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IFC Films to release Pelé biopic in North America next year

By
Karen Butler
Brazilian soccer legend Pele takes part in the opening-bell ceremonies at the NASDAQ in New York's Times Square on July 11, 2007. Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI
Brazilian soccer legend Pele takes part in the opening-bell ceremonies at the NASDAQ in New York's Times Square on July 11, 2007. Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- IFC Films says it is acquiring the North American rights to the biopic Pelé: Birth of a Legend and plans to release it in 2016.

Written and directed by Michael and Jeffrey Zimbalist, the film was produced by Imagine Entertainment and Seine Pictures. The titular, Brazilian soccer great served as an executive producer on the picture, which chronicles his early career.

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Newcomers Leonardo Carvalho and Kevin de Paula were cast to play the rising star at ages nine and 17 respectively after an extensive, international search by the film's producers and casting directors.

"The two young actors who play my younger self will be true stars, as their skills both on-screen and on the football pitch proved," Pelé, now 74, said in a statement Thursday.

The film's ensemble also includes actors Vincent D'Onofrio, Colm Meaney and Rodrigo Santoro, and Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. Rounding out the cast are Diego Boneta, Mariana Nunes, Milton Gonçalves, Rafael Henrique, Marcus Vinicius, Julio Levy, Thelmo Fernandes, Felipe Simas, Charles Myara, Jerome Franz and Roger Haag.

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