Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce on 'The Two Popes,' playing Pope

The actor talks to Peter Travers about starring opposite Anthony Hopkins in the film "The Two Popes."
22:25 | 01/31/20

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Transcript for Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce on 'The Two Popes,' playing Pope
Show everybody I'm Peter Travers this is popcorn we we tell you what's happening at the movies and there's a movie now that you can see Netflix called the two popes and it stars my guest today Jonathan Pryce and Anthony opted to applying. Guess what the title characters and talking doing it brilliantly so Jonathan welcome back Chris Hope Francis that you walk. The big news now about hope Francis is. His encounter with this woman in the craft where he sort of selector hang you know. Did he even being asked this question. What's been lost through we're whereby please slap man to hit we look at the do it do it I wanna be right. At the code to grow through a lot of grabbing and pushing forward. I was often tempted to slap. But I feel really sorry for because people bouncing The Herald secret do you think video where. That particular woman grabbed him very he yanked him yanked him. You know he's. He's an old man was traffickers found. Let's talk about the two popes in terms. The whole concept of view being offered this to play. Or him regularly the Argentinean. Hope. Because we don't see him in the movie being appropriately. To another dog walk up to that line thing Hopkins is playing Pope Benedict. The German it is. You're an Argentinian. To welshman playing this part but it must have said. That's what we need is to welshman to do it together that death that matters time per Welsh vote does it read well. Watching and watching you play this. I kept thinking of this of Argentinean you play which was blonde girl in the if you are the dictator. In a way of Pope can be a dictator but. Hope Francis. Are going. Is through liberal reformer who won their wants to. Give a more compassionate. Look at the church. Did he have any trepidation about plan. Just just the usual about whether or monitor any the offer is hanging approach mall four vote magnitude. Especially. Now I thought. I'm not gonna hiding to nothing. Representing its this particular Pope. But that feeling didn't last for adult wants read the script and I knew that Fernando Morales who's going to be direct community. I definitely. Wanted to direct them. I think it was mainly to do with the fact that I'm not religious I was brought up in the Christian Perrier I would church until I was a teenager. But I found that this hope was proposed Pope who Eiffel was speaking to me and millions like me. About issues that were necessary to do the structural organized religion but to do with politics and to be real speaking out full of the environment and about the it caught me in about the injustices. That are in the world so I'm he was someone my portrait empathy. Two wars. And help but I looked like him a bit. And I walk like him definitely. It Margaret Clintonism. Me you could sneak into the Vatican made me now Windmills anywhere else when you how busy the Seagram and just. Take over the do what you would need to do deceptive you feeling when you're playing that this was what I would do. If I were in the options are big show perceptions. But I I'm glad he's doing what he's doing. Obviously took as they hold. Church and Vatican side of things. Which he doesn't seem to be able to deal with O conquer. And you're constantly reading lots of stories about how. He's disliked program about him because he's a reform movement of people don't want that change. And I think that's why he became Pope he was. They've made Pope in order to make these changes otherwise why choose from because congress you know that never Freeman. About Latin American convention it broke out in the film implies. That we don't wrestler nova TrueCrypt that Benedict. One period. But in order to be the next Pope because he soared him things that he couldn't achieve and he couldn't do. He sought in many ways his opposite. You know didn't yet this is it would mean I didn't mention this it in the introduction but Billy gates was a Pope who retired it said I'm not gonna do it anymore yet so we have two popes who are alive. In this world today. And there that clips at the end of the real popes in seeming to have having a really terrific time. When I saw the pros. Cocked of that film I was that this that they were showing the real hopes. The end of the pro. Because I thought it would in -- it to if everything remainder of the previous into a house. But what you see in these two men is that it's the coming to you this just a welcoming Vick where they Greek each other and with great affection. And you can see the respect they have three children. And far from taking away from performances it it in hunch is it gives them an element of truth. We'll return it to really terrific gripped to in the past I think people here with the 2 popes what am I gonna say yes these two guys talking to each other. Which sometimes scares people when they go to the move east and want that but yet. A Morales as a director makes this movie mu. So beautifully into gorgeous thing to look at it's also sometimes. Collaborate accidentally. That that's going up. Did you all know that that was what was going to happen before you did it. No no I think what's what's wonderful about the film is that it. It's such a surprise audiences once you on Q you've got to get him in that. You do and then once there in that it's a surprise. Because treats its much on the and I ever expected over ago and what the audience expect. And to. I think the way we made the film there was no reason many preconceptions. I don't remember ever talking to Tony. I'm going to be like this he's I'm manipulative and cannabis and I want you to do at this point is that. The whole process was really organic. Because we have the the strength from that script written underneath his you know holding is out and so when I saw it in the way of Amerigroup put it together because. He says the his work stops in the editing room agreed that this knew what we want them encourages as there was ways. When I can do with it yet what's the problem why does that I think it's Russia could directives do that they've let you think. You order your your coming up who recruit them even though that quietly feed that cafeteria. They let you think it's your idea. So when I sort it was I I didn't know it was going to be so funny. Until hubris in front I think that first scene New York actor. Trying to book his own. Dangerous use. Yeah on the follow them. Apparently he did that that's would either but it's. The post on my sword with a big ordinance was that tell you right then. As you don't know what to expect. That moment the right at the beginning of the film went the audience laughs as well on the huge wave of that. You can feel the audience I certainly stepped back control issue and make runner in Jordan's you can feel the audience it back and and this is this is going to be OK you can't it's like. OK yeah bring cannot make this happen and yet it also doesn't avoid the controversies. That exists within the church. The whole thing with the problem priests there predators. That are there and also their history. Can you talk a little about his history we're going up it back in the seven days in terms of Argentine. It wherever it it's so must simply it's all in the film this we didn't shy away from management. We were reported in fact. By the people of people are born Cyrus when they sold the film at a screening. Because they that fear was that this is gonna read a whitewash and older crossover I geography of broad program. Because he is still seen. As a divisive character in Argentina because of his perceived involvement with the cardinals and I found on. YouTube footage of him being interrogated by all questioned by his peers fellow cardinals. About his involvement replica. And you see a very. Different man than mine UC. Smiling on the balcony amusement Pope he's. He's very good he's quite angry. I think he's impatient he's drumming his fingers on the table and and I put that image together we're talking to a jesuit priest emblems artists who work group. Which had it with that didn't like him. He wears. Or hate it always space state by himself. He didn't mix. He wears you never smiled. And when they saw him on the balcony. This smiling hope they didn't recognize him because he respond. Didn't recognize the who is this person that they need to get the other side of him. Way heap it's you know you're seeing in the film you see him saying mass. In they kinda Islam. Township areas. Anyway that's besides members very popular street viewed it it's not. A biopic it's not a argue over in this minutes it's a warts and old stubby altered. And I think we've been. Let him because we've old respected and admire him. And we have a screening in Rome. Three full weeks ago where members of the Vatican Embassy here. And they snippet they would like that that he enjoyed it. Land that particular cardinal. Whose. A friend Texan whose friend of Benedict and dove France's. He'd like they're from very much Fernando the director said do you think we were too hard on the church and he said. You 100 no. But. He also said that he thought Francis would like the film and he wanted the dvd to take them to showing the film. All I'd love to know that review yesterday that regret it well what actors does it. For the there the pro baker and also from. Conscious is timely in Argentina. An undercover in the amount to say that they team it made enjoyed the film and it they'd like what. We've done represented their uncle. I was I was really that's the coal in their own uncle. Uncle or. To Leah to do it. Oh how would you and Anthony Hopkins together you know. You haven't made anything or done anything before really well we've been on and we're both on a recording of fundamental court. The bill implements or that was produced by George mountain. Rihanna was like the British revenues ago The Beatles produced. And Tony was first voice and I'm a second boards. You companies have me as later we're in Rome. The cold treat. It's you know it you're rated as you're importance in the film is the number you'll. And I was number one and told me his number two. Or as my revenge after trick here that your dog we greet each other in the morning with. Morning. I'm belong on me but here. It went off from that boat week. It's interesting that they what happens to the Truman in the film is reflected what happened to Tony and I because. You know in the film is he human sort of sniffing around each other electric parent dogs are quite wary of each other. Not that I respect wary of Tony but divers you know I was I I'm in order of Tony Hopkins armored great admirer that is. So underplayed into those these things I'm as you see. The pope's or relationship growing and so. Meyer friendship repelling crew. It is the equivalent of both of his all of us tangling together on him to good way to put to death. That's that is what it is what I mean he is. One of Swedish. I think people you know yes there's just nothing about. Anthony Hopkins that make you go. No no no except maybe that reputation. Their reputation from way back Ricky. Tony move talked about I mean he's. System is reformed alcoholic it is he's been to I think many many years. To. In his his great compassion for people and he's he's very open. In public. But he does like to be. I'm so he's never happier than when he's in his studio painting which he does every days not a thing. Which is a good thing that's a great thing that. How does that with you. Do you like to when you're not working if I usually don't seem to be at the poetic work always gone hand we're not working hampered that conflict note. That's partly if you growing up in Wales where you said somehow that you know this is what I want to do. It I didn't say you'd never that if someone came in just yet and you kind of kind of I went through I left school districts in when dropped grew. And that's what I wanted to one thing and eventually I went through it teacher training college to trying to teach. You have to do is second vehicle so I chose drama because I was told it is the easiest schools to do the replied the least amount of work. It was true ahead but some Dave when I was a college Sunday a putrid from another call it soul man. And said have you ever thought of being an act of because I think you should. And I think you should go to Rhonda way he'd been. He served the papers to audition things. I virus except that it Rada. They gave me a scholarship and I never. Became a teacher. Back never never went back. Your careers just too huge for me to deal with in the space of this time but you late. So much Shakespeare from Hamlet two year you know with a merchant business which I got this which is it with your doll. You know and you may your wife do while you were acting in the beginning. You have one most successful long marriages in this crazy. Business. Is yet to what is everybody be married five years. I regret that you made it official only actually we went short of but he and so we wait we wait great the great. And and purposely you that you one and not played the same thing because. You're bond Villa. And that character Allie carvers one of the great if he zone Rupert Murdoch. Figure of doing. And then at one point in your careers that you know what I'm in the new musicals aren't going to be in this saga. And then I'm going to do you did how are you did. Henry Higgins certainly. This is the master plan. Keep moving quickly find. Yet that's never get. Anyway we have a couple of clip I beat their questions from in all right my ED to mark says what is the most religious experience you've had normalized. I think it happened. During the course of making his fellow. I'm it was when the jesuit priest that I was had been working with the news advising me that wonders that he didn't like Oprah. Or another as I was leaving Boeing desires decoder room he asked me if he could bless me. And I found it. Quite overwhelming emotionally. Accepted that and then asked him if he requests like them. We were us that the beginning of filming what we religion can and I said no rightfully expect to be by the end of and something that it you can't you're affected by everything you do. But. I think that being blessed with. Quite extraordinary it sounded to him the okay one more here. Maria C I love you work you are such a great actor what was the most challenging aspect about playing more way for goat. I it would being honest to the man. I'd had the script I was hit him enough to make it up this. Is being honest and respectful command to what and to. Show him and in his truthful as possible. And is there wasn't difficult vehicle called a challenge critical to the challenge because he is this so much. Joy about his life. And what he tries to bring to people. It was challenging learning Spanish and Italian and little bit of Latin that was but I can it was I had a great teachers under trees and. I believe it is believed that both of you knew what you were saying yeah yeah. I think I think. Like really apologize for our what I view as a better idea though either. It's a lot and then it goes back into English. We can't scare them away you know our last question. It's from David and how similar or different would your character the height sparrow to being well look you know when my AM. Took on the role of his spiral. And I read this script and we took but the character of the person either related to was poke promises. Because high spiral in season client. Was Amanda for people who he was talking on behalf of the pool and the dispossessed. He's had things like we have them with the many U the few and when we you know. But or what you don't we take over. He was feeding the poll washing the feet everything that conscious is doing. There was question in the guardian newspaper. Who would play you and film in July from a should poke provinces. If he could lose weight. And then of course season six. Hi spiral didn't name. And egos bat and I hadn't seen it coming because you're not allowed you know they don't keep I think that he hated all that soon and congress are obviously in shock of it. So. I I'm I'm looking forward to two popes to went Frances Goss. Aren't sure he's it forward to that that are without our two popes go to Hawaii. Yeah. You know we're laughing. And but. This isn't Hollywood its own and yet it definitely beats you had so many films that aren't so I didn't mention it but Brazil women favorite. If ever but it's so prescient. Terrorism and what we're doing that. You're happy in history. I've heard it must. That's he wouldn't keep doing it and do so while this well thank you just want to keep doing it but. First time on the show so you don't know that we and that's all okay. Look at that there was no fear but I'm gonna fight you only say at the adequate as a kind of cynical joke. Delicate to do this now. Yep it's that it happened every bad pago yesterday on do trying to shift biologists and now and he. What did you Apollo love the most in the op. You're welcome money you active that was preparation. Like a whistle on. Those funds I don't know I don't know how good it was. I'm on the great wrestler I do it my. One of my sons will not allow me to whistle. In its present because you're so good that comes and so smug. Let's look with no play with it goes he. That shot up amalgam you have survivor of that to us as however short. Started to heart. A related. Note I'm if that conversation took but let them go. Oh that's a whole other things. At the hoping for therapy. You know those conversations with blackbird in the whistling. Will do a whole other showed that I proper. Privileges but thank you so much. Thank you think this was great obviously to shake your hand but they didn't want. It is I guess I'm back I got back kind of hope.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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