She…Who would be Pope

A Film About A Legend... And A Legend In Its Making

Film background

The story behind She…who would be Pope is a fascinating tale. The original film, Pope Joan, or The Devil’s Imposter in the U.S., and the way it was filmed, was about a 20th century woman who believes she is the reincarnation of the female Pope of the 9th century, and is edited with flashbacks and flash-forwards.

However the original distributor, decided this innovative film method was ‘ahead of its time for audiences’ and that all of the contemporary sequences should be cut. As a result, the film remained a purely medieval story – but with its heart removed. Although Pope Joan was moving and provocative, and enjoyed a wide release, the film didn’t achieve the success it deserved at the time.

The creative team of director Michael Anderson, screenwriter John Briley and father and son producers Kurt and Daniel Unger, were never completely satisfied with the edited-down film. So they decided to restore the original vision and concept to all of its former glory. The incredible result is She…Who would be Pope (2009).

Daniel Unger explains, “The plan to restore the film to its intended glory has been simmering with me and my father, Kurt, ever since the seventies. This re-edited and enhanced film is totally new and completely different.“ The team laboured over this painstakingly difficult project for over a year, compiling the modern material and locating the appropriate negative given that not a single copy remained. Daniel enthuses, “The results of a recruited preview screening at BAFTA last year were fantastic.”

The team’s dedicated passion to put right this project has resulted in bringing a forgotten treasure to audiences old and new. She…Who would be Pope boasts a brand new 35mm print from a re-cut negative, all-new digital sound and a breathtaking score by Maurice Jarre. In addition, there is a new poster design, creative promotional campaign and soundtrack CD.

She…Who would be Pope is a film about a legend – and a legend in its making.