Footballers turned actors: Chris Kamara joins David Beckham, Vinnie Jones and Pele in swapping the pitch for the screen

12 Jun

Chris Kamara is to join the long and illustrious list of footballers to try their hand at acting.

The former Sheffield United star, who has become a national treasure thanks to his punditry skills, is set to make his debut in an episode of Emmerdale at the end of June.

Chris Kamara is going to make his professional acting debut in Emmerdale later this month

Although he has hosted Goals on Sunday for many years, this will be his first foray into the world of professional acting.

Kamara said: “I watch Emmerdale with my wife and my son, in fact my son is a massive Emmerdale fan so if I was coming down, they had to come too. It was a great day and I loved it! I essentially got to play myself and not a character, but hopefully that’ll be the next thing along the line.”

Emmerdale producer, Kate Brooks, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have Chris join us for a special cameo in Emmerdale.

“With Chris’ football expertise, he certainly manages to ruffle a few feathers with our newly formed Woolpack football team.”

Kamara had spells at Leeds United and Sheffield United

But Kamara is not the first, and will certainly not be the last footballer to swap his boots for a script.

Below, has taken a look at some of the best and worst cameos from the stars of football who have crossed into the world of acting.

While some are Oscar-worthy, others were just downright cringe-worthy and should be consigned to history.

So grab some popcorn, and scroll down to see the best 10 appearances by footballers on screen.

Eric Cantona – Looking for Eric

On paper, there are few better footballers equipped to cross over into the world of acting than ‘The King’. Surly, enigmatic and ridiculously talented, the Frenchman has all the attributes to thrive in front of the camera.

During his suspension in 1995 for kung-fu kicking a fan at Selhurst Park, Cantona starred in a French film called ‘Le bonheur est dans le pré’ as a rugby player.

But it was in the 2009 classic ‘Looking for Eric‘ where his acting credentials came to the fore. A film about the escape football can bring from the trials and tribulations, the 53-play-old plays himself and was well-received earning an 85 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Cantona attends the Looking For Eric photocall at the International Cannes Film Festival in 2009

Fitz Hall – Fifth Element

Before making his name as a defender for Crystal Palace and Watford, Hall had a brief cameo appearance in ‘Fifth Element‘.

An English-language French science fiction film, it starred Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich and focused on the Hollywood legends trying to save planet earth.

The Leytonstone-native appeared briefly in the start of the film, but is fondly remembered for having one of the best nicknames in football; ‘One Size’.

‘One Size’ Fitz Hall was an actor before a footballer

Ally McCoist – A Shot at Glory

talkSPORT’s very own Ally McCoist also has starred on screen, alongside Michael Keaton and Robert Duvall no less.

McCoist played Jackie McQuillan, a striker signed from Arsenal by fictional Scottish football club Kilnockie FC, based on a North of Scotland Highland Football League club who are managed by Gordon McLeod (Duvall).

While Duvall’s Scottish accent is perhaps the highlight of the film, watching Kilnockie try and win the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers is definitely worth the watch.

McCoist with some of his ‘A Shot at Glory’ cast members in Los Angeles

Frank Leboeuf – The Theory of Everything

Famed for his career with Chelsea and 1998 World Cup win with France, Leboeuf moved to Los Angeles following his retirement in 2005.

The cultured centre-back played for amateur team Hollywood United, and was desperate to get into acting.

Leboeuf studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute in West Hollywood, and was paid just $100 for his first role. He kept the cheque as a memento.

His finest work came in the Stephen Hawking biopic, ‘The Theory of Everything‘, where he played the doctor who performed a tracheostomy operation.

Leboeuf attends the opening night reception at the 11th annual City Of Lights, City Of Angels French Film Festival

Vinnie Jones – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Another talkSPORT regular, Jones capitalised on his tough-man image and has appeared in a number of Hollywood films. The ‘Crazy Gang’ member was by no means unsuccessful on the pitch, but his exploits on camera have made him a global star.

In 1999, he appeared in Guy Ritchie’s ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels‘ and followed that up with an appearance as Bullet-Tooth Tony in ‘Snatch‘.

But his big break came in ‘Gone in 60 Seconds‘ where, despite having one line of dialogue, he earned another major role alongside John Travolta in ‘Swordfish‘.

He also appeared as Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Jones alongside Guy Ritchie at the ‘Snatch’ premiere

Zinedine Zidane – Goal

An absolute cult classic with fans across the glove, ‘Goal‘ follows the story of Santiago Munez from the slums of Mexico, to a gardening job in California, to playing for Newcastle United.

Along the way, the young striker bumps into Raul and Zidane at a bar after a game. While the French maestro only has a brief cameo, his superstar quality has the desired affect on the starstruck Magpies forward.

The Real Madrid boss has also appeared in ‘Asterix at the Olympic Games‘, but the film was largely panned…

Zidane, Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry attend the Asterix at the Olympic Games Paris Premiere

David Beckham – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Like Zidane, Beckham appeared in ‘Goal’ and even managed to make it into the sequel. But his good looks and global appeal mean he has featured in multiple productions.

A close friend of Guy Ritchie, the former England captain made a cameo in ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ having already appeared in several commercials for sponsors such as Pepsi.

But it was his appearance in another Ritchie-directed film, ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ which had critics talking.

In their review, Empire call the cameo 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.”

Bobby Moore and Pele – Escape to Victory

Escape to Victory‘ is a bit like ‘The Great Escape‘ but, instead of Steve McQueen and James Garner, it’s Michael Caine and Pele who take the lead roles.

And, instead of focusing on historical accuracy, the film revolves around a team of Allied footballers trying to escape a German POW camp during a friendly game.

With Sylvester Stallone in goal, the Allied team managed to scrape a draw and escape from their captor’s clutches.

Watch out for other footballers in the film, including John Wark, Osvaldo Ardiles, Kazimierz Deyna, Mike Summerbee, and Russell Osman.

Michael Caine and Bobby Moore of the POW XI celebrate beating Germany in the film Escape to Victory

Ian Wright – Gun of the Black Sun

The former Crystal Palace and England striker may not have chosen the greatest film to make his debut in, but he earned rave reviews regardless.

The film deals with a range of complex issues including crime, violence, neo-Nazism and the abuse of music and digital technology to resurrect and rule an Aryan race.

One review on IMDb states: ‘Gary [Douglas] has also been very shrewd in his casting of Ian Wright, the ex-footballer and TV presenter, as Duke, a role he carries off surprisingly well and is clearly leagues ahead of Vinnie Jones in the acting stakes.’

Ian Wright’s acting debut was well-received by critics

Stan Collymore – Basic Instinct 2

Unbelievably, they did in fact make a sequel to the 1992 film, 14 years after Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone electrified audiences across the globe. Sadly, as with most sequels, the film flattered to deceive and was panned – receiving a 4.3/10 on IMDb.

However, Stone heaped praise on the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker for saving her life when a stunt went wrong. The actress got her stiletto stuck in the floor as she tried to escape a submerged car.

She said: “Working with Stan was so extraordinary. He is the loveliest, most chivalrous, most charming and most professional person. And because of that, when this incident happened I felt really confident that we would get out of it.  I’ve done a lot of stunts in movies and I have never done anything that was as difficult or demanding as this sequence.”

Stan Collymore arrives at the World Premiere of ‘Basic Instinct II: Risk Addiction’