King Eric ‘The Stallion’
Eric Cantona is almost as famous for his post-football career as he was for his legendary spell as a striker for Manchester United.
The Frenchman was a towering presence in the 1990s, leading United to Premier League glory as Sir Alex Ferguson laid the foundations for a side that would go on to dominate English and European football.
His brilliance was not just technical and physical – Cantona’s rugged sense of machismo rubbed off on his team-mates who, like him, started daring to believe.
That expressive personality has since seen Cantona take some unusual career turns.
As outspoken as he is talented, Cantona has also turned his hand to political activism, although his 2010 attempts to bring the financial services industry to a halt by encouraging people to withdraw large sums of money from cash machines was as ill-advised as it was unsuccessful.
There was also a reported bid for the French presidency last year, although it later transpired that the full-page advert he placed in left-wing newspaper Liberation was a PR stunt to publicise a housing crisis and social injustice in France. Right on.
Cantona has even dabbled in football, playing the beach version of the game, and taking a role as director of football at the reformed New York Cosmos, although his input has been limited as they are yet to receive an MLS spot.
But acting has been his main focus.
His English-language acting performances have been widely lauded and commercially successful – particularly in the Queen Elizabeth biopic and Ken Loach’s critically acclaimed ‘Looking for Eric’.
‘I am not a man – I am Cantona!’- In his native France Cantona has tended towards the more arthouse genres of film.
And his latest project is eyebrow-raising to say the least.
Yann Gonzalez’s ‘Les Rencontres d’après minuit’ (or ‘Meetings after midnight’) comes out in November. It is a dark comedy about a young-ish couple and their housemaid preparing to host a party, and the unusual happenings before and during their soiree.
All very Pinteresque you may feel. But the housemaid is a transvestite man, and the party is an orgy. Ooh la la!
And what is Eric’s role? Unsurprisingly he has been cast as a ‘Bull’, the dominant alpha male who usually takes control in such activities. Grrr.
His character is named ‘l’Etalon’, literally translating as ‘The Stallion’. It doesn’t leave all that much to the imagination.
This is not a cheesy porn flick though – evoking Pedro Almodovar and Jean-Luc Godard, it is moody, witty and at times borders on the pastiche.
Needless to say the cast is incredibly good-looking, and while Cantona insisted it is “not foolishly voyeuristic but elegant and unique”, you can’t help but feel there’ll be a fair bit of attention directed towards the nude scenes.