A hotly-anticipated documentary on famed Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona is coming to HBO this fall. Diego Maradona comes from English director and executive producer Asif Kapadia, who won a Best Documentary, Feature Oscar in 2015 for Amy (on Amy Winehouse), has earned four BAFTA awards, and is also known for 2010’s Senna (on Brazilian F1 champion Ayrton Senna) and other projects. It draws on 500 hours of previously-unseen footage from Maradona’s own archives, and will premiere as an official selection (out of competition) at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival later this month before going on a limited theatrical run in the U.S. and premiering on HBO September 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Here’s more about the project from Kapadia and Peter Nelson (executive vice president, HBO Sports), from HBO’s release:
“Diego Maradona has long been considered the greatest footballer ever, and Asif Kapadia’s filmmaking perfectly captures every high and low of his transcendent career, from his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal to his awakening of Napoli, and more,” said Nelson. “We look forward to sharing this landmark documentary with both soccer and non-soccer fans alike.”
“My producers and I are delighted to be working with HBO on the release of DIEGO MARADONA in North America,” says Kapadia. “HBO stands for quality, and as long-term fans, we know we’re in great hands. Having spent three intense years working with my brilliant team of collaborators on the most complex charismatic character, Diego Maradona, I’m excited to see how the North American audience reacts. I hope this is the beginning of a long journey together with HBO and Diego.”
DIEGO MARADONA spotlights the life of the legendary footballer, who enthralled onlookers across the globe, inspired a generation of Neapolitans and incited controversy. In addition to Maradona’s video archives and personal photos, Kapadia utilizes decades-old news footage and interviews with historians and journalists for this definitive documentary portrait.
…Maradona could do as he pleased while performing miracles on the field, but as time passed, darker days closed in. This is the wild and unforgettable story of an unrivalled talent. He was a rebel, cheat, hero and god. DIEGO MARADONA is a tale of glory, despair and betrayal, of corruption and, ultimately, of redemption.
The film is directed by Kapadia, with producers James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin and executive producers Kapadia, George Pank, Will Clarke, Julian Bird, and Bil Bungay. For HBO, Nelson and Bill Simmons are credited as executive producers. The documentary also features editing by Chris King and original music by Antonio Pinto.
Maradona is a fascinating figure for his incredible talent, the attention he drew (some of that’s seen in the above photo HBO included with their release, a photo by Alfredo Capozzi Jr. of Maradona’s 1984 introduction to the media in Naples) his wild life, his up-and-down coaching career and much more, and a lot of soccer fans will be thrilled to see an in-depth documentary on him. And Kapadia certainly has an impressive track record, with Senna in particular winning acclaim from many sports fans. Also, it’s promising that while this is drawing on Maradona’s own footage, it certainly sounds like it won’t shy away from the lower and more controversial parts of the star’s story. It’s neat to see HBO pick this up, and it seems likely it will continue their impressive recent run of sports documentaries.