A disillusioned Catholic priest, the illegitimate son of a billionaire becomes the first American Pope, overturning Rome’s age-old canons. The first Pope to resign in 600 years, he abdicates the pomp and power of the papacy, to return to the woman he loves.
Is this the set-up of the story, the story starting when he returns to the woman he loves and about how he goes about life after being pope
Or is this the whole story. In which case the story ends with him returning to the woman he loves.
If it is the second, then I would leave out the part about abdicating the papacy, because you shouldn’t give away the end of the movie in your logline.
There are liberties you can take with fact… and others you can’t. It’s easier to get away with fudging dates and events in the distant past, like Ridley Scott did in “Gladiator” and “Kingdom of Heaven”. Because nobody other than a few scholars would know the difference. But not for dates and events in the recent past.
So it does not strengthen the credibility of your premise to state such a glaring inaccuracy for a recent event. Quite the opposite, it’s a stumbling block. The logline raises an unnecessary question in movie makers minds (WTF? Wait a minute. What about Benedict?) It gives them an excuse to pass on your premise.
And I don’t see how your premise depends on that fiction.
I agree with Richiev and dpg. Writing a story that is seemingly set in our world would have our history. Changing something (somewhat unnecessarily tbh) like this will make readers just focus on the inaccuracies rather than the story.
What difference does it actually make for him to be the 2nd? Or 3rd? or 4th? He’s already breaking ground in being the first American Pope… the simple fact that he’s abdicating for the woman he loves is the story. Not how many others have abdicated before him.
Don’t let a potentially good story be sidetracked by a minor point that is really not worth fighting for.
The fact that he’s an illegitimate son of a billionaire… is that important?
It is probably unlikely that anyone here is going to read your script (I’ve asked the very same question when I first joined). The whole point of a logline is that a reader can understand the story enough so they don’t have to read the script. A logline is the first thing a person will read so it’s really important that it’s as good as it can be and that’s the primary purpose of this site. To help nail a good logline. However it’s always worth remembering that a great story can have a bad logline but a bad story can never have a great logline.
From my own painful experience too, always write the logline first. If story issues are pointed out here based on your logline – no big deal – you’re tweaking 35 words. If something is pointed out in a logline and the script is written…. could be a disaster.
Hope this helps.