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LA STAMPA (Italy); NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER (U.S.)

Worldcrunch

VATICAN CITY- Charismatic, humble, and kind -- it was inevitable that the story of Pope Francis would end up on the silver screen.

Bringing the story of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to life is German director Christian Peschken, who received 25 million euros backing from a group of European investors. Peschken has also assembled a team to help him that includes La Stampa’s Andrea Tornielli, who has previously authored several books on popes.

Speaking to the National Catholic Register, Peschken said, “we will make a movie about a person who followed God’s call and then became a shepherd of men -- a man with a mission and man with a destination.”

The director said that he wanted the movie to appeal to everyone, not just the Catholic crowd because “it’s what the Pope tries to do himself.”

Set for release on Pope Francis’ birthday next year (December 17, 2014), the movie will be filmed at Rome’s Cinecittà studios, and on location in Argentina.

Although a script has yet to be written, let alone anyone cast, we thought we might help the team out by offering our suggestions on who to cast as the leading man.

1. Woody Allen

One of the first to be pointed out as a papalgänger, could add a bit of Jewish humor to the role.

Screengrabs via YouTube expand=1]

2. Stanley Tucci

Italian roots, new world vigor, here's the man for Bergoglio's middle age.

[rebelmouse-image 27086735 alt="""" original_size="460x276" expand=1]

Photos by screengrab expand=1] and Tom Sorensen

3. Carl Reiner

Jowls? Check.

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Photos by Aibdescalzo and Angela George

4. Liam Neeson

Do not underestimate the action potential.

Photos by screengrab expand=1] and nivrae


5. Toni Servillo

An Italian actor and director, potentially a dark horse if the movie is not filmed in English.

Photos by Aibdescalzo and Facebook

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At the Russia-Georgia border

Yelena Afonina/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

Russia’s neighbors — from Finland in the west to Mongolia 3,100 miles (5,076 km) to the east — are being flooded with the arrival of men fleeing the national draft announced last week as Moscow's invasion of Ukraine falters. Some 2,000 miles to the south of Helsinki, at the border with Georgia, there are reports of long lines of cars and bicycles trying to leave and Russian crackdowns on men trying to flee.

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In the first two days after Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization, 261,000 men of conscription age have left the country. Observers believe that has likely doubled since. The most popular destinations are the neighboring countries where one can enter without a visa or even without an international passport, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia.

But Finland too has reported a major uptick, with nearly 19,000 arriving, compared to 9,000 crossing in the opposite direction. "The arrival rate is about double what it was a week ago," Mert Sasioglu of the Finnish border guard told AFP.

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