Production Begins on Brazilian Soccer Biopic Pelé

Emmy nominated actor Vincent D’Onofrio (Men in Black, “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”) and Rodrigo Santoro (300, Love Actually) are in final negotiations to star alongside Diego Boneta (Rock of Ages), Golden Globe nominated actor Colm Meaney (Get Him to the Greek, The Damned United) and Seu Jorge (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, City of God) who have joined the cast of Pelé, an upcoming drama about the legendary Brazilian soccer player, written and to be directed by Michael and Jeff Zimbalist, and produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Seine Pictures’ Ivan Orlic, and Kim Roth, and Colin Wilson.

Pelé tells the miraculous story of the legendary soccer player’s rise to glory from a young boy to the 17 year old player who scored the winning goal in Brazil’s first ever World Cup victory in 1958. From a life full of disadvantages and an impoverished youth in Brazil, Pelé used his unorthodox yet authentic style of play and his unbeatable spirit to overcome all odds, find greatness and inspire a country that he changed forever.

D’Onofrio will play the Brazilian team’s World Cup coach, Feola, and Boneta will play Jose, Pelé’s arch rival and responsible for giving him the nickname ‘Pelé’ when they were children. Jorge has also joined the cast to play Pelé’s father, Dondinho, alongside newcomers Kevin de Paula, who will play Pelé from age 13-17, and Leonardo Lima Carvalho, who will play him at age 10. Meaney will play the role of Coach Raynor, the Swedish World Cup coach.

The film’s creative team includes Academy Award nominated director of photography Matthew Libatique (Black Swan, Iron Man), production designer Dominic Watkins (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Bourne Supremacy), editor Naomi Geraghty (Hotel Rwanda, “Treme”), costume designer Ines Salgado (City of God) and casting directors Marcela Altberg, Mary Vernieu (Silver Linings Playbook, Black Swan), and Gail Stevens (Zero Dark Thirty, Slumdog Millionaire).

“I’ve always been excited about the exploration of genius,” says Grazer. “Pelé is that story. He is an inspiration to his country.”

“I’m honored to be partners with Imagine Entertainment in telling the story of Pelé’s early years,” adds Orlic, “an origin story of a people’s hero and the King of football, a man whose life has inspired so many and that I hope will inspire a new generation.”

The film’s supporting cast includes Marianna Nunes, Milton Goncales, Rafael Henrique, Marcus Vinicius, Julio Levy, Thelmo Fernandes, Felipe Simas, Charles Myara, Jerome Franz, and Roger Haag.

Principal photography started on September 30 on location in Brazil. Pelé will be executive produced by Pelé, Paul Kemsley and Exclusive Media. Seine Pictures is fully financing the film and licensed Pele’s life rights from Sports Licensing International B.V.

(Photo Credit: WENN.com)

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