20 years Art Department recalls Nick Ellis’ production design on Bend it like Beckham

26th April 2022

20 years on Art Department recalls Nick Ellis’ Bend it like Beckham production design 

It’s 20 years since the trailblazing film directed by Gurinder Chada, Bend It Like Beckham, was released.

With Production Design by the late, and much-missed Nick Ellis from the Art Department, with fellow agency members—Art Director Mark Scruton and Set Decorator Sara ‘Cheeky’ Neighbour—the film tells the story of a British-Indian girl’s love for football.

Jess (Parminder Nagra) is the youngest daughter in a traditional Indian family living in England who secretly plays football for a women’s team organized by Jules (Keira Knightley).

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gurinder Chada explains how the film originated: “It came from me sitting down and saying, “I want to write the most commercial film I can with an Asian woman in the lead.” In Britain, things had really been shifting and changing. For many years, football was very much about hooligans and sort of right-wing people. Anything to do with football was a no-go area if you were a person of color. I decided this was an interesting area for me, and started thinking, “All right, how can I make this story work for me?”

Made for about $6 million, Bend It Like Beckham, went on to take $76.6 million at the global box office.

(Images: Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley. Fox Searchlight)