Goal! The Dream Begins Star Kuno Becker Discusses the Soccer Movie

Kuno Becker stars in Goal! The Dream Begins. © Touchstone Pictures
Goal! The Dream Begins may provide two simultaneous dreams beginning. Santiago Munez gets to fulfill his dream of playing professional soccer and Kuno Becker fulfills his dream of being in a big movie. He plays Santiago, a Mexican immigrant who breaks tradition to follow his heart with a little help from the Newcastle United talent scouts.

Kuno Becker Describes How He Got Involved in Goal! The Dream Begins: “Man, it was the most difficult thing in the world.

Not only competitive, but also soccer-wise was really, really hard. I didn’t play a lot of soccer when I was a kid. I did play when I was in school but nothing professional. So I had to do a couple of auditions, like normal auditions, and then when I got the role…or at least half of the role. They said, ‘Okay, now can you play soccer?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever. I can play soccer.’

I had to do this audition for two weeks in England with the real team, with the Newcastle United, the team of the film. I had to train with them for a couple weeks to do another audition, a soccer audition. I broke my ankles because I was training so hard, so many hours a day, that I had stress fracture. I couldn’t even walk, forget about playing soccer. So it was really, really, really hard.”

Becker almost lost the role because of his ankle injuries prior to shooting the film. “I almost didn’t get the role because of that, because the day of the audition, I couldn’t even walk, forget about playing soccer or anything else,” explained Becker.

“I did learn a couple of things, like a couple tricks and stuff to keep the ball with me, and that’s where the director said, ‘Okay, you know what? You did improve,’ so I got the role. But it was really, really hard.”

Although Becker trained hard for the role, there are some scenes where a double had to be used.

“I did everything in my power to be able to do as much as I could but there were certain things that even if you want to do it, you can’t do it,” said Becker. “There are certain things that these guys…they have been training for 25 years and they are 27, so it’s really, really hard to train for a couple months - four months - and achieve that level. It’s just impossible. So there were certain things that I really couldn’t do because even a lot of soccer players, they can’t do those things. Like the tricks, for example.

I did train a lot so I did as much as I could. I do things that I didn’t really know that I was going to be able to do, so that was a good thing. And the most important thing is that the audience really believes it and that the audience is not taken away by those scenes. It doesn’t take you away from the story when you see those scenes. That was my main concern. I really wanted to achieve a good level so the audience could really follow the story and just really believe that Santiago was a talented player.”

Getting Into Shape for Goal!: “I did have time to heal because that was like a month and a half before we started shooting. By the time we started shooting, I had started training but I was recovering myself.

It was very, very hard. Then the actual training for the film, I did it, again, with a team and on the field. I had a football coach and I had a football teacher. I had to learn everything from, ‘This is how you go to try to score a goal...’ It was really, really bad. Physically, it was the toughest thing I’ve ever done.”

Hitting the Mark Take After Take: “It was very difficult, as you said, because it’s a whole different thing to actually play a match than to shoot a match for film. All the scenes, for example that trial you see in the first film under the rain and with mud and everything, we shot that sequence for about a week. And it was really, really hard. It was super cold. It was minus I don't know what and I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. Somebody broke my nose and it was cuts and cuts and it was constantly playing football, playing soccer for 10-12 hours.

Stopping and not stopping, but it was really hard. So it’s actually harder than just playing a match.”

On Soccer Hooligans: Becker laughed when asked if he encountered any real soccer hooligans. “No, actually the Geordies were great with us. At the beginning, they were like, ‘Oh, man, this is not gonna happen. I mean, a guy that comes here and trains for four months is never going to be able to play football’ - as they call it instead of soccer.

I just trained hard and by the time we finished the film, the English fans were actually making up songs for my character, for Santiago. They were yelling, ‘Santiago is a Geordie,’ so it was really great. The people of the team, they were open to us. They were very warm with us. They were very helpful and supportive.”

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Signing on to the Goal! Trilogy: “They told me from the beginning it was going to be a trilogy. I knew that so the challenge was to make my character evolve and change throughout the story instead of just playing the same guy three times. I think that’s very dangerous. It wouldn’t be interesting for the audience, too. The most important thing also is that this is a story and you have to remember that it’s about emotions, feelings, relationships and people have to relate to it. If it was just a bunch of guys playing soccer, it wasn’t going to be interesting.

What I think is interesting about this one is that this is a story of what happens inside of the soccer world, instead of just a bunch of guys playing soccer. And in the second one, I wanted to see him change. I wanted to see him evolve. I wanted to see him become a little bit crazy because that’s what happens with rock stars, soccer players, American football players. In any sport, it doesn’t matter - when a guy that comes from a very simple background gets all this money and fame and everything. I wanted to really see him change. So the challenge is still there for the third one, and I want to try to think about a couple more things to do with that.”

Becker admits signing up for three films is a big commitment. “It’s very big and it’s very challenging. I don't know about the third one. I know that it’s going to happen.

The plan is to shoot the film during the World Cup in Germany and then the rest of the film, not all the film, but maybe 30% of the film during the World Cup. Then when the World Cup finishes in Germany, we’re supposed to be shooting the rest of the film there in the stadiums, with the real players, not with a real audience anymore but with a real everything.

That’s the way we shot the first one and the second one. We shot it at the stadiums with the real players. It was just awesome and that’s going to give the sense of realism that we want to achieve.”

Becker’s Soccer Skills Progress from the First to Second Film: “In the second one it was actually not easier, but it was great that I did improve a lot because I kept training and I had a wonderful coach, Andy Ansah. He’s an English player and in the second one, I did a lot of things that I never in my life thought I was going to be able to do but it was just because of him. I had a great, great, great, great soccer coach. And in the third one, hopefully I’m gonna be able to do a couple more things.”

English as a Second Language: Becker’s English is perfect however he didn’t learn how to speak the language until a few years back. “I actually learned English about three years and a half ago because I did a film called Imagining Argentina, so I didn’t speak English at the time so I really had to learn pretty fast. But what really helped me, I think, was that I learned German when I was a kid. I grew up speaking Spanish and German in the school and then when I was studying in Austria, I learned German too.

And I did know a couple of things, a couple of words in English. But then I really had to learn when I started working here.”

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Topel, Fred. "Goal! The Dream Begins Star Kuno Becker Discusses the Soccer Movie." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/kuno-becker-talks-goal-the-dream-begins-2424306. Topel, Fred. (2017, March 2). Goal! The Dream Begins Star Kuno Becker Discusses the Soccer Movie. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/kuno-becker-talks-goal-the-dream-begins-2424306 Topel, Fred. "Goal! The Dream Begins Star Kuno Becker Discusses the Soccer Movie." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/kuno-becker-talks-goal-the-dream-begins-2424306 (accessed December 12, 2017).