Pope Francis will be the first pontiff to star in a feature film when he appears in Beyond the Sun - in which he will play himself.
The AMBI Pictures production is an Italian-made family film based on the gospels. The film, which is set to begin shooting imminently in Italy, was inspired by the Pope’s call for film-makers to cater for children when portraying Jesus’ message in cinema.
All profits from the film will be donated to two Argentinian charities El Alemendro and Los Hogares de Cristo which help at-risk children and young adults.
Andrea Iervolino, co-founder of AMBI Pictures, who will fund and distribute the film, said: "Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis, participating in this film is beyond words. This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope?"
It is not yet known the scale of Pope Francis' involvement in the film, with information on AMBI’s site stating his involvement as only "an epilogue from Pope Francis telling children how and where to find Jesus". A Vatican spokesman added on Monday: "The pope is not an actor."