Arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Pelé (born Edison Arantes do Nascimento) will be the subject of a scripted feature film which will see the involvement of Brian Grazer and his Imagine Entertainment.
Jeff and Michael Zimbalist penned the screenplay, and are directing the film as well, with principal photography scheduled to end this month. 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.”
Vincent D’Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Colm Meaney and Seu Jorge all star in Pelé (as the film will be called), with the legend being played by two new faces in Leonardo Lima Carvalho as Pelé at age 10 years old, and Kevin de Paula, who’ll play Pelé from ages 13 to 17, when he won his first World Cup, in 1958.
D’Onofrio plays the Brazilian team’s coach, Vicente Feola (when they won the 1958 World Cup), while Boneta plays Jose, Pelés main competition, who also gave him the nickname “Pelé” when they were both kids. Seu Jorge plays Pelé’s father, Dondinho. And Meaney is the British coach of the Swedish nation team that lost to Brazil in the 1958 World Cup final – George Raynor.
Rounding out the cast are several Brazilian actors in Marianna Nunes, Milton Goncales, Rafael Henrique, Marcus Vinicius, Julio Levy, Thelmo Fernandes, Felipe Simas, and Charles Myara.
Principal photography is kicked off in Brazil at the end of September, with the goal being to release the film prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Seine Pictures is producing along with Grazer.
Let me just say that I’m glad to see that Brazilian actors are actually playing, not only Pelé, but seem to be heavily involved in the project. They could’ve cast a celebrity like, you know, Justin Beiber in “black face” to play Pelé, as ridiculous as that might sound.
This is Hollywood we’re talking about after all.
Variety has a first look image from the film, which is at the top of this post. The photo in its actual size is below.