Studios gearing up to release soccer-inspired movies ahead of World Cup
Leonardo Lima Carvalho (R) plays the young Pelé in a biopic on the Brazilian soccer great, slated for release in late May. (Photo from Ique Esteves)
Published Sunday, March 30, 2014 9:47AM EDT
Soccer is in the limelight this summer, and not just in Brazilian stadiums. Riding on the wave of enthusiasm before and after the World Cup, film studios are preparing to release several movies celebrating the world's most popular sport.
Two of this summer's soccer movies even have a connection to Brazil. The most anticipated of these is without a doubt "Pelé," a biopic on the legendary Brazilian player Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known throughout the world by his nickname. The film will focus primarily on the athlete's youth in Brazil and the lead up to his first World Cup victory in Sweden in 1958.
Directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, "Pelé" features Leonardo Lima Carvalho and Kevin de Paula in the role of the soccer star, who is still considered one of the greatest players of all time. Brazilian singer Seu Jorge and international cinema stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro and Colm Meaney will also appear. "Pelé" is due for release in late May, just a few weeks before the start of the World Cup on June 12.
Another homage to soccer in film, James Erskine's "Shooting for Socrates" is a coming of age story set against the backdrop of the 1986 World Cup finals match between Northern Ireland and Brazil, which took place in Mexico. Arriving in UK theaters this June, the feature is inspired by the recollections of Northern Ireland player David Campbell. The game in question was the player's first international match, and Northern Ireland was defeated 0-3. Nico Mirallegro portrays the player, and John Hannah co-stars in the role of Billy Bingham, the team's manager.
For fans of more experimental formats, Daniel Gruener has compiled "Short Plays," a compilation of brief films by 31 international filmmakers. According to Variety, Gaspar Noé, Vincent Gallo, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Carlos Moreno are among contributors to the project. Each sketch lasts between three and five minutes and draws a parallel between soccer and scenes of everyday life in the director's home country. "Short Plays" is expected to premiere in late April.