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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Sweden

I Am Zlatan kicks off production this week

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- Directed by Jens Sjögren, the much-anticipated biopic about Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimović starts shooting in his hometown of Malmö

I Am Zlatan kicks off production this week
Zlatan Ibrahimović (© Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

With an impressive career spanning over 20 years and without any clear sign of when he will  be retiring, Swedish football superstar and multi-champion Zlatan Ibrahimović will have a chance to watch his biopic I Am Zlatan, which starts shooting this week in his hometown of Malmö. Directed by Jens Sjögren, the film is based on the best-selling book I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, written by journalist and author David Lagercrantz with Ibrahimović, and which has been translated in more than 30 languages.

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The coming-of-age story follows the early years of Ibrahimović, who as a Balkan immigrant grew up in the rough Malmö suburb of Rosengård, before becoming who he is today. After his tough childhood, the film will also focus on his first team, Malmö FF, and how he became worldwide famous only a few years later as a player for Amsterdam’s Ajax. According to reports, young non-professional actors Dominic Andersson Bajraktati and Granit Rushiti play Zlatan aged 11-13 and 17-23 respectively. The film is set to begin production in Malmö and, a month later, the set will move to Amsterdam to follow Zlatan’s transfer to Ajax in 2001.

The screenplay is co-penned by Lagercrantz along with Jakob Beckman, and represents Sjögren’s sophomore feature, for he has recently worked on the TV series Dejta and the crime hit Before We Die. Lagercrantz noted: “Zlatan’s journey from growing up in Rosengård to the world stage has become perhaps our most classic underdog story. We wanted to capture the complexity of that story and highlight the painful points and the twists and turns.” As expected, Ibrahimović is also involved in his project and is overlooking the script at every stage.

I Am Zlatan is budgeted at €5 million and produced by Fredrik Heinig, Mattias Nohrborg and Frida Bargo for Sweden’s B Reel Films, in co-production with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s company Unknown, Nordisk Film, SVT, along with Film i Skåne, Film i Väst, and Nordsvensk. It has also received support from the Swedish Film Institute and the Nordisk Film & TV Fond. TrustNordisk is handling the world sales and according to the latest news, the film has already been sold to the Baltics, Albania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Nordisk Film will handle local distribution with an expected release date in autumn 2021.

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