Steven Spielberg Reunites With ‘Bridge of Spies’ Star Mark Rylance for ‘The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara’
The BFG marks Steven Spielberg’s second project with Bridge of Spies star (and Oscar-winner) Mark Rylance, and though that film doesn’t arrive until this summer, the duo have already set their next collaboration. Spielberg has officially boarded The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, a period piece set in late 19th century Italy, with Rylance playing the role of Pope Pius IX.
Deadline reports that Spielberg’s next film is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author David I. Kertzer’s 1997 novel The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, which tells the story of a young Jewish boy in Italy who is secretly baptized and kidnapped by a family who raises him as a Christian. Rylance will play the role of Pope Pius IX in the film, which will be scripted by Tony Kushner, who previously wrote Lincoln and Munich for Spielberg.
Here’s the book’s official synopsis:
Bologna: nightfall, June 1858. A knock sounds at the door of the Jewish merchant Momolo Mortara. Two officers of the Inquisition bust inside and seize Mortara’s six-year-old son, Edgardo. As the boy is wrenched from his father’s arms, his mother collapses. The reason for his abduction: the boy had been secretly “baptized” by a family servant. According to papal law, the child is therefore a Catholic who can be taken from his family and delivered to a special monastery where his conversion will be completed.
With this terrifying scene, prize-winning historian David I. Kertzer begins the true story of how one boy’s kidnapping became a pivotal event in the collapse of the Vatican as a secular power. The book evokes the anguish of a modest merchant’s family, the rhythms of daily life in a Jewish ghetto, and also explores, through the revolutionary campaigns of Mazzini and Garibaldi and such personages as Napoleon III, the emergence of Italy as a modern national state. Moving and informative, the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara reads as both a historical thriller and an authoritative analysis of how a single human tragedy changed the course of history.
The report notes that this is Spielberg’s next project, and he’ll head into production early next year for a fall / winter release — it also makes no mention of Ready Player One, which is currently in pre-production for a 2017 release. If you’re one of the people who’ve been hoping that Spielberg would ditch that project, feel free to get your hopes up accordingly.
In the meantime, we’ll get to see the results of Spielberg and Rylance’s second collaboration when The BFG arrives on July 1.