The fashion, television and sports worlds were brought together in one location in London on Tuesday evening for the premiere of Beckhamthe Netflix documentary series chronicling the life and times of British football legend David Beckham.
Anna Wintour was in attendance, as were James Corden and Louis Theroux, as well as a host of names from English football, as well as 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, who rose to fame in the late 1990s playing for Manchester United and England, the start of his relationship with former Spice Girl Victoria and the emotional circus that followed, as he became a favorite punching bag of the British tabloids and various infamous moments on and off the pitch. It’s also the first that Beckham made himself, as it was produced by his own company Studio 99 in collaboration with Ventureland.
On stage, Beckham – who retired from football over a decade ago and is currently president of Inter Miami – explained why it took him so long to agree to 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 hadn’t processed it yet and wasn’t ready to do it.”
The turning point came about three years ago, when he thought “this might be the right time,” he said. “I wanted to do something to get back at my friends, my family and also the fans. I wanted something in one place that everyone could enjoy. People may know parts of the last 20 to 30 years, but there are certain things that I’ve talked about that I’ve never talked about before. It was kind of a healing process.”
Choosing Stevens to direct an American unfamiliar with British football culture may have been an unusual choice, and the filmmaker admitted he was initially surprised when Beckham asked him. “I just thought, honestly, why me?” he said. “But I think part of the interesting perspective is that I didn’t come in with a ton of knowledge about David.”
In addition to Stevens, Beckham – which landed on Netflix on Wednesday – is also produced by John Battsek, Nicola Howson and Billie Shepherd.