PASADENA, CALIF — With flowing robes, impossibly wide-brimmed hat and steel-eyed countenance, Jude Law’s version of The Young Pope is more Sergio Leone gunslinger than religious leader. There is perhaps even a touch of Tony Soprano in the ambitious HBO miniseries written and directed by Academy Award winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty).Law is clearly relishing the role of a narcissistic, chain smoking, Cherry Coke swilling bully of an American Pope who sets out to reform the church after unexpectedly being elected to the top post. And it’s almost too prescient: In the opening dream sequence, he gives a populist Donald Trump style stump speech reminding his followers that “I serve the people” from the Vatican balcony before going back to his palatial quarters.“We made this a year ago, so any parallels to Trump are simply circumstance,” says Law in a Canadian exclusive interview with the Star. “When you look back in history whether, it’s papal history or political history there are always these cycles. You could argue that this Pope is a reaction to the current pope — Pope Francis, the real Pope that we have and you could argue that Trump is indeed a reaction to the reign of Obama.”Article Continued BelowWhatever cultural insight you might read into the series, one thing is certain: The pairing of Sorrentino with Law gives the English actor his brawniest role since Dickie Greenleaf sped down a Venice Canal in The Talented Mr. Ripley.The 10 part show, which airs on HBO Canada January 15, has already been renewed for a second season, as the cable company solidifies itself as a major force in the film world blurring the lines between quality cinema and television.Viewers are guaranteed the signature Sorrentino touches, including stylized cinematography that could be cropped from Italian Vogue. There are floating, surrealistic sequences — at one point you have the pope crawling out from under a mound of babies — that at times border on absurdity, if not outright camp. And there is inexplicably, electronic dance music in the background. The series is a visual acid trip. It is as astonishing to watch as it is sometimes frustrating to follow. It’s also the gutsiest thing on television you’ll see this year.