normal."

June 5, 2013, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

"Perhaps you were mad, perhaps plates flew, but please remember this: never let the sun go down without making peace! Never, never, never!"

February 14, 2014, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Do you open your hearts to the memories that your grandparents pass on? Grandparents are like the wisdom of the family, they are the wisdom of a people."

October 26, 2013, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"True love is both loving and letting oneself be loved. It is harder to let ourselves be loved than it is to love." 

January 18, 2015, Manila, Philippines

 (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

"Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads ... to those who have quit or are indifferent."

September 30, 2013, interview, America magazine

(AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
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Principal photography is slated to begin early this year in Italy. Ambi will oversee worldwide distribution for "Beyond the Sun" through its Los Angeles-based international sales division.

Ambi's slate includes a remake of Christopher Nolan's "Memonto"; "Lamborghini – The Legend," a biopic on Lamborghini founder Ferruccio Lamborghini; "Septembers of Shiraz," starring Salma Hayek and Adrien Brody; "This Beautiful Fantastic," starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson; the Federico Fellini documentary "The Man of La Dolce Vita"; and James Franco's "In Dubious Battle," starring Franco, Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Vincent D'Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris and Bryan Cranston.

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