A giant cage in the belly of a freighter is the site for a "secret" three-on-three tournament between 24 of the world's best soccer players. There's only one rule: first goal wins.
Director Terry Gilliam ( Brazil, 12 Monkeys) shot the spot on a set in Rome in December. Play unfolds on real grass, which was often replaced during the monthlong shoot, and under the watch of tournament master Eric Cantona, the 35-year-old French soccer legend who struts malevolently atop the cage wielding a metal-tipped cane. The spot's stylishly grimy look is all Gilliam. "He likes things kind of dirty," says Glenn Cole, a creative director at Nike's ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, "the stuff you can find in an abandoned lot." You can't find players like these—the group includes Brazil's Ronaldo and France's Thierry Henry—just anywhere, though; at times Gilliam simply let them play as cameras rolled. The result: unscripted gems like a prone Roberto Carlos flipping the ball over his head and into the goal.
This should be a hit in Europe and South America, where the players are household names, but the quick cuts may disorient U.S. viewers. The arresting finale—Henry leaping off of Italy's Francesco Totti for a tournament-winning header of questionable legality—sets up a rematch; there's already one in the works.