It’s a tough decision for most footballer’s about what to do with their time after they finish their playing careers. Former professionals like Gary Lineker, Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp have made successful transitions from the pitch to the tv studio as football pundits. Others like Robbie Fowler have spent their money and time wisely by investing in renting properties, creating a stable base income for the future, whilst others like former Chelsea and Ukraine star Andrey Shevchenko move into politics.
But Rio Ferdinand sees a different path for himself once he hangs up his boots. The 34-year-old Manchester United and England defender wants to switch his famous number 5 jersey for that of 007! The 6ft 2 in wants to move into acting and would love to take over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond. The Bond franchise which is in its 50th year and has spawned 25 films starring seven different actors as Bond ( Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig) has never cast a black actor to play the lead role but has never ruled it out either. Whilst its unlikely that they will turn to Rio, the defender still has his heart set on becoming an action hero movie star.
If he does pursue this dream, he will following in the footsteps of former professionals Eric Cantona, Vinnie Jones, Pele and Ally McCoist who have all starred in movies since hanging up their boots. McCoist took the lead role alongside Robert Duvall, Brian Cox and Michael Keaton in the football movie, A Shot to Glory which ironically had the Rangers manager playing a former Celtic striker in the movie. Pele starred in the 1981 war-time movie Escape to Victory as part of a team of Allied prisoners of war, who plan to escape from the Germans by beating them in a football match. Pele stars alongside Michael Caine, Bobby Moore and Osvaldo Ardiles in the film, which is credited for its football realism, except for one glaring omission – the casting of Sylvester Stallone as the american goalkeeper, who clearly had never played football before making the movie. Former Manchester United striker Eric Cantona was somewhat more convincing as an actor, having starred mostly in french movies, he did land a part in the Hollywood production of Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchett, Joseph Fiennes and current bond, Daniel Craig and even had a film made about him, entitled Being Cantona, produced by Ken Loach.
Out of all the footballers turned actors, Vinnie Jones has been the most successful and would be the one Rio would look to for inspiration. Having hung up his boots in 1999, Vinnie landed a part in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels which would help launch Vinnie into Hollywood. Since then, he has starred in over 50 movies including hits like Gone in 60 Seconds, Mean Machine, Snatch X-Men: The Last Stand and Fire with Fire and is now considered as one of the go to hard man for action movies in Hollywood.
Ferdinand still has probably another year or two left to play, so has time to consider his options, but already he is talking openly about his acting dreams and ambitions as if to plant the seed with Hollywood directors. In an interview with FourFourTwo magazine, the defender talked about what types of roles he would like to do:
“I’d go for an emotional part, something off the wall. I’ve got too much for a henchman role. I’d need for it to be, I dunno, like Luther. Or if they’re looking for a new James Bond, I wouldn’t say that’s out of my comfort zone at all”