The fashion, TV and sports worlds were brought together in one spot in London on Tuesday night for the premiere of Beckham, Netflix‘s doc series chronicling the life and times of U.K. soccer legend David Beckham.
Anna Wintour was in attendance, as was James Corden and Louis Theroux alongside a host of names from English soccer, plus Beckham himself together 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, rise to fame in the late 1990s playing for Manchester United and England, the start of his relationship with former Spice Girl Victoria, plus the emotional circus that ensued as he became a favorite punchbag of the U.K. tabloid press and various infamous moments on and off the field. It’s also the first to be made by Beckham himself, having been produced by his own company Studio 99, in association with Ventureland.
Speaking on stage, Beckham — who retired from soccer over a decade ago and currently serves as president of Inter Miami — explained why it took him so long to agree to do a doc series about his life. “In all honesty, I wasn’t ready to look back,” he said. “There’s been so much that has happened in my life, I also hadn’t processed it and wasn’t ready to do that.”
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 repay my friends, my family and also the fans. I wanted something all in one place that everyone can enjoy. People might know parts of the last 20-30 years, but there are certain things that I spoke about that I’ve never spoken about before. It was kind of like a healing process.”
Choosing Stevens, an American not immersed in U.K. soccer culture, to direct may have been an unusual choice, and the filmmaker admitted he was surprised at first when Beckham asked him. “I just thought, truthfully, 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 of David.”
Alongside Stevens, Beckham — which landed on Netflix on Wednesday — is also produced by John Battsek, Nicola Howson and Billie Shepherd.