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Mediapro Advances on De la Iglesia’s ‘Messi’

Docu focuses on the makings of soccer genius Lionel Messi

MADRID – Returning to its production policy of high-profile auteur takes on iconic Latin Americans, Mediapro, Spain’s biggest independent production rights-holding and services conglom, has tapped Alex de la Iglesia to helm “Messi,” a docu-feature portrait of the makings of Argentine soccer player Leo Messi.

Prior Mediapro docu-portraits include Oliver Stone’s 2003 “Comandante,” the U.S. director’s vision of Fidel Castro, produced by Mediapro, Morena and Pentagrama.

The documentary comes as the world’s eyes turn to Brazil where this June Messi, already considered one of the game’s all-time greats, confronts his destiny of trying to steer his national team this June to its first FIFA World Cup win in 28 years.

“Messi” is scheduled to bow in the run-up to the most-watched sporting event in the world.

Written by Jorge Valdano, a former Argentine soccer player who scored one of the goals in Argentina’s last win, in the 1986 final, and went on to become a sports journalist as well as a manager and sports director of Real Madrid, “Messi” asks whether Messi’s genius is nature or nurture.

Director of the 1995’s seminal “The Days of the Beast” and a string of other hits – “Common Wealth, “Ferpect Crime,” most recently 2013’s “Witching & Bitching” – which yoke a Spanish comedy tradition, genre tropes and American pacing, vfx and graphic novel inspiration, De La Iglesia is one of the most resilient talents of his generation in Spain.

Serviced by Mediapro subsid Promofilm, “Messi” has wrapped its Argentine shoot.

Lensing in Buenos Aires and Rosario, Messi’s native city, De La Iglesia has interviewed Argentine soccer solons such as Cesar Luis Menotti, the coach of its 1978 World Cup winning side, and Alejandro Sabella, the current coach of Argentina’s national side.

Having wrapped the Argentine shoot – which also takes in Messi’s native city of Rosario, his primary school and the club where he played his first official soccer match, recreating some scenes for the film – De la Iglesia has moved to Barcelona to chart Messi’s rise to greatness at his current soccer team, Barcelona.

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