Claudio Pizarro from Bottom of Bundesliga to Top of Box Office?

According to a tweet he posted Tuesday, Claudio Pizarro has been moonlighting from his footballing career for the Walt Disney Company and will make his silver screen debut this week in the latest Pixar offering, “Coco – Lebendiger als das Leben” (Livelier than Life).

The animated film borrows heavily from Mexican culture, following its main character Miguel into the mythological “Land of the Dead” where he interacts with a skeleton desperate to see some football. Though Pizarro is Peruvian (i.e. not Mexican), one can imagine that his spoken German has just enough of a vaguely Latin accent to allow his voice-over work to blend nicely into the film’s setting. The clip shared by the Köln striker features a pair of inset videos, featuring Pizarro in a recording studio delivering his lines in one while his character is shown in the other.

“I was a little bit nervous,” says Pizarro in the promotional clip. “Naturally, I had never done it before. But then, with time, it went a little bit better.”

As for Pizarro’s motivation for taking the gig, he received a strong push from his own household.

“Disney asked me, and I told my children,” recalled Pizarro in an interview earlier this month. “They were very happy and said I should accept immediately. Hence, I had no choice but to do it.”

In the press release preceding the film’s opening in Germany on November 30, Pizarro said he was pleased to have been offered the role, citing his personal love of “The Jungle Book.”

The name of Pizarro’s character was not provided in the press release.

Should the film’s opening weekend in Germany mirror the success it had in the US, where it raked in more than $50 million to surpass comic-book epic “Justice League,” it has a strong chance of taking the top spot in Germany’s box office and supplanting three-week leader “Suck Me Shakespeer 3.” Though it’s hardly the triumph Köln fans are hoping to experience through the man called both “Pizza!” and “the Bomber” (though never, to my knowledge, “the Pizza Bomber”), it may have to do, at least until the weekend’s trip to Schalke and next week’s battle with Red Star Belgrade for advancement into Europa League knockout stages.

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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