Pope Joan ditches its director

Volker Schlondorff is off the job…

The producers of German drama Pope Joan must be wondering if there’s a holy wrath settling over their film.

Because, after launching a legal entanglement over John Goodman’s agreement to appear, production Constantin Film has now booted Volker Schlondorff from the project after he criticised their distribution plans.

And this is no fly-by-night, up-and-coming talent they’re ditching here: Schlondorff is an Oscar-scooping director best known for The Tin Drum and The Handmaid’s Tale. But it seems that he disagreed with the company’s plan to create two versions of the film – one for cinemas and one for TV, as with the successful Downfall. Sniping in daily paper Suedeutsche Zeitung, Schlondorff argued that it cramped his artistic freedom.

"The article was extremely unhelpful in our getting this project off the ground," Constantin Film production head Martin Moszkowicz growled to The Hollywood Reporter. "So we cancelled our cooperation with Volker." Meow!

It’s just the latest in a long line of development snags for Joan, which has seen companies go bust and that nasty Goodman spat. The company will now be looking for a new director and is still hoping to start shooting early next year.

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