HBO Scores Cannes-Bound 'Diego Maradona' Doc From 'Amy' Director Asif Kapadia

Diego Maradona Still - H - 2019
Credit: Alfredo Capozzi

The premium cable network has landed the U.S. rights to the film, which charts the "wild and unforgettable story" of the soccer player commonly regarded as the finest of all time.

Maradona is coming to America. 

HBO has landed the exclusive U.S. TV and streaming rights to Diego Maradona, Brit director Asif Kapadia's hotly anticipated Cannes-bound documentary about the Argentinean soccer player, commonly regarded as one of the finest — if not the finest — to ever grace the field. 

The film — Kapadia's first documentary after winning the Oscar for 2016's Amy — draws on more than 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona's personal archives, spotlighting the life of the legendary sportsman, who enthralled onlookers across the globe, inspired a generation of Neapolitans in Italy and incited widespread controversy.

“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 Peter Nelson, executive vp, HBO Sports. “We look forward to sharing this landmark documentary with both soccer and non-soccer fans alike.”

When he arrived in Naples on July 5, 1984 for a world-record fee, Maradona was the world’s most celebrated soccer icon. Maradona and the most passionate, but dangerous, city in Europe were a perfect match for each other. For seven years, all hell broke loose. On the pitch, he was a genius. Off the pitch, he was treated like a god. The charismatic Argentinean loved a fight against the odds and led Napoli to its first league title.

But there was a price. Maradona could do as he pleased while performing miracles on the field, but as time passed, darker days closed in. Kapadia's doc is billed as the "wild and unforgettable story of an unrivalled talent," of a rebel, cheat, hero and god. 

“My producers and I are delighted to be working with HBO on the release of Diego Maradona in North America,” said the director. “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 — which is having its world premiere out of competition in Cannes — will debut on HBO on Sept. 24, and will also be available on HBO on Demand, HBO Now, HBO Go and partners’ streaming platforms. 

The film is an HBO Sports presentation in association with On the Corner and Lorton Entertainment; Kapadia directs; James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin produce; executive producers are Kapadia, George Pank, Will Clarke, Julian Bird and Bil Bungay. For HBO executive producers are Nelson and Bill Simmons. The film is edited by Chris King with original music by Antonio Pinto.

Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Altitude Film Sales represents for the rest of the world.