A Film About A Legend... And A Legend In Its Making
Cast & Crew
Liv Ullmann (Pope Joan)
Date of birth: 16th December 1938, Tokyo.
Mini biography: Liv Johanne Ullmann was the daughter of a Norwegian engineer and spent her childhood travelling around the world. Ullmann became noticed during the 60s when she started to work for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, with whom she enjoyed a long collaboration.
Awards: Nominated Best Actress on two occasions for a Tony: in 1975 for Henrik Ibsen’s A Dolls House and in 1977 for Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie. Nominated Best Actress for an Oscar for The Emigrants in 1973 and in Ingmar Bergman’s Face to Face (1976).
Filmography includes: Persona (1966), The Passion of Anna (1969), Cold Sweat (1970), The Night Visitor (1971), The Emigrants (1973), The Abdication (1974), Face to Face (1976). Ullmann has also written and directed: Love (1982), Sofie (1992), Kristin Lavransdatter (1995), Lumière et compagnie (1995), Enskilda Samtal (1996), Trolosa (2000).
Liv Ullman…on landing the role of Joan
“I was asked to do Pope Joan because the director Michael Anderson and the writer John Briley came here to Norway. They had seen me and knew about me. I was very moved and happy but the head of my theatre would not let me go. I wanted to make the movie - I was so moved by it. I really liked Michael Anderson and loved the script by John Briley. So I told my theatre I would leave.”
…on the talent of John Briley
“I thought he was an incredible screenwriter. I was very attracted to his intellect, the way he looked at life. I had many years with Ingmar Bergman who had the same the same zest for what life is. For me, it was important to work with a writer like John and be able to translate his writing into my soul. Pope Joan is two sides of a woman: wanting to be God’s child and wanting to be a man’s woman.”
Maximilian Schell (Brother Adrian)
Date of birth: December 8th 1930, Vienna, Austria
Mini biography: Regarded as one of the most successful German-speaking actors in English language films. Schell began acting on the stage at the age of 22 and built his reputation in German language film and television work.
Awards: Oscar for Best Actor, Golden Globe and the New York Film Critics Circle Award Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), Oscar nomination for Julia (1977).
Filmography includes: The Young Lions (1958), Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), Topkapi (1964), The Deadly affair (1966), Counterpoint (1967), Krakatoa: East of Java (1969), The Odessa File (1974), St. Ives (1976) Cross of Iron (1977), Julia (1977), A Bridge too Far (1977), The Black Hole (1979). He is also a respected director of films and documentaries: Marlene (1984), My Sister Maria (2002) and still lured by the stage: Resurrection Blues (2006).
Maximilian Schell…on playing Brother Adrian
“I was approached by the producer, Kurt Unger, and asked if I’d like to play Adrian. I had never heard of Pope Joan before although I’m Catholic and asked to read the script, which I found quite interesting. There are many reasons why you take a film as an actor; first reason is the director. Michael Anderson, I know I admired. Liv Ullmann, I admired very much.”
….on working with Michael Anderson
“Michael was absolutely right: he said it would be wonderful and it was quite a difficult film to make, these personal relationships interwoven with history of the time. He gave me time to be creative and to play this role as well as I could, which made for a wonderful relationship.”
Franco Nero, Louis (Prince Louis)
Date of birth: 23 November 1941, Parma, Italy
Mini biography: Blue-eyed well-built Italian actor Franco Nero, once was a painting photographer, when he was discovered as an actor by director John Huston. Was romantically involved with Vanessa Redgrave for 40 years.
Awards: Golden Globe nomination for Camelot, Milan Festival Lifetime Achievement
Filmography includes: The Bible: In The Beginning (1966), Camelot (1967), The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981), Die Hard 2 (1990). He has also written and produced films such as Jonathan degli orsi (1993).
Trevor Howard (Pope Leo)
Date of birth: 29 September 1913, Cliftonville, Kent, England, UK
Awards: Oscar nomination for Best Actor Sons and Lovers (1960), 3 Golden Globe nominations, 3 Emmy nominations and four Bafta nominations and Bafta award for The Key (1958)
Mini biography: Howard initially grew up in Ceylon. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), acting on the London stage for several years before World War II.
Filmography includes: Brief Encounter (1945), The Third Man (1949), Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), Sons and Lovers (1960), Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), Operation Crossbow (1965), Von Ryan's Express (1965), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), Battle of Britain (1969), Ryan's Daughter (1970), Kidnapped (1971), Conduct Unbecoming (1975), Superman (1978), The Missionary (1982), Gandhi (1982)
Olivia de Havilland (Mother Superior)
Date of birth: July 1, 1916, Tokyo, Japan.
Mini biography: After graduating from high school, California, where she fell prey to the acting bug, Olivia enrolled in Mills College in Oakland and was spotted by Max Reinhardt. De Havilland and Errol Flynn were known as one of Hollywood's most exciting on-screen couples.
Awards: Academy Award for Best Actress, To Each His Own (1946) Academy Award for Best Actress, The Heiress (1949). Another 9 wins & 5 nominations
Filmography includes: A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), Captain Blood (1935), Anthony Adverse (1936), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), Gold Is Where You Find It (1938), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), They Died with Their Boots On (1941), To Each His Own (1946), The Heiress (1949), My Cousin Rachel (1952), Lady in a Cage (1964), Airport '77 (1977)
Michael Anderson, Director
Date of birth: 30th May, 1920, London
Mini biography: The son of actor Lawrence Anderson, Michael seemed destined to follow into the film industry. Although making a few early appearances as an actor, Anderson soon made the move to director and, with it, the classic WWII film The Dam Busters (1955).
Awards: Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Director Around the World in 80 Days, Palme d’Or nomination for Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst (1957)
Filmography: The Dam Busters (1955), 1984 (1956), Around the World in 80 Days (1956), Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst (1957), The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959), Shake hands with the Devil (1959), All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960), The Naked Edge (1961), Operation Crossbow (1965), The Quiller Memorandum (1966), Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975), Logan’s Run (1976), Orca: The Killer Whale (1977), Dominique (1978), Summer of the Monkeys (1998), Tenderloin (2008).
Michael Anderson...on casting
“The casting of that film became very important and so we went to speak to Liv Ullmann. She called up her good friend Max Von Sydow who assured Ullmann that the director was indeed good to work with! She was certainly an ideal Pope Joan. I’d got friendly with Franco Nero and he said he’d like to play the king of France. Again, Trevor Howard I’d worked with many times, so I tried to surround myself with people I was comfortable with and create a picture that was for me, very, very different.
Of course we had the wonderful Olivia de Havilland playing the mother superior. She was superb to work with, always a great optimist. Even when we did the scene where she was supposed to be crucified on the ground and her hands were riddled with blood; before we did it she laughed and said, ‘You’re gonna love this one, the way I’m gonna do it’.”
…on making another historical drama
“It was a story that was very controversial, a very true story, according to legend, but not like The Dam Busters or Operation Crossbow where I was shooting a bit of reality. Instead I was shooting a bit of ‘legendary’ reality.”
…on Billy Williams, the Cinematographer
“A cameraman of tremendous talent. For Pope Joan, I wanted someone who was very soft with light, someone who could almost give me a mystical look. Billy Williams did an absolutely marvellous job with soft lighting and shadows. Every set up, he would look through the camera and double check himself with the operator, very meticulous.”
John Briley, Screenwriter
Date of birth: June 25th 1925, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
Mini biography: Initially Briley arrived in England with a background in history to obtain a PHD in Elizabethan drama. Briley became involved with one of several academic programs in history and approached by his agent about Kurt Unger who had a story about a female medieval pope, which for Briley proved fascinating.
Awards: Oscar and Golden Globe awards and Bafta nomination for Ghandi (1982).
John Briley.,.on researching the story
“There were a number of stories about Pope Joan and a novel had been written in Greece. I did some research and found that, at a time when the only people who wrote were clerics and there were no typewriters or printing, there was as many books on Pope Joan as on Christ! Some of them were wild, like the devil came down and impregnated a woman, but none of them, in the early medieval period, questioned that there was never a Pope.
The Catholic Church defended the fact that this was a myth and not actually true. We took the script to the cardinal secretary who ran the Vatican who said, ‘There are arguments for it and arguments against it, but I believe it was true.’ I felt there was enough evidence to say there might have been a Pope Joan.
Joan was a woman, a flawed woman of course, she had lived an extensively religious life but there was however a weakness for the physical pleasure. I conceived this father who was a missionary who raised this girl and taught her to read. Because a girl speaking religiously would be more convincing than a semi drunk, lecherous minister, she got big crowds.”
…on finding a director
“Richard Attenborough read the script and we looked at locations but a deal wasn’t made and nothing happened for nine months. Kurt called me, saying ‘we’ve got to get a director for this movie’ and that he’d like to interview Michael Anderson. So we went to see him in Rome. Michael said he got 50 scripts a week, most of which he couldn’t even read and that he was fascinated by this script from beginning to end.”
…on persuading Olivia de Havilland
“It was a very enjoyable experience: Olivia had been a juvenile sex object for me since the days of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)! I went to Paris and spent three very enjoyable days with her. She was very interested in the screenplay but wanted her part to be bigger. So I built up the part to attract her to the role.”
…on searching for a Pope Leo
“We first went for John Gielgud but he wasn’t free. Then I spent two days with Ralph Richardson and he was very interested, but wanted to redo lines. In the meantime, Trevor Howard’s agent had given the script to Trevor’s wife who said, ‘This is Trevor Howard, this role is Trevor Howard.’ So we interviewed Trevor and he was marvellous.”
“We were looking for a 10th century church and found one in the Italian hills. Our Italian crew were reluctant enough, considering the controversial subject matter and ties with the Church. The following day, there was an earthquake that damaged part of the church: when we came down for breakfast the next morning, the Italians had disappeared! So we gave up and ultimately found this beautiful 10th century church in London near Billingsgate fish market.
…on the film’s best moment
“In the scene where Joan is elected, she walks to the altar and to me it is just a wonderful moment of acting because you see her fear, her desire, her sense of confusion because she is a girl - not a man. It is an immensely powerful scene because of the depth that she gives to all of those elements.”
Maurice Jarre, Composer
Date of birth: 13th September 1924, Lyon, France
Mini biography: Maurice was drawn to music in his late teens and entered the Paris Conservatoire. He became musical director of the Théâtre National Populaire and composed his first film score. He graduated to full-length features in the late 50s. By the early 60s, he began to attract international attention and embarked on a prolific career scoring an average of five films per year.
Recorded at Anvil Studios, Denham, Pope Joan’s score not only included Jarre’s characteristic use of multiple percussion and a traditional symphonic setting, but also ethnic instruments such as the Austrian zither, Hungarian cimbalom and Greek bouzouki. A chamber choir was added to beautiful effect and fittingly evoked the nature of the story. Among the many beautiful high points of the soundtrack, it is hard to top Jarre’s exquisite melodies for Joan.
Awards: Oscar for Best Music Lawrence of Arabia (1962), nominated for Best Adapted Score for Les Dimanches de ville d’Avray (1962), Oscar for Doctor Zhivago (1965), Grammy nomination for Ryan’s Daughter (1970), Academy and Golden Globe nomination for The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Oscar nomination for The Message (1976), Oscar for A Passage to India (1984). In 1993 Jarre was awarded with a lifetime Achievement award from ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).
Filmography includes: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Longest Day (1962), Les Dimanches de ville d’Avray (1962), The Train (1964) and The Collector (1965), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Is Paris Burning? (1966), The Professionals (1966), Gambit (1966), Grand Prix (1966), The Night of the Generals (1967), Villa Rides (1968), Five Card Stud (1968), The Damned (1969), Topaz (1969), El Condor (1970), Ryan’s Daughter (1970), Red Sun (1971), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), The effect of Gamma Rays on man-in-the-moon Marigolds (1972), The Mackintosh Man (1973), The Man Who Would Be King (1975). The Message (1976), The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), A Passage to India (1984), Witness (1985), Fatal Attraction (1987), Jacob’s ladder (1990).
Maurice Jarre’s beautiful soundtrack is available for the very first time from Harkit Records www.harkitrecords.com
Lesley-Anne Down (Sister Cecilia)
Date of birth: 17 March 1954, London
Awards: Golden Globe nomination for North and South (1986), Evening Standard British Film(1978), Rose d’Or (2005)
Mini biography: voted Britain's most beautiful teenager at the age of fifteen, Lesley-Anne Down is best known for many television roles, such as in ITV’s Upstairs Downstairs and CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful Marone.
Filmography includes: Countess Dracula (1971), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), A Little Night Music (1977), The Betsy (1978), Sphinx (1981), Night Trap (1993), The Secret Agent Club (1996), The First Great Train Robbery (1979), The King's Guard (2000), Seven Days of Grace (2006).
Keir Dullea (Dr. Stevens)
Date of birth: 30 May, 1936, Cleveland, Ohio
Awards: Bafta nomination David and Lisa (1964), Golden Globe winner - Most Promising Newcomer (1963)
Mini biography: Despite being more recognised for his film work, Dullea prefers the stage. In 1983, he and his wife founded the Theatre Artists Workshop of Westport.
Filmography includes:Hoodlum Priest (1961), David and Lisa (1962), The Thin Red Line (1964), De Sade (1969), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), 2010 (1984), The Good Shepherd, (2006).
Patrick Magee (Elder monk)
Date of birth: 31 March, 1922, Armagh, N Ireland
Awards: Tony for Best Support, Marat/Sade (1966)
Mini biography: A distinguished stage actor, Patrick was a favourite of Samuel Becket. He also appeared in many horror films.
Filmography includes:The Criminal (1960), The Servant (1963), Zulu (1964), The Masque of Red Death (1964), Marat/Sade (1967), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), Young Winston (1972), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), Chariots of Fire (1981).
Jeremy Kemp (Joan’s father)
Date of birth: 3 January 1935, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Awards: Bafta nomination for The Blue Max (1966)
Mini biography: Jeremy has a strong TV profile and is particularly known for his role as PC Bob Steele in BBC’s Z Cars as well as roles in Colditz, Space:1999, Conan and various American series.
Filmography includes: Operation Crossbow (1965), The Blue Max (1966), Darling Lili (1970), A Bridge Too Far (1977), The Prisoner of Zenda (1979), Top Secret! (1984), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)