From Field to Film: Athletes Who Transitioned to the Big Screen
Earlier this week, it was rumored that recently retired soccer star David Beckham might be considering a career in film.
Beckham is reportedly eyeing a villainous role in "The Secret Service," an upcoming film directed by Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass" "X-Men: First Class") and based on a comic book series of the same name. If he signs on, Beckham will be joining a cast that already includes veteran actors Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson.
READ: 20 Good Actors Without Oscars
A source close to the athlete says he's not planning on making film his full-time gig, but if Beckham wanted to, he probably could. Plenty of big-name athletes have embarked on film careers, albeit with varying degrees of success.
Take a look at some of the most notable below.
O.J. Simpson was a well-known football player before he became a well-known film star (and later a well-known felon). While he was still playing professionally, Simpson starred in "The Towering Inferno," "Capricorn One" and an installment of "Roots," among other film and television roles. After retirement, he was probably best known for playing the bumbling Detective Nordberg in "The Naked Gun" trilogy.
Like Beckham, Vinnie Jones had a long career as a soccer player before transitioning into acting. Some of his notable appearances on film "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch," "Gone in 60 Seconds," and "X-Men: The Last Stand."
Some might question the validity of professional wrestling as a sport, but there's no denying that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson showcased a fair amount of athleticism during his tenure with the WWF (and WWE). And while he might not be the first wrestler to become a film star, he's undoubtedly the most successful, having tackled family fare ("Journey to the Center of the Earth," "The Game Plan"), big-budget blockbusters ("G.I.Joe: Retaliation," "Fast Five" ), and comedic roles ("Get Smart," "Reno 911!: Miami").
Crews played for the Rams, the Chargers, the Redskins and the Eagles before retiring from the NFL in 1997. Since then, he's enjoyed a successful career as an actor, appearing in films like "Training Day," "White Chicks," "Idiocracy," "Bridesmaids" and "The Expendables," among many others.
It's easy to forget that Jason Lee was once a sponsored, professional skateboarder with his own signature Airwalk shoes. He left skateboarding to pursue acting in the mid-'90s, starring in Kevin Smith features such as "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma," among others. More recently, he starred in "Alvin and the Chipmunks" (and its two sequels) and as the lead character in the NBC sitcom "My Name is Earl."
In addition to rapping and police work, NBA player Shaquille O'Neal pursued acting in his free time. At the height of his basketball career, he starred in "Blue Chips," "Kazaam" and "Steel." Now, in his retirement from basketball, he continues to act, most recently appearing in "Grown Ups 2" and lending his voice to Smooth Smurf in "The Smurfs 2."
Before he made a name for himself as Apollo Creed in "Rocky," Carl Weathers (seen above with co-star Sylvester Stallone) was a professional football player for the NFL's Oakland Raiders and the CFL's B.C.Lions. He went on to appear in three "Rocky" sequels, as well as films like "Predator" and "Happy Gilmore" and television shows such as "In The Heat of the Night" and "Arrested Development."
Arnold Schwarzenegger might be the most famous example of an athlete-turned-actor, having been one of the most accomplished bodybuilders of all time before becoming a household name. Way before "The Terminator," "Total Recall" or "True Lies," Arnold won the titles of Mr. Universe three times and Mr. Olympia seven times. (He still holds the record for being the youngest recipient of the Mr. Olympia title, which he earned for the first time at 23.)
Honorable Mention: Michael Jordan
Though not really an actor, Michael Jordan managed to hold his own against Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in "Space Jam."
Honorable Mention: Mike Tyson
We're also not so sure Mike Tyson qualifies as an actor, but he did play himself in "The Hangover," "The Hangover Part II," "How I Met Your Mother" and "Scary Movie 5."