Openly gay actor Rupert Everett will play Pope Benedict XVI in an upcoming biopic about the former pope and his ascension to the papal office.

The biopic of the life of the adamantly anti-gay former pope, who resigned at the end of February because of ill health, is to be based on a new biography, and will go into production early next year.

The British actor, who like the former pope does not support same-sex adoption and has criticised same-sex marriage, said: “Like the producers have said, I share the view that Pope Benedict lived an extraordinary life and I am excited at the potentially all-encompassing nature of this project.

“His attitude to gays was perhaps a little extreme but any gay person critical of me for taking this role needs to get real. This film will touch the lives of many.”

He previously said in an interview with the Sunday Times that he was a slut because he was “furious” with his Catholic faith.

The star said he has since come to terms with his faith, and that he wanted to take the steps to play the role. Last year he said: “Why do queens want to go and get married in churches?” He added: “I loathe heterosexual weddings; I would never go to a wedding in my life. I loathe the flowers, I loathe the fucking wedding dress, the little bridal tiara. It’s grotesque. It’s just hideous.” Like the former Pope, Everett has also questioned same-sex parenting.

Late in 2012, the Odeon Film company released information that producers Marcus Mende and Peter Weckert were planning a film for international release which would be based on a biography by Peter Seewald.

The pair bought the film rights to Seewald’s biography, which is due to be published in early 2014.

“The producers plan an international film that illustrates all aspects of the extraordinary life and work of Joseph Ratzinger from his birth on Easter night in 1927 in Marktl am Inn in Bavaria to his pontificate,” a release from Odeon Film said.

Pope Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II was the subject of more than a dozen documentary films worldwide, and two major television moves in the US.

Earlier this year, Everett said he would not advise any gay actor working in the movie industry to come out as it would not help their career.

The controversial star was roundly condemned in both the US and the UK by LGBT campaigners when he said last year: “I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”

Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but Pope Benedict’s decision to step down was the first since 1415.

In 2012, the former pope warned that introducing equal marriage around the world would risk the future of humanity itself.

At the end of the year, in his message for World Day of Peace 2013, he said same-sex marriage is unnatural and poses a threat to “justice and peace”.

Days before he was pictured giving a blessing to Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, who has promised to pass the country’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

In an end-of year address in 2008, the Pope said that the existence of gay people threatened humanity as much as the destruction of the rainforests does and that “blurring” genders through acceptance of transgender people would kill off the human race.