Principal photography has started in Rio de Janeiro on Imagine Entertainment’s biog pic of Pelé, the world’s most famous footballer.
The film will show Pelé’s journey from childhood to the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, when, at just 17 he scored Brazil’s winning goal in the final. The 10-year old Pelé is played by Leonardo Lima Carvalho. From age 13 to 17 he is played by Kevin de Paula. Both newcomers were selected after two solid months of auditions.
The cast also includes Seu Jorge (playing Pelé’s father, Dondinho); Emmy-nominee Vincent d’Onofrio (MIB, Ed Wood and Full Metal Jacket), in the role of Vicente Feola, Brazil’s coach at the World Cup; Mexican star Diego Boneta (Rock of Ages), plays rival José, the man who gave young Edson the nickname that would become so famous; and Colmn Meaney (Get Him To The Greek), is Sweden’s team coach. The film is written and directed by brothers Michael and Jeff Zimbalist, nominated for an Emmy in 2010 for their The Two Escobars documentary.
“I’ve always been for exploring the theme of genius. And Pelé is genius itself. He’s an inspiration to his country,” says Imagine Entertainment producer Brian Grazer.
“I am honoured to be a partner of Imagine Entertainment and to tell the story of Pelé’s infancy and youth, the story of the origin of one people’s hero and the soccer king, a man whose life inspired so many and who will now inspire a new generation”, adds Seine Pictures’ Ivan Orlic.
The production includes other top professionals , among them Academy Award-nonimated cinematographer Matthew Libatique (The Black Swan, Iron Man and Iron Man 2), art director Dominic Watkins (The Bourne Supremacy), editor Naomi Geraghty (Limitless, Reservation Road, Hotel Rwanda), costume designer Inês Salgado (City of God) and casting directors Marcela Altberg, Maria Vernieu (Silver Linings Playbook, The Black Swan) and Gail Stevens (Zero Dark Thirty, Slumdog Millionare).
The feature is scheduled for a May 2014 release, in time for the 2014 World Cup.