Deadline exclusively reported and Netflix have confirmed that Michael Ward and Bill Nighy will topline the upcoming sports drama The Beautiful Game, which will also star Valeria Golino, Callum Scott Howells, Kit Young, Sheyi Cole, Robin Nazari, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Susan Wokoma, Layo-Christina Akinlude, Cristina Rodlo and Aoi Okuyama.
The film follows a team of English homeless footballers, led by their coach Mal who travel from London to Rome to compete in a global annual football tournament…The Homeless World Cup. At the last minute they decide to bring with them a talented striker Vinny, but he must confront his own issues and once-promising past, in order to help the team win the cup and move on with his own life. In Rome just as in life, everything’s to play for.
Michael Ward (whose credits include Top Boy and Lover’s Rock) will be playing the role of Vinny. Bill Nighy (whose credits include Castlevania and Emma.) will be playing the role of Mal. Valeria Golino (whose credits include The Morning Show and Rain Man) will be playing the role of Gabriella. Callum Scott Howells (whose sole credit so far is It’s A Sin) will be playing the role of Nathan. Kit Young (whose credits include Shadow & Bone and The School for Good and Evil) will be playing the role of Cal. Sheyi Cole (whose credits include Alex Wheatle and Boxing Day) will be playing the role of Jason. Robin Nazari (whose credits include Snabba Cash and Top Dog) will be playing the role of Aldar.
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (whose credits include Love/Hate and Avengers: Infinity War) will be playing the role of Kevin. Susan Wokoma (whose credits include Chewing Gum and Enola Holmes) will be playing the role of Protasia. Layo-Christina Akinlude (whose credits include The End of the F**king World and Rocks) will be playing the role of Margie. Cristina Rodlo (whose credits include No One Gets Out Alive and 68 Whiskey) will be playing the role of Rosita. Aoi Okuyama (whose credits include Giri/Haji and Cold Case: Shinjistu No Tobira) will be playing the role of Mika.
Graham Broadbent of Blueprint Pictures, and producer on the project, released a statement saying:
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. 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.
Mel Young, President and Founder of the Homeless World Cup Foundation, also released a statement saying:
We are incredibly excited to be the focus of the upcoming film The Beautiful Game. The Homeless World Cup Foundation uses our annual tournament and the power of football as a method of tackling homelessness throughout the world. We have impacted the lives of over 1.2 million homeless people since 2003. The Homeless World Cup is our contribution to tackling the homeless problem across the globe but there is so much more to do. 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.
The project is definitely one that’s garnered my interesting, especially bringing together a young, talented ensemble alongside a veteran such as Bill Nighy, as well as the underrated Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. What interests me the most however? The film is being written by acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce. The film is developed in conjunction with Film4, Thea Sharrock is directing, with Broadbent producing alongside Pete Czernin and Anita Overland. Blueprint Pictures’ Ben Knight and Diarmuid McKeown, Ollie Madden and Daniel Battsek serve as executive producers.
Filming on The Beautiful Game is currently in Rome and will move production to London later this year.