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Director John Carney criticises Keira Knightley's acting in Begin Again

Published 30/05/2016

John Carney and Keira Knightley
John Carney and Keira Knightley

The filmmaker prefers to work with new actors as opposed to "movie stars".

Filmmaker John Carney has no desire to work with actress Keira Knightley again because he didn't enjoy directing her in Begin Again.

The Oscar nominee starred as a promising singer-songwriter in the 2013 film, alongside Mark Ruffalo and singer-turned-actor Adam Levine, and John explains the shoot was difficult because of her movie star status. He also felt that Keira didn't expose herself enough onscreen for the role.

"Keira has an entourage that follow (sic) her everywhere so it's very hard to get any real work done...," he tells Britain's The Independent newspaper.

"Mark Ruffalo is a fantastic actor and Adam Levine is a joy to work with, and actually quite unpretentious and not a bit scared of exposing himself on camera and exploring who he is as an individual," John adds. "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. Keira's thing is to hide who you are and I don't think you can be an actor and do that."

"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," he continues. "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."

John's new movie, Sing Street, is about a boy in Dublin, Ireland who forms a band to get away from his family drama, and the filmmaker insists he preferred his latest shoot because he was able to work with new actors and real musicians.

"I learned that I'll never make a film with supermodels again," he says of the differing experiences.

"I think the real problem was that Keira wasn't a singer and wasn't a guitar player and it's very hard to make music seem real if it's not with musicians," John claims. "And I think the audience struggled a little bit with that in Begin Again. And as much as I tried to make it work I think that she didn't quite come out as a guitar-playing singer-songwriter. So I really wanted to work with musicians and actors that could play their instruments properly and sing and stuff like that.

"And working with the kids on this film and real instruments there was no hiding going on. It really was a bit of a journey of self-discovery for the actors in Sing Street and that appeals to me."

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