Ex-football star Eric Cantona plays leading role in Croatian movie

ZAGREB (AFP) - Charismatic French ex-football star Eric Cantona is playing the main role in a Croatian movie that began shooting this week, a producer said Wednesday.

The movie, Anka, is about a rude brickyard worker, played by Cantona, and an orphan girl he eventually adopts.

"This role will present Cantona as a very serious actor. He plays as well as he was playing football," Croatian director Dejan Acimovic told local media.

Shooting started on Monday near the southern town of Drnis, executive producer Lori Vitaljic told AFP.

The screenplay is based on the novel Anka the Brazilian by Croatian children's writer Mato Lovrak, who died in 1974.

The 49-year-old former Manchester United star has already had roles in more than a dozen movies.

During his football years, Cantona played for several French clubs before ending his career at Manchester United, where he won four Premier League titles in five years.

In 2001, King Eric, as Manchester United fans still refer to him, was voted the club's player of the century.