Acting School Aims to Make Hollywood More Like Holywood

Years before he was known as Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla hoped to become an actor.

The late pontiff studied drama in his native Poland at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University. Later, while preparing for the priesthood at a clandestine seminary, he also was a member of the underground Rhapsodic theater company.

“Artistic talent is a gift from God,” John Paul once said. “And whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste his talent, but must develop it.”

The Holy Wood Acting Studio in California is following the beloved pope’s direction by helping aspiring actors develop both their artistic and spiritual gifts.

“Our mission is to turn out actors who will lead the way toward a moral center for the movie and television industry,” the studio’s website says. “All our courses emphasize personal and professional growth and development, not limiting such growth to acting potential, but also transforming the trainees into leaders in their families and community as well.”

Founded by a family of devout Catholics, the studio in Culver City, Calif., convened its first classes last month – a summer session for a dozen students – and is set to begin its first yearlong session (for up to 50 students) in September.

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