PELÉ Biopic Adds Vincent D’Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Colm Meaney and Seu Jorge at Start of Principal Photography

     October 2, 2013


Principal photography on Jeff and Michael Zimbalist’s biopic Pelé started earlier this week, and an extensive cast list has been revealed.  Vincent D’Onofrio (Men in Black) and Rodrigo Santoro (300) are in final negotiations to join the picture.  D’Onofrio would star as the Brazilian team’s World Cup coach, Vicente Feola.  Other additions include Colm Meaney (Hell on Wheels), who would play George Raynor, the Swedish World Cup coach.  Newcomer Kevin de Paula will play Pelé from age 13-17.  Hit the jump for more.

peleCheck out the full press release and casting announcement for Pelé below:



Los Angeles – Oct 2nd, 2013 – 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, 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.

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.

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.

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

Ivan Orlic quote, “I’m honored to be partners with Imagine Entertainment in telling the story of Pelé’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.”

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. 

Vincent D’Onofrio will play the Brazilian team’s World Cup coach Feola, and Diego Boneta will play Jose, Pelé’s arch rival and responsible for giving him the nickname ‘Pelé’ when they were children.  Seu 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.  Colm Meaney will play the role of Coach Raynor, the Swedish World Cup coach.

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

Emmy nominated actor Vincent D’Onofrio is considered one of the most versatile actors with over 80 credits to his name.  His career highlights include playing Pvt. Leonard Lawrence in Stanley Kubrick’s FULL METAL JACKET, Edgar in the box office smash hit MEN IN BLACK opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, Orson Welles in Tim Burton’s ED WOOD and Detective Robert Goren in the long running TV series ‘Law and Order: Criminal Intent.’  D’Onofrio will next be seen in THE JUDGE opposite Robert Downy Jr. and Vera Farmiga to be released by Warner Bros. in 2013.

Considered to be one of Brazil’s most famous actors, Rodrigo Santoro has starred in numerous box office hits including CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE opposite Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu; LOVE ACTUALLY opposite Laura Linney and Colin Firth, 300 opposite Gerald Butler and based on Frank Miller’s comic novel; and the Oscar nominated animated film RIO.  He will next be seen in 300’s sequel 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE to be released by Warner Bros. in 2014 and RIO 2 opposite Anne Hathaway and Leslie Mann to be released by 20th Century Fox.

Rising star Diego Boneta started his acting career appearing in ABC Family’s hit TV series ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and the CW’s ‘90210’. His breakout role was playing the lead in ROCK OF AGES opposite Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, which was released by Warner Bros. in 2012.

Colm Meaney has starred in numerous films including the box office hit GET HIM TO THE GREEK opposite Jonah Hill and Russell Brand; THE SNAPPER, where he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor; LAYER CAKE opposite Daniel Craig; LAW ABIDING CITIZEN opposite Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx; and THE DAMNED UNITED opposite Michael Sheen.  Meaney currently stars in AMC’s hit drama series ‘Hell on Wheels’.

Seu Jorge is a Brazilian musician and actor who appeared in the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film CITY OF GOD directed by Fernando Meirelles, and Wes Anderson’s THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, for which he also provided much of the soundtrack.

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.

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