The Two Popes: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World by Anthony McCarten
The Two Popes began with a text message, when screenwriter and playwright Anthony McCarten was traveling in Rome and received a message from his sister, who asked him to light a candle for a cousin who had just died. Pope Francis happened to be giving an open mass at St. Peter’s Square, and McCarten found himself wondering about Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict, who made the unusual decision to resign in 2013. “So I got out my phone and I Googled, ‘When was the last time a Pope resigned?’ And the number 700 came up, 700 years. It was 1213 when a man called Celestine V decided to resign because he just had enough,” McCarten told Variety. That one Google search turned into an unproduced play about the two men, which evolved into both the Oscar-nominated film and a nonfiction book written by McCarten, The Two Popes: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World.