Director Guy Ritchie has defended David Beckham's acting debut in King Arthur, describing him as a "fabulous actor".
The filmmaker cast Beckham as a cockney henchman in his action adventure, but his cameo role was dubbed by some fans and critics as "cringeworthy" and "wooden".
But at the London premiere of the film last night, Ritchie said that Becks had hired an acting coach for the part, and was an absolute "pleasure" to work with.
"He was fantastic, I love old Becksy," he told Sky News. "He is a fabulous actor and a real pleasure to be with."
When asked if a Hollywood career beckoned for the former footballer, Ritchie replied diplomatically: "I don't know yet, one step at a time."
Charlie Hunnam - who takes on the titular lead in the fantasy movie - also praised "humble" Beckham and his impressive work ethic.
"It was lovely [working with Beckham], he did an amazing job. He is very quiet and humble and serious," the Sons of Anarchy star added.
"I thought it was a lark, I thought he was just going to show up for a laugh because he is Guy's friend, but he took it all very, very seriously."
Beckham sported a prosthetic nose and gruesome make-up to play the "grumpy" henchman called Trigger, who imparts advice to King Arthur to help him remove the legendary sword from the stone.
Arthur asks Beckham's character where he wants him, to which he sarcastically replies: "Bouncing on me knee.... Where do ya think I want ya? Hands on the heel, stupid."
Reactions on Twitter were less than complimentary, while TV troll Piers Morgan suggested "he could be the third Mitchell brother!"
Ritchie also suggested that the critics were just using Beckham for "a headline" (via MSN).
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is released on 19 May.