GOAL! 2: aka GOAL!: THE DREAM BEGINS
(USA) aka GOAL! 2: LIVING THE DREAM (UK)
Q&A with Steve McManaman, Kuno Becker,
Mike Jefferies and Anna Friel


What does being an associate producer entail?

McMANAMAN: I tried to help out really, in the broadest possible sense. My relationship was to help out with the film crew if they needed any help from Real Madrid. But saying that, Real Madrid were very accessible to be very honest. Then down to the dressing room, advice on what people wore, if anybody needed any help.

Really because I've been in that situation before, walking out onto the pitch, what the interaction is like in the dressing room before games, what kind of things people will be shouting, what the manager would be wearing, what clothes. Would the manager have a tracksuit on in Spain, or would he be dressed in a suit? So I just tried to help out as much as possible in that respect really.

Were there no problems you had to quickly resolve?

McMANAMAN: No, Real Madrid were very good. I wasn't involved in the first Goal but the football scenes at Newcastle were very limited. But in Goal 2, as you'll see, we were in the dressing room, we were on the pitch, we were at the training ground. Some teams, especially in England, are very precious about their football pitches and rightly so. But most nights we'd be out there [at the Bernabeu] at 3 or 4 in the morning for hours on the pitch. So as I've said, a lot of credit goes to Real Madrid in that respect.

Getting Real Madrid to be so co-operative?

JEFFERIES: Underpinning the entire project was FIFA's support. Thanks to the vision of Joseph Blatter, they basically made it possible for us to feature real teams, real competitions and real players in the movie.

Liverpool didn't want to do GOAL 1, whereas Newcastle jumped in and seized the opportunity very passionately. At the premiere last night, I just explained to the audience that I was driving down Sunset Boulevard last week and there were two landscape gardeners pushing lawnmowers and wearing Newcastle United shirts. I pulled over and asked them why on earth they were wearing them and no disrespect to Newcastle and it was because of the movie. They'd loved Kuno Becker and Santiago's character.

So, in that respect I think Newcastle had a vision that this would do a huge amount of incremental marketing support for their brand in emerging markets such as America and Asia, and that was FIFA's vision as well. Real Madrid are as savvy as they get in marketing terms.

I went across to meet them, there were three clubs that we were planning to talk to for Goal 2, but literally within half an hour of them hearing what we were doing we shook hands on it, that we could have Real Madrid and all the access that you could possibly want. Aladdin's Cave opened up in that regard, and we made the deal.

In GOAL 3 will David Beckham get to speak?

FRIEL: If Posh has her way, yeah...

JEFFERIES: David was amazing. He had a small cameo in GOAL 1 and in GOAL 2 without giving too much away he's featured very extensively. I think the entire crew and cast owe him an enormous debt for bringing such a degree of authenticity. And as Steve says coming back to the stadium in the wee hours in the freezing cold and enthusiastically doing take after take. And allowing us to represent football in such an authentic way because he was so involved. We're very grateful to him.

Harder this time for Kuno, getting the football right?

BECKER: It was even more difficult. For me, it's been very, very difficult because I really didn't play much football at the beginning, and I don't play much now either. I did improve but it's a little bit crazy to actually get to a professional level in months. I did play in school when I was a kid.

And I did train a great deal for the film, for a couple of months before I started the first one. I had many injuries, which was pretty tough. And for the second one I trained again with Andy Ansah and we were lucky to have him because without him, I honestly wouldn't have made it. It was as tough as the first one - that was the toughest part for me, the physical part.

How many takes did it take to do the overhead kick?

BECKER: Oh, that was just one take. I think that was the rehearsal. I did a little bit more of the football in the second one than in the first one but, man, it was hard for me. Really hard. I tried to do as much as I could but it was tough. The physical part was tough for me, about this project, just becoming this character physically has been the challenge for me.

What about the changes in you, becoming a mother between these two films?

FRIEL: I had a really supportive team around me. Mike [Jefferies] and Kuno [Becker] and Alessandro [Nivola] were incredibly helpful, with the baby in between takes. I also had a great costume designer who found very flattering tops that were able to conceal certain bulges that weren't meant to be seen, because she's not meant to be pregnant. But it was alright by the end of the film when she was meant to be. I could let it all hang out then.

But it was good. It made me not be a complainer, I just got on with it. I was a mother and I'm also a working actress and sometimes the two do coincide and I think it's how you deal with that that shows how strong you are. It's made me realise I can do anything if I can do that.

Have you learned anything more about football?

FRIEL: I went to my first match when I was in Madrid. It was a great match to see at the Bernabeu. Alessandro took me a few times and taught me a lot more about it. I didn't realise how exciting it could be as a game. I still wouldn't go and watch a game of golf or cricket but I'm a bit more of a football fan now. They make it look so glamorous in the film as well. It's the best football I've ever seen on film, it's amazing.

If you were the kind of wag that your character isn't, what would be your one weakness?

FRIEL: I'm already into shopping. I like a good old shop. I'm not into the sunbeds. But I'm quite blessed, I have a very blessed life, and I can really buy what I want to. I'm not into luxuries so I'd probably buy more antiques for my house. I'm a big arts and crafts collector. Or buy lots of very lovely baby clothes for Gracie. And houses, I like buying houses. I've just bought another one.

Do you think footballers' wives and girlfriends get a bad press?

FRIEL: Well, I think they've got to stand on their own two feet. I know if I was married to one of the most incredibly beautiful, handsome men in the world, and one of the most talented that being Beckham I'd want to make my own mark. If they're surrounded by a posse of incredibly beautiful women, you've got to stand on your own two feet. And I think by having your own fame and celebrity you stand more of a chance of that. I think it's horrible that those women are put into that position.

But playing Roz, the intrigue and interest for me was that she isn't like all those women that we know from the magazines. She represents all the millions of women that are married to footballers that don't want to be on the front pages of magazines and don't particularly love shopping.

Achieving your Geordie accent?

FRIEL: I stayed in it on set, quite a lot. But I love accents, my Dad's a linguist, and it's something I adapt to very easily. It's also a really nice, little bumbly, fun accent. It's really sexy and nice, something I really enjoy. I always work with a dialogue coach, I've got a great one, I've just finished playing a Hungarian so that was a challenge. It wasn't quite as fun as playing a Geordie.