Cast Announced For Pele Biopic
D'Onofrio! Santoro! Meaney! Boneta! Jorge!
Slightly later than the originally planned August start date, shooting on the still-untitled Pele biopic has just kicked off in Brazil. And waiting on the bench for their moment in front of the camers are some new arrivals to the cast: Vincent D'Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Colm Meaney, Seu Jorge and Diego Boneta are all unpacking their away kit.
The film is an origin story, charting Pele's journey from the Sao Paulo slums to the pitch of Sweden's Rasunda Stadium, where he led Brazil to World Cup victory in 1958, aged just 17.
D'Onofrio is up for the role of the Brazilian team coach Vincente Feola, who was responsible for "discovering" Pele. Boneta (Rock Of Ages) will be playing "Jose", described as the footballer's slumdog nemesis and the guy responsible for dubbing him Pele in the first place. Since the origins of that name seem confused at best, we're calling that a spot of artistic licence.
Santoro, meanwhile, probably best known here as Xerxes from 300 and its sequel, is playing a role as-yet unspecified. Jorge (The Escapist) will be Pele's father (himself a footballer) Dondinho. And Meaney, who we last saw taking pot shots at Alan Partridge, will tackle George Raynor, the English coach of the Swedish team that faced Brazil in the '58 final.
Pele himself is being played by two newcomers: Leonardo Lima Carvalho will play the star aged 10, and Kevin De Paula will take over from the ages of 13 to 17.
Documentary makers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist are the film's co-writers and co-directors, with veterans Brian Grazer and Kim Roth among the producers. As we said, shooting is already underway, and the film currently has a UK release date of May 28 next year.