Vincent D'Onofrio and Rodrigo Santoro Join Soccer Biopic Pele
Emmy nominated actor Vincent D'Onofrio (Men In Black, Law & 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 Pele, the inspirational drama about the legendary Brazilian soccer player, written and to be directed by Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist, and produced by Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer, Seine Pictures' Ivan Orlic, and Kim Roth, and Colin Wilson.
Seine Pictures is fully financing the film and licensed Pele's life rights from Sports Licensing International B.V.
The film's creative team includes Academy Award nominated director of photography Matthew Libatique (Black Swan, Iron Man 2, Iron Man), production designer Dominic Watkins (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Bourne Supremacy), editor Naomi Geraghty (Limitless, Reservation Road, 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).
Domestic rights for the film are jointly repped by CAA and WME.
Exclusive Media's President of International Sales and Distribution, Alex Walton, is handling international sales.
Producer Brian Grazer had this to say in a statement.
"I've always been excited about the exploration of genius. Pele is that story. He is an inspiration to his country."
Producer Ivan Orlic also released his own statement.
"I'm honored to be partners with Imagine Entertainment in telling the story of Pele's early years, 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."
Pele 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, Pele 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.
Vincent D'Onofrio will play the Brazilian team's World Cup coach Feola, and Diego Boneta will play Jose, Pele's arch rival and responsible for giving him the nickname 'Pelé' when they were children. Seu Jorge has also joined the cast to play Pele'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. Colm Meaney will play the role of Coach Raynor, the Swedish World Cup coach.
The Zimbalist brothers directed and produced together Emmy nominated The Two Escobars which was released by Disney / ESPN Films and also invited to the Cannes Film Festival 2010. Jeff Zimbalist additionally directed Favela Rising which garnered him the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2005 TriBeCa Film Festival and an Emmy Award nomination in 2006.