Much has been written about football star David Beckham’s acting debut in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, director Guy Ritchie’s upcoming retelling of the Arthurian legend. But while the cameo was kept mostly hidden for a really long time, a clip from the film was released online featuring Beckham actually delivering lines, and it hasn’t gone down too well on social media.
In the clip, Charlie Hunnam’s Arthur asks Beckham’s character, a guard named Trigger, “Where do you want me?”.
Beckham’s reply comes with a thick Cockney accent: “Bouncing on my knee? Where do you think I want you?” Now while this is exactly the sort of banter everyone expects from a Guy Ritchie movie, to have David Beckham say these lines is something we have never seen.
But as it turns out, professional critics were also left unimpressed by Beckham’s acting. The Empire review called Beckham’s appearance a “misguided, fist-biter of a performance — almost impressive when you consider it features a man who’s actually from Leytonstone playing an unconvincing Cockney — and the fact that this piece of stunt casting overshadows a hugely significant character moment for Arthur bespeaks the film’s pervading ill-judged, shouty feel.”
The Telegraph said: “Even the sword-pulling scene itself is sabotaged from within by a David Beckham cameo that goes on for line after forehead-slapping line, and saps the moment of its mythic excitement. The former footballer appears under facial scarring make-up as one of Vortigern’s soldiers, and shows just about enough dramatic range to have played the stone the sword got stuck in.”
But Ritchie defended his actor at the film’s European premiere. “I love him and I think he’s great on screen. I find him very talented,” Ritchie told Reuters.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword currently sits at a dismal 25% on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. It arrives in theatres on May 12.