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It can be tough working in Hollywood. There’s tons of glamour and attention being thrown around, and for some people that just doesn’t work with their lifestyle. This seems to be the case with writer-director John Carney (Once), who didn’t have a great experience making his film Begin Again. More specifically, he didn’t have a great time working with Keira Knightley, the lead actress in the movie.
John Carney recently spoke with The Independent to promote his new film Sing Street, which filmed far away from Hollywood, in Ireland. Addressing the difference between the two films, Carney brought up what went wrong between him and Knightley.
Not that I didn’t enjoy Begin Again but Keira has an entourage that follows her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done, and so I was very ready to come back to Ireland and make films that nobody cared about who was in it or any of that crap… I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.
That seems understandable. Outside distractions and the Hollywood environment as a whole made the experience difficult for him. Some filmmakers just prefer making movies that are in less of a spotlight, much like how some moviegoers prefer watching indie films to mainstream movies.
Begin Again is a film about a singer-songwriter (Knightley) who gets dumped by her musician boyfriend and teams up with a fired record executive to jumpstart her career. John Carney admits that Keira Knightley not being an actual musician also impacted the film, and that it’s “very hard to make music seem real when it’s not coming from musicians.” Again, understandable. It’s often hard to believable fake musical talent when it comes to movies (Carney is a musician himself and was formerly the bassist in The Frames).
Later in the interview, John Carney throws a little bit more shade Keira Knightley’s way.
So it’s not like I hate the Hollywood thing but I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars. I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.
That’s pretty refreshing (and brutal) honesty coming from a director. Begin Again also starred Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine, and John Carney had nothing but praise for the two of them. Sometimes actors and directors are not a good fit, which seems to be the case for Carney and Keira Knightley. Knightley has been nominated for two Oscars, so Begin Again simply might not have been the right project for her.
Also, what is Keira Knightley’s entourage like? When you hear the word “entourage” you think of big dudes hanging out, so I’m curious what hers is made up of.