Arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Pelé – born Edison Arantes do Nascimento – will be the subject of a scripted feature film backed by Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, based on a recommendation by New York Cosmos soccer club chairman Paul Kemsley, who owns the life story rights to Pelé.
Jeff and Michael Zimbalist have been hired to pen the screenplay, with the possibility of directing the film as well. The brothers Zimbalist last helmed the acclaimed documentary The Two Escobars for ESPN Films in 2010.
According to Imagine Entertainment, the plan is to produce “more of a coming-of-age story that will trace Pele’s childhood until he won his first World Cup in Sweden at the age of 17.”
Principal photography is scheduled to start in Brazil next year, with the goal being to release the film prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
No word on casting; but I assume they’d go with an actor from the soccer legend’s neck of the woods.
The deal is being brokered by WME on behalf of Paul Kemsley and the Pele Estate.
And while we wait for this to become a reality… here’s a 2010 short film, directed by Luciano Moura and Nando Olival, and executive produced by Fernando Meirelles (director of City Of God, The Constant Gardener), which presents a fictionalized account of a then 69-year-old Pelé, returning to play for the Brazil national team, against the country’s long-time rivals, Argentina, as Pelé, who finished his career playing for the New York Cosmos in the now-defunct North American Soccer League, in the late 1970s, gets his opportunity to score his final career goal as a Brazilian team player.