EXCLUSIVE: Small Axe and Top Boy star Micheal Ward and Emma actor Bill Nighy have been set to lead The Beautiful Game, a Netflix film about a group of English homeless footballers who compete in the Homeless World Cup.
Thea Sharrock (Me Before You) is directing from a screenplay by Frank Cottrell-Boyce (The Railway Man). Producers are Blueprint Pictures’ Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin with Anita Overland.
Also starring are Valeria Golino (Morning Show), Callum Scott Howells (It’s a Sin), Kit Young (Shadow & Bone), Sheyi Cole (Small Axe), Robin Nazari (Snabba Cash), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers Infinity War), Susan Wokoma (Enola Holmes), Layo-Christina Akinlude (The End of the F**king World) and Cristina Rodlo (No One Gets Out Alive).
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Led by their coach Mal (Bill Nighy), the film follows the soccer team as they travel from London to Rome for the Homeless World Cup. At the last minute they decide to bring with them talented striker Vinny (Micheal Ward), but he must confront his own issues and once-promising past in order to help the team and move on with his own life.
Blueprint Pictures’ Ben Knight and Diarmuid McKeown serve as executive producers alongside Ollie Madden and Daniel Battsek at Film4, which helped develop the pic. Filming is now underway in Rome and moves to London later this year
A previous version of the project was mounted at Fox Searchlight with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson attached.
“The Beautiful Game is a film about succeeding against the odds. Our film shows the joy, drama and excitement of this real life tournament and the enormous potential of people left behind by society,” said Graham Broadbent. “We’ve worked closely with the Homeless World Cup Foundation and our writer Frank has met many players from who’s real life stories he has created our characters, and we’re happy to welcome many former players from the real tournament to be a part of the filming in Rome and London.”
“We are incredibly excited to be the focus of the upcoming film The Beautiful Game. The Homeless World Cup is our contribution to tackling the homeless problem across the globe but there is so much more to do,” added Mel Young, President and Founder of the Homeless World Cup Foundation. “We have proved just how powerful football can be when it is applied to a social problem and we will keep striving to do more. We hope that the work we do being told in The Beautiful Game inspires more people to join in and support future Homeless World Cups and together we can all aim to end homelessness forever
Ward is repped by Olivia Bell Management, CAA and Management 360. Nighy is repped by Independent Talent and CAA.
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