Six footballers-turned-actors and how they fared as Lingard eyes film career

Jesse Lingard wouldn't be the first professional footballer to try their hand at an acting career – and he also wouldn't be the first to flop after taking a risk on Hollywood stardom.

The former Manchester United forward, who joined Nottingham Forest in the summer, is dreaming of staring in a blockbuster hit like Interstellar and Inception after declaring his love for the films of Christopher Nolan.

On that revelation, Daily Star Sport have taken a look at six former professionals who have swapped listening to manager to listening to directors – with mixed success.

READ MORE: Jesse Lingard eyes acting career – dreaming of 'Interstellar and Inception' roles

Vinnie Jones

Vinnie Jones, who was best known for playing for Wimbledon and the Wales national side, earned rave reviews for starring as Big Chris in 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

He went on to appear as Bullet-Tooth Tony in Guy Ritchie's follow-up flick Snatch in 2000, becoming a regular in Hollywood and even landing a role in X-Men.

Jones has been a huge success in acting and gone on to star alongside the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger among others.

Is Vinnie Jones the best footballer-turned-actor in the business? Tell us in the comments section below.


The late great Pele appeared alongside Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Bobby Moore and a range of other stars in the 1981 film Escape to Victory.

Pele also had a cameo role in Mike Bassett: England Manager in 2001, with a documentary being released about his life and career earlier last year.

Although he didn't choose to try more acting roles during his later years, Pele's appearing in the 1981 flick lives long in the memory.

Frank Leboeuf

Frank Leboeuf popped up in Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything back in 2014 – very much to the surprise of viewers.

The former Chelsea defender, who was a World Cup winner with France first appeared in 2001's Taking Sides, and has also acted in several theatres.

He told The Times in 2018: "Journalists have asked me what is the common point between football and theatre, but they are completely different. We are both live — that’s it."

Eric Cantona

Manchester United icon Eric Cantona was quick to swap football for films when calling time on his career, going on to star in more than 30 productions.

The Frenchman has played notable roles in English films Elizabeth and Looking for Eric as well as several French productions.

Back in 2020, Cantona starred in Netflix series Inhuman Resources, and earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Alain Delambre across all six episodes.

Ally McCoist

Ally McCoist starred alongside iconic actors Robert Duvall and Michael Keaton in 2002's A Shot at Glory.

Not straying too far from the day job, the Scot played an ex-footballer – with the main difference being character Jackie McQuillan's links to Celtic rather than Rangers.

The film, which didn't perform well commercially also featured Owen Coyle, with McCoist not yet making his second acting outing.

David Beckham

David Beckham played a projectionist in 2014 film The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and later as Trigger in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – thanks to his friendship with Guy Ritchie.

The director said of his efforts: "He’s a talented actor, very confident on camera. He was quite a tasty footballer wasn’t he?"

With leading man in King Arthur, Charlie Hunnam, quipping: "I said 'listen pal, this is my movie and I want to be the most handsome man on screen!'"


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