The Pele Biopic Is Hitting U.S. Theaters Next Year

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It ain’t easy to get an independent movie made. Even with a script about one of the world’s greatest athletes and Hollywood muscle rounding out the cast in the form of Vincent D’Onofrio, the old adage still rings true: the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And it seems that’s precisely what happened with the much-anticipated Pelé biopic, Pelé: Birth of a Legend.

Our longtime readers may recall that way back in the digital Dark Ages of 2013 we reported on the promising feature project, which found itself well into development with its premiere slated to coincide with the 2014 World Cup festivities. It all seemed perfectly in place, and the free PR bonanza from Brazil’s soccer fever was almost too good to be true. But alas, the World Cup came and went, and the Pelé biopic never materialized.

Well, since we’re we already running with the old adages, we can now happily invoke the classic “better late than never,” because Pelé: Birth of a Legend has been purchased by IFC films and is officially slated for a 2016 premiere. The film stars Leonardo Carvalho and Kevin de Paula – an up-and-coming professional soccer player in the Brazilian league – as the young versions of Pelé, first as a 9-year-old prodigy, then as a teenage prodigy. Birth of a Legend will chronicle his early life from the favelas of Minas Gerais up until his historical appearance in the 1958 World Cup at the age of 17.

Without a doubt, professional soccer has taken a pretty serious blow to its credibility in the year that’s passed since the film’s original planned release, but maybe a film like this is just what the world needs to remember the elegant beauty of o jogo bonito.