Wednesday 22 November 2017

'I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars' - Irish director John Carney on working with 'supermodel' Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Irish director John Carney has said he did not feel Keira Knightley was ready for the "level of honesty and self-analysis" required for his 2013 film Begin Again.

Knightley starred in the film, about the relationship between a disgraced music business executive and a young singer-songwriter, with fellow A-listers Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine.

It was Dublin filmmaker Carney's first major film following the Oscar-winning Once and it preceded his latest offering, Sing Street, for which he returned to Ireland.

Speaking to The Independent, he said he returned to Ireland to film because he was "a bit disenchanted with working with certain movie stars in that movie and I wanted a break".

Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in 'Begin Again'
Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in 'Begin Again'

He said he did not enjoy the paparazzi and Hollywood premieres which came with the territory and wanted to come back to Ireland to work with actors.

"Keira has an entourage that follow 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."

Director John Carney
Director John Carney

Part of the problem with Begin Again, the director believes, was the fact that Keira was not a guitar player or a singer and that she did not come across as convincing in that capacity in the movie.

This was part of the reason he opted to work with unknown actors who could play their instruments on Sing Street.

Newcomers: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna star in John Carney's 'Sing Street'
Newcomers: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna star in John Carney's 'Sing Street'

Of what he learned on Begin Again, he said, "I learned that I'll never make a film with supermodels again."

Carney continued to praise Mark Ruffalo as a "fantastic actor" and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine as a "joy to work with" and "quite unpretentious".

"I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling," he added.

"Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that."

The director added, "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."

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