Dolphin Films announced today that Ben Winchell (Disney's "A.N.T. Farm," "Necessary Roughness") and Ana Villafañe have signed on to play the signature roles of Max McGrath™ and Sydney Gardner in Max Steel, the highly anticipated, live-action franchise feature film based on Mattel's popular superhero property of the same name.

"Max Steel," which is being produced by Dolphin Films and Mattel, is slated for a wide theatrical release by Open Road Films domestically and IM Global internationally in 2015. It's being penned by Marvel Studios veteran Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World) and directed by award-winning director Stewart Hendler.

Dolphin Entertainment CEO Bill O'Dowd said this about the project.

"We couldn't be more thrilled to introduce audiences worldwide to Ben Winchell and Ana Villafañe. The Max Steel franchise fan base is extremely passionate about the lead characters of Max and Sydney, and we knew we needed to get the casting just right. Ben and Ana are extremely talented young actors, and we're confident fans will fall in love with each of them the minute they hit the big screen. Max Steel' has a unique combination of success factors for independent distributors worldwide. Max Steel is a tentpole film that launches a movie franchise, and brings the global marketing power of the world's largest toy company in Mattel, a first-rate partnership with IM Global, and a top-quality story written for audiences of all ages by Marvel Studios veteran Christopher Yost."

The high-octane story centers on teenager Max McGrath and his alien companion Steel, who combine special turbo-energy powers to become the superhero Max Steel™. The film provides audiences with the first new superhero in decades, bringing a positive and relatable hero to audiences of all ages, while combining action and adventure with teamwork, laughter and friendship.

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Producer Julia Pistor added.

"Max Steel is an aspirational high school superhero supported by an action packed narrative that's well suited for the world stage. The renowned creative team we have assembled, along with our partners at Dolphin and IM Global, are able to bring the origin story of Max Steel to the big screen for millions of fans around the world while also introducing new audiences to the courageous hero."

The film will be sold through the strategic partnership between Dolphin Films International and IM Global during the European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival, Feb. 6-16. In a special exclusive presentation, Dolphin Films International will co-present "Max Steel" with IM Global on Feb. 6.

A young rising star, Ben Winchell will take on the lead role of Max McGrath. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Winchell began his acting career at the age of five in community theatre. At age 14, he was cast in the stage performance of "High School Musical 2" at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Winchell is best known for his roles in the top-rated Lifetime Network movie "Pregnancy Pact," as well as Dixon in season 3 of "A.N.T. Farm" (Disney) and Eric in season 2 of "Necessary Roughness" (TNT).

Ana Villafañe will play Max's love interest, Sydney Gardner. An up-and-coming Latina actress and singer from Miami, Florida, Villafañe's first foray into film was in the award-winning feature film "Magic City Memoirs."

Additional casting announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

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