“Sexy Soldier of God” – or What the Reviews Say

Wow, is this really the ‘exciting news’ that RA wanted to shout from the roof tops when he sent his 2018 Christmas message? I saw the news via Herba and Chrissyinwm this morning – Richard is going to play the lead in Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s 1995 thriller The Seville Communion – which might possibly be called The Man from Rome, if I interpret imdb correctly. I’m going to spare you my usual distrust and unfairly anticipatory nitpicking. Or my reservations re. Catholic priests as fictional heroes. (I live in Ireland, as you know – and we have had more than our share of the nastiest of nasty scandals involving priests. Enough said.) But despite all that I did have to check out the book, not least because I had never imagined Armitage in the role of a priest. A theme very quickly developed:

Quart is no ordinary detective but a sexy soldier of Christ armed with a gold card and a laptop computer.  

Father Quart, a suave Vatican troubleshooter 

… the protagonist looking ”like Richard Chamberlain in ‘The Thorn Birds’ but more manly” obviously knows on which side its extravagance is buttered.

The hero in question is the Rev. Lorenzo Quart, the ‘‘sexiest priest” alive, outside of the latest Andrew Greeley yarn. A ”weary, solitary Knight Templar,” Quart works for the Vatican’s very hush-hush Institute for External Affairs, from which he is discreetly dispatched to defuse threats to Holy Mother Church. He is emphatically not ”the kind of priest who turned the other cheek.” He is a St. James Bond, an agent in a Roman collar and handmade leather shoes who wields a Mont Blanc pen instead of a snub-nosed Beretta.

[Click logo to be taken to the cited review.]

That *does* bode well. And I can only say: They definitely got the right man for the job. Handsome? ✔️ Suave? ✔️ Manly? ✔️Sexy? ✔️✔️✔️. Mind you, depends on whether Quart is one of those modern priests who don’t dally with dog collars and cassocks? Big question mark… but Guylty managed to obtain a first look at Father Quart, the ruthlessly handsome (or was it handsomely ruthless?) DM (Detective Monsignore), in costume on set:

Note Father Quart’s fashion-forward footwear. According to sources who wished to remain anonymous, the actor insisted on bringing his own footwear on set…

Well, that is all very exciting, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to hearing more. Richard, please have mercy, put us out of our misery and confirm.

 

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211 thoughts on ““Sexy Soldier of God” – or What the Reviews Say

  1. I love the sound of this – even if it does make me shallow!

    When I was in Rome over New Year I was in a gallery and there were two priests there, very handsome, and one in particular dressed to kill. Full length (i.e. half an inch from the floor) black coat, tailored to within an inch of its life; fabulous shoes, and when the coat swung open at the bottom there was a white robe underneath. Just amazing. I wish I’d had the guts to take a photo! 😂

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  2. I love the fashion forward footwear in your Father QUART pic of Richard!!!. I think this would be a thriller contemporary exploring many themes not necessarily religious all in nature.
    Very clever “wields a Mont Blanc pen instead if a snubbed nose Beretta”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the ‘St. James Bond’ description. I would rather it didn’t involve a romance though. a priest fighting temptation is so overdone 🙄 I’d also prefer he wear street clothes; the robes do nothing for me. so a detective operation rooted in religious politics with a good looking determined protagonist? I’m intrigued.

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  4. Well, when I read that this morning I was thrilled. Arturo Pérez-Reverte is my favourite writer, and a project involving my favorite living artists sounds like a dream. The novel is really good, much better than any summary can tell. Quart is not only a good looking man, but extremely intelligent. The book was written a decade (if I recall well) before Dan Brown’s books, just in case the temptation to think “oh, ANOTHER Vatican thriller!”. Both Quart and Macarena make a powerful leading couple. I don’t recall any real romance (but I read it years ago, perhaps I’m wrong), but with Paz Vega as leading lady, probably bodies will be connected other than minds. 😉 Let’s see what happen… It’s been listed for a long in pre-production.
    Oh, and as I work near the Vatican I guarantee that very good looking priests perhaps are not the average, but neither a “rara avis”.

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  5. As long as it not like G K Chesterton’s Father Brown lol it is afternoon viewing in the UK very cozy crimes lol
    I am old enough to remember The Thorn Birds I don’t think red is Richard’s colour.

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  6. Soll frau sich zu hoffen trauen?
    Grundsätzlich glaube ich, dass mir das schon sehr gefallen könnte, nach all den vielversprechenden Dingen, die ich hier lesen konnte. Aber ein gebranntes Kind scheut das Feuer.

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    • Du hast nicht ganz Unrecht, Elanor. Man ist ja mittlerweile vorsichtig, allzu viel Vorfreude zu investieren. Jedenfalls bis der Herr dann mal selber bestätigt. Aber neugierig macht das Projekt allemal.

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  7. Sorry to be pessimistic, but (a) they’re only making this b/c it’s a Vatican thriller; (b) I’ve never heard of any of the director’s other projects; (c) apart from Leguizamo I’ve never heard of any of the other people in it; (d) it’s not even shooting yet and (e) it doesn’t appear to have a distributor. I have never minded waiting for his projects, but I’m thinking this is a project in the category of Clearance or that Edith Wharton story he was associated with. If it shoots, it will be 2 years minimum before we see it.

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    • Probably all true. (Adding Geraldine Chaplin to the list of names, though – I’m sure you have heard of her, too?) And yes, very early to be rejoicing. We don’t even know whether it is shooting yet. Probably a case of dreamcasting…

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      • I had not. Related to the famous Chaplin? I just read the synopsis on our library’s home page — frankly, this sounds awful. I’m a bit surprised I hadn’t heard of this author, though — we have all of his novels in Spanish and in English translation. Most of their synopses sound unattractive, too, but I’ll be in town today so I will pick up the book and see what it’s about.

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        • She is the daughter of Charlie Chaplin and quite a well-known actor, I thought?
          IDK, I didn’t really think that the book sounded horrible as such. Ok, Dan Brown has kind of covered the whole Vatican drama/thriller, but the reviews didn’t slate the book at all. There was some criticism, but they were not overly negative. I don’t think I am going to read the book though – if this film *does* materialise, I do want the suspense to remain.

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          • I just looked her up. Famous for Dr Zhivago, which was before I was born. I have seen a few of her other films but don’t remember her specifically. i would say “does a lot of small roles in prestige projects.”

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            • I’m always been cool with crime/detective stories. I remember one called The Rosey Murders with Donald Sutherland that I thought was very good. (Might have title wrong since it was in the 70s and saw it from the back of a station wagon at the drive-in with parents.)

              Growing up catholic, I have never ever found any priest to be sexy, under any circumstances. Even the young ‘handsome’ one that had sex with students. My sophomore roommate, (15yr old) in HS was having sex with one of the two priests that taught at our school. I was 14 and being naive about that sort of activity at the time, did not exactly understand all that sex entailed. But I knew priests were not supposed to. I never thought it was exciting or thrilling like some girls did, _because_ it was taboo. I still don’t.

              In some ways, the whole priest outfit, (clothing) takes away, dampens any attraction for me. But that’s cool, less competition for everyone else. 😊

              If anyone saw Frank Miller’s The Spirit, Paz Vega has a cameo role in that. I remember because several dudes I know couldn’t shut up about how hot she was in it. 😊

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          • I thought it would be more a political/cyber criminal thriller starring the Tall Dwarf as a Father/protagonist. I read it this morning and thought it was quite clever and set in Rome!!! The fact that people like Leguizamo are attached to it hopefully will bring it to fruition!

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              • well — Spain. So it could be worse.

                I died laughing, because she’s a history professor, and she picked the city only b/c they wanted to go to Spain and had time for two cities (the other was Barcelona, where everyone is going nowadays) and she said, “I wasn’t planning on running into early modern history!” (One of the most famous works of Annaliste history is Pierre Chaunu, Seville et l”Atlantique and even those of us who haven’t read it know about it. She conceded that she must have had a temporary, early onset senior momet there.)

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                • Huh? She thought she wasn’t going to encounter early modern history in Seville? Hm, can you evade modern history, early or not, *anywhere*? 😉
                  But well, I have no idea otherwise. The only place in Spain I have ever been to, is the island of Majorca. (No offense Spain or Spaniards – I was just never interested…)

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                  • Well, she’s a historian of the American Revolution (but she conceded she’d read parts of Chaunu and forgotten it, and who can blame her, it’s really long and the conclusion is basically that Seville was an important Atlantic port. The point was the method and I don’t think there are any / many Annalists any more) — but for European history before about 1800, often you go places and the piece you’re interested in has been erased or destroyed or moved (sometimes after 1800, too, as Germany demonstrates really well). Not surprising really — history is long and there has been a lot of destruction to the historical fabric.

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    • Paul Guilfoyle is well known for supporting roles. I’ve always liked him. Had a big recurring role in the original Crime Scene Investigation and a huge IMDB listing. But not any sort of a-lister. Oh, to hear Richard Armitage speaking some Italian ( and yes, maybe Spanish). I agree, distribution might be an issue, as always, but I have better hopes for this than some others. And yes, I think Dan Stevens was the younger suitor is Summer.

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    • Jenny, good one. You are so right. How many RA projects have evaporated into thin air? I can’t remember them all. I hope this one makes it. Sounds intriguing, although “sexy priest” doesn’t rev my engine.What’s the point of being sexy if you are not allowed to have sex? Maybe it’s the “I could, If I wanted to,” thought. However, that strays close to the “I could have been a great proficient, had I ever learned.” Jane Austin P and P, one of my favs.

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      • LOL – Kathy, you are getting to the heart of it, as usual. No point in a sexy priest, completely useless. Although history has certainly proven that priests – even those who are not sexy – do have sex… (Again an issue that I have heard too much about in Ireland. Ugh.) But yep., let’s see whether this project gets off the ground, anyway…

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  8. not sure what ‘Summer’ movie with Dan Stevens you’re all referring to but it wasn’t him. Dan was in a film called ‘Summer in February’ but it had no relation to Edith Wharton. he did do a radio drama of something of hers once though.

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      • possibly. I’ve not seen anything referring to it (I read a lot of old articles, not every one, but a lot 😛 ). he did do a radio drama of ‘a custom of the country’, and he was in a movie with summer in the title, so maybe just a mix up.

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        • Looked it up. It was in early 2015; Armitage was attached to it, as were Hallee Steinfeld and Dan Stevens. Karen Moncrieff was the director. She was known for a critically lauded film called “Blue Car” and was listed as a “director to watch” in VAriety. Summer went nowhere. Moncrieff went on instead to direct The Keeping Hours (which was releaed in 2017 and included Lee Pace).

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  9. Well, I did get the book and read the first 50 pp. (I have to do my students’ homework now, so I have to stop, unfortunately.). It’s a lot better than that stupid synopsis that involves churches killing people. The resemblance to Dan Brown is superficial. Not sure how I’ll end up feeling about it, but if Armitage read the book I can imagine why the character might have appealed to him. Now, on to Kant. Blech.

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  10. Well I’m intrigued. Or maybe I’m just desperate for anything live-action where RA is (truly) in the lead role lol. I find it weird and hilarious to hear “sexy soldier of God”, but I’m not opposed to the idea of sexy priests! (I wonder if Catholics find the idea weird or is it a common theme? I don’t live in an area with a high Catholic population so Catholicism can be a bit exotic to me.) I’m not sure if I care if he wears a cassock or not, either way sounds good to me. It’s certainly an interesting look and we all know he looks fiiiine in black. And that pic of him with the shoes is killing me!! I’m very down for that.

    As for romance, I hope they stay away from the “sexual tension” angle, but only because it’s a cliche. Yes, Mr and Ms Writer, we all know priests are supposed to be celibate so it adds an extra layer of fun to play with, but it’s been done to death. I’ll take an understated tension, if it’s necessary. A straight-up romance in this genre could be…messy? Distracting? At the very least, tricky. (imo and experience, at least) I’m not opposed to the idea, just that it’s overused and rarely done to my satisfaction (true of most romances for me tho).

    Oh anyway, it all sounds very fun to me. I’m looking forward to it if RA is indeed going to be in it!

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    • The role of a Catholic priest would certainly be something entirely new for RA. He’s done the soldier twice, the spy twice, even the doctor a couple of times… But a handsome, mysterious priest? Well, there is a new departure… And he could very easily fit the bill for that imo.
      As for the romance – well, according to the reviews, there is romance – or at least romantic tension – in the literary source. I am not too keen on that angle. And not because of any religious hang-ups. (I am neither Catholic, nor do I believe that celibacy is useful, so please go ahead all you priests out there…) But as you said, it just adds an unnecessary extra layer onto the story, and it could easily overshadow the actual thriller. But well, *can* you make films *without* romance and sex nowadays??? (Of course, the fangirl in me screams that it would be a terrible shame if they didn’t use Armitage’s considerable charms in a romantic setting… especially the left nipple!)
      Either way, it would be great to hear more about the project – or to have it confirmed in the first place.

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      • I’m a protestant so I do find the whole celibacy thing a bit odd (or at least as a “rule” it seems odd). I guess the oddness of it makes for interesting writing–or at least easy writing, if one is only looking to add “will they or won’t they?” tension. If they do go in that direction, I just hope they do something original with it because I’m sure Richard wouldn’t mind (and would probably prefer!) flexing his acting muscles to do something out of the ordinary. Romances usually bore me because everything is always the same.

        On a similar note, and when I think about it, I don’t mind some “teasing”. As in: “it’s cold and they have to snuggle up even though they’re only friends!” I know, I know! It’s a cliche! (Just don’t use that actual cliche, it’s overused lol.) Done minimally, it can provide some titillation without overshadowing the main story with a full-blown romance. And for those that like romance, who says those characters can’t hook up after the story ends? I can get behind some of that as long as it’s not too cheesy or overdone.

        …Left nipple? Is there something I should know? Has there been a new development? Did this left nipple do a song and dance when I wasn’t looking? Did it replace Daniel and that’s why we can’t find him? But most importantly: where can I see footage of any of the above? Don’t hold back on me!

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        • Yeah, the story is kind of as old as the celibacy concept *grins*. In that sense, it is predictable and also somewhat boring. I wouldn’t be particularly interested in that storyline. But then again, in my case that is definitely also because I have been exposed to too many horror stories of priests who are sexually exploiting children and women. (And I am not even Catholic myself… but live in a predominantly Catholic country.)
          The left nipple really is just a joke of mine. Mainly because if you look over RA’s past oeuvre, it is usually only the right nipple that gets exposed. Since The Crucible, however, the left nipple has made a massive contribution to RA’s artistic expression. I even made a shrine for that… https://guylty.net/2015/03/23/ra-pocket-shrine-53-rip-off/

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  11. What an active day I’m finally getting in on. Wow, wow, wow! His character doesn’t have to “have a romance,” or have sex, to be sexy! And some priests, like people in many professions, are engaging and seductive (not necessarily sexually seductive) without being sex-creepy. The appeal can be intellectual, and we all know how well Armitage does intellectually seductive. Leguizamo, too: smart, seductive, and seductive’s dark side—manipulative. They’d be quite a pair, if their characters played off each other. I’m quite curious about this part and hope those who read the book will post more details.

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    • Good point re. “intellectually seductive”. Mind you, the author himself seems to have characterised Father Quart as a sexy, suave and seductive man, so we basically have it from the horse’s mouth 😉
      Interesting re. Leguizamo. Indeed, a main character in a thriller is only ever as good as the villain cast opposite him. Let’s hope this is going to be a cast of equals!

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  12. I’ve finally got around to reading this and there’s over 170 comments! It certainly has generated a lot of excitement, we’ll be going into total fangurrrling overload when – if – it eventually comes about! Still, the discussion is fun in the meantime.
    I too wish it was a romance, but URST (unresolved sexual tension) is good, better than nothing anyway, especially if RA gets his smoulder on. And please, no cassock – for obvious reasons ha!

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    • I’d say, smoulder yes, cassock no. Preferably smoulder without priest, but ok, in absence of any non-priest roles, I’ll even take URST with a man of the cloth. And yes, this kind of speculation is really fun and passes the time nicely…

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  13. I love the image Guylty – and the shoes! I’ve never thought of RA playing a priest but the role would really suit him for the depth, intensity, gravitas he could bring – and the idea of him as a priest is strangely attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

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