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Pope Francis to Appear in Film, But Not as Actor, Vatican Says

FILE - Pope Francis blesses a child during a special audience with Vatican employees for Christmas greetings at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Dec. 21, 2015.

Pope Francis is expected to appear in a spiritual film aimed at children, Italian producers said Monday, but the Vatican said the pontiff would not be acting.

"Beyond the Sun," described as a "family adventure story where children from different cultures emulate the apostles while searching for Jesus in the world around them," is in development by Rome-based distribution and production company AMBI.

The AMBI project, announced in a news release, led some media outlets Monday to report that the film would mark the pope's debut as a movie actor.

However, the AMBI website says the film intends to "end with an epilogue from Pope Francis telling children how and where to find Jesus."

"The pope is not an actor," a Vatican spokesman said, downplaying suggestions that Francis would be making any kind of film debut.

AMBI said filming would start later in 2016 and that profits would go to two charities that work with young people in need in Argentina, where Francis was born.

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