Ahead of our first screening at Film Fest in the City, we're taking you through 10 things you didn't know about Bend it like Beckham.

Bend it like Beckham is screening at Film Fest in the City on Monday 23 August at 5.30pm. Screenings are FREE and unticketed. Find out more about Film Fest in the City.


1. The film was actually inspired by Ian Wright, not David Beckham, after writer-director Gurinder Chadha saw an image of Wright wearing the Union Jack and had the idea to write a film about “the evolving concept of Britishness.”

2. Chada didn’t know anything about football and relied on her co-writers to fill the gaps in her knowledge.

3. Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightly did 3 months of football training to prepare for the film and did all of their own playing instead of using doubles.

4. Writer-Director Gurinder Chadha made 2 cameos in the film, one as a jogger in the park and in another scene, she was a guest at Jess’ sister’s wedding.

5. Bend it like Beckham was screened at the 2004 Pyongyang Film Festival and broadcast on TV in North Korea in 2010, making it the first Western film to be publicly screened in the country.

6. Gurinder Chadha used her own family members as extras. 

7. Despite their characters being roughly the same age, there is actually a ten-year age gap between Keira Knightly and Parminder Nagra, and the filming schedule had to fit around 16-year-old Knightly’s GCSE exams.

8. Most of the Hounslow Harriers were professional football players, not actors, who would usually play for various London clubs.

9. The story that Jess tells about her scar is the true story of how Parminder Nagra got that scar on her leg.

10. Parminder Nagra won FIFA’s International Football Personality of the Year Presidential Award in 2002 after starring in the film, making her the first women to ever receive the honour.

Film Fest in the City is presented in partnership with Essential Edinburgh, and supported by Johnnie Walker.