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Imagine Entertainment Taking Its Pelé Project To Cannes – Aiming For Summer Shoot

Imagine Entertainment Taking Its Pelé Project To Cannes - Aiming For Summer Shoot

The Marché du Film (Cannes Film Market) which takes place during the Cannes Film Festival, starts in about 6 days, and early announcements from various attending companies revealing their project slates, are in full swing.

Here’s one that got my attention.

Apparently heading to production sooner than I expected, Exclusive Media will take its Pelé feature film to the Market to sell international rights. 

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.

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 now scheduled to start in Brazil this summer, with the goal being to release the film prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

No word on casting; but we should know something soon, if a summer shoot date is planned. I assume they’d go with an actor from the soccer legend’s neck of the woods.

The deal is being brokered by WME and CAA and the Pele Estate, representing US rights.

The soccer legend himself will fly to Cannes to meet with buyers. He will serve as executive producer alongside Paul Kemsley and Exclusive Media co-chairman Guy East

Of course Grazer and his Imagine Entertainment, along with Seine Pictures, will produce.

By the way, this is actually the second Pelé project in development (that we know of). Last November, it was announced that the legendary New York soccer team, the New York Cosmos, most famous as the team that “brought Pelé to America,” will be the subject of a feature film in development, with Caroline Rowland, director of the official London 2012 Olympics film First (which receives its world premiere in London tonight, Nov 6), in talks to direct. Pelé was picked up by the team during the 1975 season, in a deal that was seen as a major coup for the ball club, acquiring a player whose worldwide popularity was compared to that of the Pope’s.

And while we wait for either film 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.

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