Call it an opportunity of a lifetime for the Italian-born Hollywood filmmaker Andrea Iervolino who had the head of the catholic church Pope Francis on the set of his new movie ‘Beyond the Sun’.

“We make eight to 10 movies every year with big movie stars. This is not just a movie. This is something special,” he gushes to the Guardian UK. “I have the opportunity to do a movie with a special appearance of the pope for charity. For me, this is the most important thing that I can do with my life.”

A devout catholic, Iervolino made his first film aged 15 with the help of his local church, which lent him costumes, a horse and a filming location.

Beyond the Sun has cameo appearances of Pope Francis who starred as himself and seen in the beginning, middle and end of the movie.

Recently screened at the Vatican, the narrative centres on children searching for God who are urged by the pope to talk to Jesus and read the gospels.

Iervolino revealed that the pope’s part was unscripted and shot in a single take. “He did his own speech,” Iervolino said. “We only explained to him the story and the compass. He’s not an actor. He’s himself. So he’s real, which is important.”

Beyond the Sun which is scheduled to premiere during the Christmas season will send its proceeds to charities for less privileged children in Argentina.