CARLOS Henrique Raposo, commonly known as Kaiser, made a living as a conman and is widely regarded as the greatest footballer to never play football. Now a new film has been made about how he fooled millions. Jamie Walker spoke to the film’s creative director Louis Myles.

What was the idea behind the movie?

Quite literally an Englishman, some Irishmen and a half-Scottish person walked into the bar one day and started discussing this story that had been found on a Reddit forum. The conversation quickly went from someone should make a movie on this to we are going to make a movie on this.

I knew Tim Vickery, the South American football expert and he happened to be in town. We met up with him and he said in 21 years of living in Rio this was not only the greatest football story he had heard, it was the best story he had ever heard in Brazil.

Dr Tom Markham, the film’s producer, had done a football industries MBA at Liverpool and knew some Brazilians who worked in football so we thought we had a chance of finding him.

We got some seed capital together, got on a plane to Rio to try and find him. We were either going to come back with the start of a movie or it was going to be the most expensive holiday ever.

Luckily it was the former.

Why do you think this is a story so many people haven’t heard before?

For many years it wasn’t necessary for Kaiser to reveal the truth. He was living as a professional footballer. He was able to gain access to the high life in Rio de Janeiro, eat at the best places, go to the best nightclubs. He could date any woman he wanted, he was a celebrity, regularly appearing on TV shows, often as a football pundit.

And because he was the man about town, able to bring in favours for everybody else, organised their social life, took the blame and sorted out all the seedy secret love lives, no one ratted him out.

But eventually even fake footballers have to retire. The one thing Kaiser never had a lot of was money – he never really needed it – and when he was suddenly in a world where all of his friends were no longer seeking the high life, and wanted a quieter life, Kaiser had to fend for himself.

And so he started telling his story. In Brazil it was scandalous, he became a like a Howard Marx type figure.

What was the process like of getting everyone to talk to?

Interesting. Some people were easy to get – like Bebeto – and everyone knows Kaiser and had something to say about him so we were getting everyone from the likes of Zico to Mafia bosses to the chief of police.

However there were quite a few people that didn’t want too be interviewed. Kaiser was the fixer for absolutely everybody, he embodied a sub world of football, a rather murky character, so some people didn’t want to be associated with that.

What was Carlos like to work with?

Kaiser is a myth, an enigma and a conman. He came into this project wanting to give the world according to Kaiser. As filmmakers we had a duty, if the film was to be any good, to try and find a more realistic narrative.

The project then became a game of cat and mouse. We wanted to keep Kaiser upbeat to tell his story, but on the side try and find people to give us the truth. However every time we went to go and do an interview on the sly, he would find out. He has fingers all over Rio.

Were you surprised at his honesty surrounding what happened?

The underlying theme of the film is about the perception of truth. Truth and facts are very different beasts. No one knows what to believe with Kaiser, as he is a conman. We don’t judge and we don’t present our opinion on what did or did not occur. I think its pretty certain from our point of view, anything that happened off the pitch probably happened. And there was a lot of stuff that definitely happened that could never be put in a film.

If you’re a football fan yourself what was your reaction to what you were hearing?

At first we weren’t even sure that he was actually ever at the clubs. The clubs denied it, obviously. But then when you have the likes of Carlos Alberto telling us that he had him at Flamengo and that Bebeto saying that he was the guy that made them sign him it is really unbelievable.

And then as we went more and more into the story, we realised that pretty much all of the major footballers from 1970 to 2002 were connected with Kaiser and they had his back. They got him into clubs and he provided them with whatever they wanted. In some ways it was a con on an industrial level, in another way they were feeding a fantasist with like that anyone would dream for.

Was it almost comical in a way?

It has been the funniest experience of our lives. Kaiser’s life is one whole scam.

Everyday he made something unbelievable happen. To put it in context, the first filming day we did with him we went to his gym (where he is a personal trainer who only trains women) and interviewed two of his clients. It quickly transpired that he was engaged to them both and neither of them knew about the other one.

The day afterwards we were filming in a brothel in Rio de Janeiro with a transgender funk singer called Paloma who finally admitted that she had lied to the press about their relationship in order to boost her own publicity because he was a top former footballer.

And the day afterwards we get told in explicit detail about how Kaiser had faked his way into a shoot for the Budweiser 1994 World Cup advert with a bunch of actual professional footballers, and then managed to appear in the finished advert scoring the winning header. Some of the 94 World Cup team were being filmed that day, and didn’t make the cut.

Do you think the time this happened had something to do with how it managed to go so unnoticed?

Time and place. Rio is one of the most evocative places in the world. It has an easygoing vibe and despite the vast gap between rich and poor, the place is pretty democratised as everyone goes to the beach all the time, generally not wearing very much.

Residents have a certain way about them. Rio is very easygoing, and very creative and that’s Carioca vibe. Brazil also has a character type called a malandro. That’s a person who comes along, tricks everybody into getting them to give them what they want, and then leaves. It’s a source of pride and shame for the country. Kaiser lived in a time where things were more easygoing. Football players back then were way more easygoing, more normal. It will never happen again.

What makes this a must see movie?

Several reasons. If you like football, you are about to discover the greatest football story you’ve never heard of and you’re going to be over-awed with what you find out.

If you don’t like football, the film is actually more about the psychology of a conman, and unravelling of his con on screen. And if you are into your music, we have a banging soundtrack.