Interview with Kuno Becker (Santiago)
So what changes do we see in Santiago as he's transferred from Newcastle United to Real Madrid in Goal! 2: Live The Dream?
Well this is when he becomes a major soccer star, this is edgier and a little bit more of a realistic film. I think it's a lot better. [Director] Jaume [Collet-Serra] is doing an amazing job, he's a lot more visual. In the story there's always something happening, there's a lot of conflict. It's a little bit of the dark side of what happens in football. It's obviously not so extreme, but that's the kind of thing we want to show.
Does that means your character loses his innocence a little?
Yeah, well we have to show something of what really happens, which is going a little bit crazy with all these things that come with being a famous footballer. Like getting all the money, and dealing with it. The girls and the cars and everything, the mansion. It's not always so easy, people think it's great and it's fun but it's a lot more complicated than that. We wanted to show that a little bit more.
Is this then, with all that conflict and drama, more of an adventure for you second time around?
The first one is very nice because it's like a fairytale, and it's very positive, just a nice film. And it's a lot of fun, which I think is great. The second one is also that but it's a little bit more the other side, which is the dark side. Going a little bit crazy with the fame and popularity and all that.
Do we get to see you in action on the pitch?
Yeah, a lot more than I wanted to! We're going to see my character on the field, and Alessandro [Nivola – cast as Gavin Harris] a lot more. We have a couple of new characters too, so it's going to be a lot more fun for the audience.
Did you ask some of the footballers you worked with for their stories, as any kind of research?
I didn't have to, just by watching them and just by being around them a little bit before we starting shooting the first one, you saw it. And when we shot this second one in Madrid you can see a lot of things happening, you see attitudes and you can see people changing a little bit. I thought it was more interesting to see my character change than to see him become successful and everything be alright. So I think this is something good.
Has your involvement in these films improved your footballing skills?
I did improve. I really sucked when I started and now I'm just bad. That's something, I suppose, I'm not at the same super bad level.
Had the Real Madrid players seen the first film?
Yeah, and they loved it actually. It's funny, once people see it they like it, so that's a good thing. The problem is taking them to see it. Everybody thinks that it's just about football but it's not, it's a story about relationships, it's about what happens inside the world of football but we have great football action also. It's just not all about that.
Does Santiago's relationship with Ros (played by Anna Friel) change too then?
She has a much bigger role now, she's great, and yes there is a little bit more conflict. The first one was more about falling in love, and everything is cool and achieving that goal. Now in the second one it's about what happens with one of these guys when he becomes a huge star. Most of the time they come from very simple backgrounds, which makes it a lot more interesting I think. They're thrown into a totally different environment. This guy I play was a gardener from East Los Angeles a little more than a year ago, and then he becomes a super successful millionaire with cars and everything. All the women want to be with him, and that brings a lot more trouble to his life than in the first one.
There was a story, of course, when David Beckham was signed by Real Madrid that Victoria wasn't keen on moving...
It's exactly the same in our story. We were supposed to be living in Newcastle and then we have to move to Madrid and that brings more conflict to the relationship, it changes everything. And if you really think about it that's the way it is. It's not just becoming successful and everything being cool, there's a lot more to it than that. I think that's the great thing about the second film, we have that conflict, the other women, the money, we have him changing in his personality and that's also a conflict. I think that's more interesting for people to watch.
Is Beckham in this film?
Yeah he's going to be in it, as – briefly – are Ronaldo, Zidane, Raul and others.
Jonathan Woodgate, famously, was signed by Real Madrid from Newcastle United – did you speak with him at all?
We spoke, it's fun because it's a little bit like his story. And Michael Owen moved from Madrid to Newcastle, which is sort of vice versa. It's what happens.
Which footballers do you admire?
That's a good question. I've never been a football fan. I can say it now, but to get the part I had to lie to the director and the producers. But what I love about this project is when I read the script I liked the story, that's what was wonderful about it. You don't have to like football to like the story, which is great. Otherwise why make a football film? You can watch it on tv. I read the script and I thought it was great and that's why I wanted to do it. I also wanted to do it because the character is very different from me.
You obviously had to work hard at your football to convince the producers on the first film then, did you?
I really had to train – I broke my ankle, nose, pulled every muscle you can imagine, and I still can't play, but I'm improving. Physically it was the hardest thing I've ever done, that's why I had to lie to everybody. When I first met them I was like 'yeah I love football'. They said 'what do you play?' I said 'err, football'. I didn't know what positions there were or anything. I had to go and see a friend and get him to tell me everything about because I didn't know. I had to really lie.
But you were not completely ignorant, were you?
I saw football when I was a kid. I'm from Mexico and everybody loves football there, but I couldn't really play. They asked me a question, and I said yes. But they didn't say 'are you a professional footballer?'. That's a whole different question, right? So actually I didn't lie at all.