Guy Ritchie’s epic and ballsy six-movie King Arthur franchise just got even ballsier: It’s serving as a launchpad for David Beckham’s acting career. Beckham will reportedly play a “grumpy knight” who is unable to pull Excalibur from a rock while — 800-year-old spoiler alert! — the titular character can. Grumpy Knight is not to be confused with Grumpy Cat, who, unfortunately for everyone in the world, David Beckham did not play in the Grumpy Cat movie. But the big question is not whether Grumpy Knight will upstage Grumpy Cat, or even who would win in a fight. Rather, it’s can David Beckham act his way out of a wet paper bag? Soccer underwear ninja moves don’t count.
Beckham is not a complete stranger to acting, having played versions of himself in various skits with Late Late Show host James Corden.
He is also no stranger to collaborations with Ritchie, from whiskey commercials to a 20-second nonspeaking cameos as a projectionist in the already underappreciated The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Guy Ritchie also directed him in this short for H&M, in which Beckham plays a downtrodden man with a dark past who is tragically unable to keep his clothes on and the world just keeps conspiring against him. It may look like a simple commercial with little depth, but discerning viewers will of course spot the clear allusion to John Cheever’s The Swimmer if they analyze the shadows on his abs.
From that, we know that he can look distressed, pensive, and vaguely confused, and can leap around shirtless while his hair remains immaculate. If he wants his acting career to focus on action movies, then, he’s pretty much set — three different facial expressions is more than many action stars can boast. One is all you need to swagger away from an explosion. He will also be following in the footsteps of many athletes-turned-actors, such as The Rock, a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson, who has proven to have natural aptitude for both action and comedy.
And as a former footballer, he will be following in the footsteps of Vinnie Jones, another Ritchie alum who has carved quite a path for himself playing variations on tough guys.
Of course, the internet being the internet, rumors are already rampant that Beckham may be the next Bond, despite the fact that the man himself has said nothing along those lines. And nothing against Beckham, but it would be rather lame for Bond to be a soccer underwear ninja before he can be black.
About his planned acting career, Beckham has said:
I am very aware that many sportsmen and other celebrities have turned their hand to acting and failed. I know that it is a tough profession, where you need a huge amount of skill and discipline, and I wouldn’t want to push myself forward too soon, without learning more about it, and doing a lot more practice… I am a well-known person, so I have got used to criticism. I had 13 lines and practiced a huge amount beforehand. Guy had someone come and rehearse with me, and I did that an hour every day in the build-up.
So even if he can’t act his way out of a paper bag, he’s got a good head on his shoulders about it — literally, now that he’s got his hair game together. Remember when he thought cornrows were a good idea? And this being Guy Ritchie’s version of King Arthur — the guy who made Sherlock Holmes an ass-kicking hero; starring Charlie Hunnam, the guy who is tougher in real life than the characters he plays onscreen — who’s to say grumpy knights can’t have tattoos?
Whether or not Beckham proves to be convincingly grumpy and knightly, it’s yet another reason Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur is already shaping up to be next summer’s most intriguing movie.