When we last checked in with The New Pope, the sequel series to The Young Pope that debuts early next year and ask the important question “but what if John Malkovich, too?,” Jude Law was strolling down the beach in a Speedo to the delight of many beach-ball-bouncing women and also, apparently, the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ himself, who become so overwhelmed by the sight of the prominent papal banana hammock that she fainted onto the sand as he walked by.
This was, it should be noted, the very first teaser for the upcoming series. The first promotional material any of us saw for The New Pope was Jude Law sauntering around in a Speedo and ladies swooning themselves unconscious about it. It was so perfect that it made me feel stupid for thinking there was nowhere to go after The Young Pope’s very specific depiction of madness and beauty and kangaroo murder. I hadn’t even considered the Speedo. Idiot!
Either way, praise the heavens, there’s more.
Look at that. An actual trailer with actual footage from the actual upcoming series. The whole 78 seconds is worth a look because it provides some insight into Malkovich’s character and elaborates a bit on the whole “Malkovich takes over because Jude Law’s character is in a coma but then he wakes up and we have a papal power struggle” plot that creator Paolo Sorrentino laid out in an early summarization of the action. It is also worth watching because it is absolutely stuffed to the gills with cool junk.
Let’s rank some cool junk.
5. John Malkovich on a boat
I’ll be honest: I did not realize how much joy I would get from seeing John Malkovich dressed as the Pope and zipping around the waters of Venice on what appears to be a speedboat. In my defense, I’m not entirely sure I had considered the situation at all prior to this morning. Like, I imagine if you had come up to me 18 months ago and asked me if I’d like to see John Malkovich dressed as the Pope and zipping around the waters of Venice on what appears to be a speedboat, I would have replied “Hell yes.” But I hadn’t taken the proactive step of wrapping my brain around it on my own. I would feel much worse about this if I didn’t feel so happy about the picture itself.
4. Neon techno cross
The cool thing about the Papal Cinematic Universe that Paolo Sorrentino has created is that there is no way to tell if this scene is part of a hallucination or a real thing that is happening. It is equally possible that Malkovich’s character is dreaming of color-changing thumping neon techno crosses or that someone — possibly Malkovich himself — has had color-changing thumping neon techno crosses installed into the Vatican. That’s the second-best part about this particular screencap. Just the endless possibilities.
The best part is that this is not the only neon techno cross in the trailer. Hang tight.
3. Look at John Malkovich
I mean, just generally, look at John Malkovich throughout the trailer. Have you ever seen someone so delighted to be feasting on a buffet of cinematic weirdo energy? This trailer is nothing but a series of quick clips and a voiceover or two about what a maniac narcissist his character is and it already feels like the perfect pairing of creator and actor. For all the fun I had with The Young Pope, it was also a beautiful and moving series, more a piece of multi-episode art than a narrative television show like we’re accustomed to. The whole thing had a deep and eccentric vibe to it that was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Who better to help capture that and ride it across the sky than John Malkovich, the king of eccentric vibes?