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OTRC: Kyle Chandler to star in Showtime pilot 'The Vatican'

Kyle Chandler and his wife appear at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Zero Dark Thirty,' on December 10, 2012. (SPE, Inc./Eric Charbonneau)

Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler could be returning to television if the new Showtime drama pilot "The Vatican" gets picked up to series.

The 47-year-old "Friday Night Lights" and "Zero Dark Thirty" actor has been cast in the pilot in the lead role as the fictional Cardinal Thomas Duffy. Showtime described the character in a statement as "the charismatic yet enigmatic Archbishop of New York, whose progressive leanings excite some and alarm others within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church."

The potential series is set in the modern day and the pilot will also feature actors Matthew Goode of "Watchman" and "A Single Man" and Sebastian Koch of "A Good Day to Die Hard."

"The Vatican" pilot will begin production in 2013. Showtime said in a statement the series "will explore the relationships and rivalries as well as the mysteries and miracles behind one of the world's most hidden institutions."

Paul Attanasio, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter behind "Quiz Show" and "Donnie Brasco" wrote the hour-long script. "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott will direct the pilot, marking his first ever for television.

"Kyle Chandler is one of the most talented and sought-after actors working today, and was a fantastic creative partner through five seasons of 'Friday Night Lights,'" David Nevins, President of Entertainment for Showtime Networks Inc., said in a statement. "With Kyle, Matthew Goode and Sebastian Koch, Ridley and Paul have put together a powerhouse cast to anchor this incredibly timely show."

Chandler is likely best known for his TV role as Coach Eric Taylor on "Friday Night Lights." The series ran for five seasons and in 2011, Chandler won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series. He is also known for his role on the series "Early Edition" and for his guest stint on "Grey's Anatomy."

The actor's film credits also include "Super 8," "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "King Kong" and "Broken City." Chandler also had roles in two of this year's Oscar-nominated films -- "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

Chandler will next appear alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the feature film "The Wolf of Wall Street," directed by Martin Scorsese.

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