There were more than a few star-struck smiles when Pelé took to the Croisette on Wednesday  to talk to Exclusive Media buyers about the upcoming self-titled biopic.
The Brazilian legend sat down with producer Brian Grazer and Screen International and gave a very decisive answer when asked why now was the right time to tell his rags-to-riches story.
“I have done a lot of films with children and worked with the Special Olympics and UNICEF and God said, ‘OK, this is the moment,’” said Pelé.
His manager and agent Paul Kemsley, an executive producer on the film with Pelé and Exclusive Media co-chairman Guy East, also played a part. “He told me that when I did Escape To Victory with Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine it was a football film and it was time to leave a message for the future generation and talk about my youth and my career.”
Grazer, something of a legend himself in Hollywood with a best picture Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, said: “I have an interest in football but my knowledge is very narrow… I love stories about great men who have to reach into themselves for resources they didn’t know existed. I have made a few films in that vein myself.”
Grazer, fellow producers Ivan Orlic, Kim Roth and Dany Wolf and writer-directors Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist, aim to cast out of Brazil and start production within six months on the story charting Pelé’s journey from humble origins to three-time World Cup winner.
The plan is to coincide the release of the Imagine Entertainment and Seine Pictures production with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next June. Pelé anticipates a warm-hearted tale with a great message.
“When I was a young boy playing in the streets before I joined Santos my father told me not to tease the other kids with the gifts God gave me, but to be a good man who respected people,” he said. “The idea of this film is to give the children an example and that’s important.”