Director Charlie Lightening explains how Eric Cantona and Liam Gallagher’s music video collaboration came about

He had Cantona's contact details "by pure coincidence"

The director of Liam Gallagher: As It Was has explained how the “magical moment” that saw Eric Cantona star in Gallagher’s ‘Once’ video happened.

Charlie Lightening was speaking backstage at the NME Awards 2020 after picking up the award for Best Music Film for his documentary about Liam’s solo career on Wednesday night (February 12). When asked about how he managed to get football legend Cantona to appear in the music video for ‘Once’, which he also directed, he answered: “It was just one of those magical moments where everything aligned.”

He continued: “We saw Cantona post that video singing the song and so Liam texts me and goes, ‘Oh mate, it’d be fucking amazing if….’ And just by pure coincidence, I had [Cantona’s] contact details.”


Lightening went on to explain that he in fact had Cantona’s agent’s phone number “from something else that didn’t come off”. The team quickly set about asking if the ex Manchester United footballer would like to star in the music video.

“He was like, ‘I’m right up for it’,” Lightening recalled Cantona saying. “And he just came on his own. I went out for dinner with him the night before the shoot and we talked through the idea. Honestly, I can’t say enough nice things about that man.”

Director Charlie Lightening takes a selfie with his NME award. CREDIT: NME

Elsewhere in the video interview, which you can watch in full above, Lightening responded to what he thinks the chances are of an Oasis reunion.

“You can never say no,” he answered, adding that he knows both Liam and Noel Gallagher well personally. “They’ve got to become friends again and become brothers.

“You can never say it won’t happen, you know. Who knows?”


Meanwhile, on Wednesday Liam sent in an acceptance video for the Best Music Film award with Cantona by his side.

“Thank you very much NME Awards for the Best Music Film,” Liam said in the pre-recorded message. “Sorry I can’t be there, because I’m here.”