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Soccer superstars ‘Goal!’ oriented

Beckham helps Luna kick off flick

David Beckham and fellow international soccer superstars Zinedine Zidane and Raul have signed on to play themselves in three installments of “Goal!,” the $100 million trilogy being directed by Danny Cannon.

Pic stars Diego Luna (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”) as a soccer phenom from East L.A. whose skills take him from the barrio to a professional contract with Newcastle United.

Milkshake Films principal Mike Jefferies, Matt Barrelle and Lawrence Bender are producing the pic, with Icon partner Bruce Davey co-producing; they’ve already secured cooperation from soccer federation Fifa.

Jefferies and Adrian Butcher wrote the script, with a polish completed by “The Commitments” scribes Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Shooting begins in January.

First pic score

Pic will mark Beckham’s first major part in a feature film; he will be seen in all three segments of the trilogy.

“It’s no secret that I want to be involved in youth coaching when I finally hang up my boots, and I believe that the ‘Goal’ trilogy will provide a positive message to kids around the world,” he said.

Filmmakers have tried to market films into a rabid fan base and had mixed results in venues like car racing. Jefferies said “Goal!” got a major leg up when Fifa embraced the film as a chance to widen the visibility of soccer in places like the U.S.

“Goal!” will use the backdrops of Newcastle United and Real Madrid matches for the first two films. The finale will be staged during the 2006 World Cup.

Adidas, Coke and many other principal World Cup sponsors are customizing campaigns built around the film.

Luna, who already was a proficient footballer, spent eight weeks training with Newcastle to sharpen his skills. Production schedule will mean the first film gets global release next August, when the European leagues kick back into gear. The second film bows in June 2006, just before World Cup competition begins. The finale will be shot during that competition.

Jefferies and his cohorts have been making overseas rights deals at AFM, and they will make a deal shortly for domestic. They are using the Davey-produced “The Passion of the Christ” as their business model.

“Our target has been places like Latin America and Europe, and at first we viewed the domestic deal as a bonus, but we’ve come to believe that the way kids have picked up the game in the United States, this film can have huge legs in America,” he said.

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