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Imagine Ent. sets biopic of soccer’s Pele

Jeff and Michael Zimbalist to pen feature

Imagine Entertainment is getting in on the slew of soccer-themed projects spurred by the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, planning a feature film about legendary Brazilian soccer player Pele.

Shingle has tapped brothers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist to write the screenplay with the possibility of directing the pic, to be shot in English with some Portuguese. Brothers are not strangers to Latino-themed projects, having worked individually or jointly on such docus as “Favela Rising” and “The Two Escobars.”

“This will be more of a coming-of-age story that will trace Pele’s childhood until he won his first World Cup in Sweden at the age of 17,” said Imagine production prexy Kim Roth.

Goal is to start shoot next year in Brazil for release prior to the World Cup. Project was brought to Imagine by former New York Cosmos soccer club chairman Paul Kemsley, who owns the life story rights to Pele, widely regarded as the most outstanding soccer player of all time.

Other soccer-themed projects are brewing in Brazil and the U.K. such as London-based Spring Films’ three-part TV skein “The Beautiful Game,” which will use the prism of soccer to explore the culture and people of Brazil. Spring Films’ Ed Dallal is developing and writing the skein.

Mike Downey’s London-based shingle F&ME is making docu “Streetkids United II” — the second in a series of docus about street kids and soccer.

The deal is being brokered by WME on behalf of Kemsley and the Pele Estate.

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