Cree en grande.

The "king" Pele scoring goals again...on the big screen


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The "king" Pele scoring goals again...on the big screen

Action! Minute 90 and the score 4-2. Pele dribbles past two defenders and scores the fifth to lead Brazil into the final against Sweden. The scene is repeated again and again until it is perfect: it is one of the many goals of the "king" engraved in the memory of celluloid.

The early years of the life of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, born into poverty and  consecrated at 17 years of age as the star Pele, are on the big screen in a feature film which is being filmed in Rio de Janeiro, six months from the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

It isn't 1958 nor the Rasunda stadium in Stockholm, but movie magic makes it possible to go back in time. Advertising in black and white are placed on fences around the modest field of club America and players wear the uniform of the time with black boots and white laces.

The plot presents "many obstacles, pain, challenges and mistakes of this youngster during his trip," which ends with the consecration of Pele as the star of the 1958 World Cup when he scored the decisive goal against Sweden to win the first of Brazil's five titles, explained American Michael Zimbalist, who wrote and directed the film with his brother Jeff, to the AFP.

The film does not yet have planned theatrical release date, and the production did not comment on its budget.

In the first person

The "king" Pele, 72 years old and considered the best player of all time, is among the executive producers of the film, with Paul Kemsley and Exclusive Media. Seine Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are the production houses.

The Zimbalist brothers wrote a meticulous script based on stories told to them by Pele himself, allowing them to give a deep first person story.

"Pele was a great help in the conception of the story, learning about his life," says Michael, who says that the star did not intervene or censor any part of the script.

"At no time was there the intention of making a light film and I think that was clear from the beginning (...). I don't believe Pele was embarrassed to talk about any negative thing," he stresses.

A controversial Brazilian law prohibiting the publication of unauthorized biographies and defended by several celebrities, especially musicians, can be reviewed in the coming weeks in Congress.

Pele won two more World Cups with Brazil, in 1962 and 1970, and scored more than 1,000 goals in his career. FIFA proclaimed him the player of the twentieth century in 2000 and a year before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded him the title of "Athlete of the Century".

400 Pele's

400 youngsters came to the casting call to play Pele. Two were selected: Leonardo Lima plays the player at 10 years of age and Kevin de Paula from 13 to 17.

With both "there was something magical that felt good from the first day and surpassed our expectations," says Zimbalist.

Leonardo is not a professional actor but is a footballer on a second division team. He dribbles in front of the camera, makes one, two turns and scores with style: the choreography will come out easily, even when you have to repeat it several times to get all the camera angles.

A pause for a retouch of makeup and a styling of the afro to look more like Pele. Every detail is taken care of down to the way the laces are tied at the ankle.

The production does not allow the "Pele's" to give interviews.

The cast features the likes of Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro, Mexican Diego Boneta, Irishman Colm Meaney and American Vincent D'Onofrio. The Brazilian singer "Seu Jorge" (Jorge Mario da Silva) will play Pele's father, Dondinho.

Many of the actors do not dream of a career in film but in football like Mailson Moura, who is confident that his interpretation of defender Mauro Ramos can give him a push onto the real pitches.

"It is very difficult to imitate people who are magical. I saw many videos, read books. It's hard, but you do your best," says Felipe Simas who plays the deceased Mane Garrincha.

Some more scenes need to be shot of the game against France and there are players wearing the uniform of Sweden hanging around the set. The day promises to be long.

Silence, camera rolling...Action!