Film

Bill Nighy and Micheal Ward star in new Netflix Film inspired by Homeless World Cup

Bill Nighy and Micheal Ward star in inspiring Homeless World Cup film The Beautiful Game, which now has an official release date on Netflix

Bill Nighy and Micheal Ward in Netflix film The Beautiful Game

Bill Nighy (centre) and Micheal Ward (second player from left) star in Netflix film The Beautiful Game. Image: Netflix

Netflix has announced the release date for hotly-anticipated new film The Beautiful Game, which follows a team of footballers as they head to the Homeless World Cup.

The film stars Bill Nighy as the England team’s manager, alongside Micheal Ward (Small Axe: Lovers Rock, Top Boy) and breakout star of It’s a Sin Callum Scott Howells as two of the players travelling to Rome for the global annual football tournament.

The Homeless World Cup has been changing people’s lives since 2003, when Austria won the inaugural tournament in Graz. More than 500 players with lived experience of homelessness play in each tournament, with more than one million people having participated in the tournament to date, and the impact on them can be absolutely transformative.

Bill Nighy and Micheal Ward in Netflix film The Beautiful Game. Image: Netflix
Bill Nighy and Micheal Ward star in Netflix film The Beautiful Game. Image: Netflix

After a three-year break during the Covid-19 pandemic following the huge success of the 2019 tournament in Cardiff – which was bankrolled by actor Michael Sheen, just one of the people inspired by the tournament’s life-changing possibilities – the annual event returned last year in Sacramento, USA.

Once again, the Homeless World Cup showcased how sport can be used to build community, encourage inclusion and create positive change.

The Beautiful Game is written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce (24 Hour Party People) and directed by Thea Sharrock (Wicked Little Letters). As well as an impressive lead cast, The Beautiful Game also features Street Soccer players and previous stars of the Homeless World Cup in supporting roles.

Homeless World Cup co-founder Mel Young joined The Big Issue on set to watch filming on The Beautiful Game in October 2021. He said: “Our whole drive is changing people’s lives. It’s about impact. I have seen people – almost in front of my eyes – change their lives just by kicking a ball around. It is quite incredible.”

The hope is that a whole new audience will be turned on to the incredible global football event and the way it changes lives when The Beautiful Game is streamed across the world on Netflix in March.

“This movie will help a lot more people around the world hear about the Homeless World Cup and be inspired by these really compelling stories of people,” added Young.

“It will hopefully help our partner organisations around the world to expand into even more cities and countries so even more people can get involved.”

The Beautiful Game is released on Netflix on 29 March, 2024.

Find out more about the Homeless World Cup here

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