The fashion, TV and sports worlds came together in one place in London on Tuesday evening for the premiere of BeckhamNetflix’s documentary series about the life and times of British football legend David Beckham.
Anna Wintour was in attendance, as were James Corden and Louis Theroux alongside a host of names from English football, plus Beckham himself along with his wife Victoria and their four children (and their respective partners).
The four-part series, directed by Succession star Fisher Stevens, is a deeply personal and intimate exploration of Beckham’s childhood, which rose to fame in the late 1990s playing for Manchester United and England, the beginning of his relationship with former Spice Girl Victoria, plus the emotional circus that ensued when he favorite punching bag of the British tabloid press and several infamous moments on and off the field. It is also the first created by Beckham himself, produced by his own company Studio 99, in collaboration with Ventureland.
Speaking on stage, Beckham – who retired from football more than a decade ago and is currently president of Inter Miami – explained why it took him so long to agree to make a documentary series about his life. “To be honest, I wasn’t ready to look back,” he said. “So much has happened in my life, I had not yet processed it and was not ready for it.”
The turning point came about three years ago, when he thought this “could be the right time,” he said. “I wanted to do something to pay back my friends, my family and also the fans.
I wanted something in one place that everyone can enjoy. People may know parts of the last 20-30 years, but there are certain things I talked about that I’ve never talked about before. It was a kind of healing process.”
It may have been an unusual choice to direct Stevens, an American not immersed in British football culture, and the filmmaker admitted he was initially surprised when Beckham asked him about it. “I honestly thought, why me?” he said. “But I think part of the interesting perspective is that I didn’t come in with a load of baggage of knowledge about David.”
In addition to Stevens, Beckham – which dropped on Netflix on Wednesday – is also produced by John Battsek, Nicola Howson and Billie Shepherd.