Martin Scorsese is set to have a meeting with Pope Francis ahead of his Silence world premiere.
The director will meet with the pontiff on Wednesday morning at 8:45 a.m. in the Sala dei sediari of the apostolic palace before the regular weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square. The two are expected to discuss Silence and the mission of the Jesuits, the priestly order to which Pope Francis belongs, according to the Vatican press office.
Pope Francis has met with a variety of celebrities since his Vatican appointment in 2013, but rarely is the visit an official meeting. Most pull strings to get a special spot at the Pope's weekly general audience and later promote the meet-and-greet as an official audience, often hoping to latch onto Pope Francis' positive PR for their film projects.
Oftentimes meetings with political leaders are not even planned in advance, as was Bernie Sanders' brief meeting in April with the pope when he was in town for the Vatican's social sciences academy.
It is rare that the Vatican would announce ahead of time a meeting with the pope for an entertainment figure. But the subject of Scorsese's film may have swayed the Vatican to guarantee the informal meeting.
Based on the novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence follows two Portuguese Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) who are tortured and persecuted when they travel to Japan to spread Christianity and to find their mentor (Liam Neeson).
The meeting will take place ahead of Thursday's world premiere of the pic for an audience of several hundred Jesuits and invited guests. It is not known whether or not Pope Francis will attend the screening, but his presence was not reported at previous Vatican screenings of recent films including Unbroken, Spotlight and his own biopic Call Me Francis. Pope Francis will be the first pope to appear in a feature film - the upcoming family gospel narrative Beyond the Sun.
Scorsese, who was raised Catholic, has said Silence is a passion project 27 years in the making. He hired Jesuit Father James Martin as a consultant on the film to guarantee the picture's historical accuracy.
Paramount will release the historical drama in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 23 before expanding nationwide in January. It is set to hit theaters in Italy on Jan. 12.