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Beckham Becomes New Face Of Disney

Friday, February 2nd, 2007 at 16:44 by Rhys Wilcox

David Beckham fast-tracks the American dream before he even moves there.

What would be the quickest way to ingratiate yourself into the hearts, minds and (more importantly) the households of a foreign culture? Why, get yourself branded by the largest corporate merchandising whores going. No, not MacDonalds. The other ones.

Even if Real Madrid is benching David Beckham until the end of his contract, he has still been selected by Disney to represent the living face of their fairy tale character Prince Chaving Charming. A new Disneyland campaign is being put together by esteemed photographer Annie Leibovitz, snapping pics of a variety of famous people dressed as some of the iconic Disney characters.

Beyonce Knowles, Oliver Platt and Scarlett Johansson are some of the A-listers Liebovitz has chosen to depict Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter and Cinderella respectively, and then there’s Beckham as well.

Is it me? Really? Is someone, somewhere over-estimating this man’s clout or have I just not kept up with the ‘phenomena’?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what my issue is with this. Here we have an industry that has thrived on defiling and culturally claiming the rights of dozens of historical, fairy tale and classic literature characters. Generations of children have been raised in the belief that The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a ‘feelgood’ story, the Little Mermaid’s feet didn’t bleed with every step and that Winnie The Pooh is American [1].

What seems to reinforce these notions is when other interpretations of the tales mimic the Disney versions rather than create their own. In a similar vein, I now feel a rise of bile when my daughter displays Barbie’s Pegasus to me. A pastel pink creature with a long flowing mane and tiara; more akin to My Little Pony than the winged champion of the gods of Olympus.

So, here is Beckham, another British icon to be subsumed into the Disney mythos. But who’s using who? Is Disney just targeting a potential untapped reservoir of his global fan base? Or is it him, like I said, attempting to ensconce himself into Americana in the hope of paving his way to the next project?

Two mighty, media hungry giants feeding off each other like Ouroboros to an Oscar worthy soundtrack by Tim Rice.

 

[1] Oh, and if you’re the main character’s mum then you’re either trying to kill him/her, you’re going to get killed or you’re already dead.

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