Hollywood aristocracy clamors to rub shoulders with Beckhams

Times Staff Writer

Global soccer icon David Beckham has made it clear he wants to be a star on the field -- not on the screen.

Nonetheless, Hollywood is expected to be scrambling like a striker chasing the ball to get some face time Sunday night with the Brit-turned-Beverly Hills estate owner and his glamorous singer wife, Victoria.

Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars -- Tom Cruise and Will Smith -- are hosting a private, welcome-to-L.A. bash for the Beckhams at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary in downtown Los Angeles.


The 600-person, invitation-only list includes Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Anjelica Huston, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Brian Grazer, Warner Bros. President Alan Horn and Universal Pictures chief Ron Meyer. Not invited inside: the paparazzi that have followed the Beckhams’ every move here.

“This is the hardest party to get into,” said one person with knowledge of the affair, “It’s A-list only. And, no press.”

Beckham’s name was up in lights before with the 2002 independent film “Bend It Like Beckham,” but he was not a member of the cast (an airport sighting at the end was played by an actor). He did appear in file footage, and received a “special thanks” in the credits for lending his name to the title.

Beckham’s sold-out debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy is set for Saturday night, although a tender ankle could limit his play.

However, he should be fit to party by 8:30 p.m. Sunday for what is expected to be the hottest ticket in town. While event planners are trying hard to keep all details under wraps, no doubt the next few days will bring some major last-minute dribbles from those hoping to attend.

Invitations were sent out earlier this week.

Cruise and his wife, actress Katie Holmes, who have befriended the Beckhams and are their neighbors in Beverly Hills, are said to have initiated the party. Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, helped Holmes pull the event together. To attend the affair, Cruise will fly in from Germany, where he just began shooting his latest film, the World War II drama “Valkyrie.”


The Hollywood coming-out bash caps more than a week of Beckham-mania sweeping Southern California, with TV ads proclaiming his arrival, a mob of photographers greeting him at the airport and more than 700 journalists attending a news conference Friday at Home Depot Center in Carson, the Galaxy’s home field.

On Monday, Creative Artists Agency, which represents Cruise, Smith, Holmes and the Beckhams, and other hosts including Galaxy owner Anschutz Entertainment Group held a reception for the celebrity couple at CAA’s posh, new Century City headquarters. Most of the guests were sports industry figures.

In a deal valued at a potential $250 million, Beckham signed a five-year contract with the team in January. Of that total, the soccer star will receive $6 million a year in salary. The rest will flow from endorsements from such advertisers as Adidas, Pepsi and Motorola.

Beckham’s publicist, Glenn Lehrman of Rogers & Cowan, reiterated what his client recently stated publicly: “He really has no intentions in Hollywood. He came over here to play soccer and work with kids, his two big passions.”

The publicist added that Beckham had “no intentions to do TV shows or movies -- it’s just not his ambition. Ten years from now, he may change his mind, but I don’t think so.”

Such talk won’t discourage Hollywood agents, executives and filmmakers from hoping that someday the dashing, 32-year-old Brit might consider a life in show business after soccer.

After all, they say, he’s got what it takes to be a leading man.

“He’s certainly handsome and has movie-star looks,” said Bruckheimer, one of Hollywood’s biggest producers. “He’s a big enough celebrity that TV will love him and, if he can act, he’d be a major player in the movies.”

Bruckheimer, who’s never met Beckham and will not attend Sunday’s party due to a prior commitment, was invited by his pal Cruise, with whom he made the movies “Top Gun” and “Days of Thunder.”

But fans who want to see Beckham will have to settle for the small screen -- in a commercial he shot in Madrid with former USC Trojan football player Reggie Bush, now with the New Orleans Saints.