UPDATE: Director John Carney tweeted an apology note:
From a director who feels like a complete idiot. pic.twitter.com/vfO8m4U2Hl— John Carney (@jayceefactory) June 1, 2016
John Carney needs to take his sinking boat and point it home, 'cause fans are not on his side this time. The director of the amazing musical film "Once" just decided to trash Keira Knightley in an interview with the Independent, singling her out as the problem with his last film "Begin Again," co-starring Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine. He has a new film out called "Sing Street," and while promoting the movie, the Irish director went out of his way to blast the Oscar-nominated actress. So Team Keira came out in force after the interview to blast the director.
Here's part of the interview, which includes the unprompted Keira insults.
Ouch. Good thing he didn't want to "rubbish Keira" or that could've come off as rude.
How significant was it to make the film in Ireland?
I had just come back from making this far bigger movie in America and I was a bit disenchanted with working with certain movie stars in that movie and I wanted a break.
I didn't enjoy that experience of paparazzi and fabulous openings. The movie star world is not something that ever appealed to me. I like working with actors and I wanted to come back to what I knew and enjoy film-making again – not that I didn't enjoy Begin Again but 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.
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. 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.
So you learned a lot from making that film.
Yeah, I did. I learned that I'll never make a film with supermodels again.
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. 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. 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.
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.
So he loved working with Adam Levine -- whose job is singing and coaching on "The Voice," not acting -- but he dismissed Keira as a "supermodel" and insulted her acting because she didn't quite follow his already-be-the-character-in-real-life playbook. So why did he, as the director, cast her, and why isn't he blaming himself if he isn't happy with the result? Considering her filmography is a lot longer than his, and she has two acting Oscar nominations, it's a bit rich for the director to try to hang this all on her lack of acting skills.
Fans defended Keira in comments across the Internet. Here are just a few, from the Independent, Variety, and Entertainment Weekly:
• When I watch the clip of Keira Knightly's performance in The Imitation Game which was featured in the 87th Annual Academy Awards I find it in complete contradiction to John Carney's quote in this interview: "Keira's thing is to hide who you are and I don't think you can be an actor and do that." Her stillness allows me to be drawn to her eyes which reveal so much of her inner life and vulnerability. She completely exposes herself and hides nothing.
• Perhaps Knightley feels similarly about the Director.
• mmmm....I wonder if the fact that you are willing to criticize your co-worker to the media makes it difficult for an actress to be willing to go "exploring" with you. How safe did you make her feel as a director? What kind of an environment did you create? Did you foster a boys club with the men that perhaps made her feel alienated, which, would certainly make it hard to feel free to explore....particular when she is so well-known and open to extreme exposure all that time. I find this frustrating because too many directors do not attempt to make actors feel that they have a safe environment in which to explore...let's hear about the director's process and how you work, then I will be more open to what you have to say about your actors.
• A bad workman blames his tools.
• Even if all this is true, maybe he should be more thankful that a "supermodel" helped him get his indie film made and distributed. What he expected when he cast her? If you don't want to work with a movie star, then do not get a movie star. Now it seems he is desperate to promote his new film and generate buzz with his criticism.
• I legitimately laughed at this when he says that Adam Levine of all people is a good actor but he wouldn't work with Keira again. Adam Levine is a horrible actor, worse than Justin Timberlake (who I love as a musician but leaves a lot to be desired as an actor). Keira isn't a 'proper actor' but somehow ADAM LEVINE IS?! I'm still laughing. I will laugh about this all day.
• ...so she wouldn't sleep with him?
• Not sure what he is trying to accomplish by publicly trashing a 2 time Academy Award nominee out of nowhere . It's not a win for anybody. Did he just want some attention?
• Oof. That was an a-hole move. I think Keira is one of the best actors out there. Pride and Prejudice? Atonement? Come on.
• What a douche! She was wonderful in A Dangerous Method, it was a complete 180 from Pride and Prejudice. The Imitation Game was a wonderful ensemble and she engaged with the cast and material. Begin Again was a major letdown and much of that falls on him, the movie failed for multiple reasons and they all point back to him as the directing force. He tried to do his one note 'Once' schtick and it landed on deaf ears.
P.S. - There has never been a movie where the characters in a band actually sing or perform a good legitimate song, movie bands always suck--that film was no exception. The entire film looked like a bad commercial for Coke or a Hallmark card, and it was horribly cast. Own your failure brother, don't peg it on someone who has clearly gained plenty of international esteem for far more than her looks. Sometimes people just don't work well together, don't trash her for your shortcomings. What a pig.
• this guy saying adam levine is a better actor than keira is the best joke I ever heard lol
• Mr Carney says he doesn't want to rubbish Ms Knightly but that is exactly what he does throughout the interview and I think that's unprofessional as well as unfair. 'Begin Again' isn't perfect but I had a lovely time watching it and thought that the slight oddness of Ms Knightley's casting added to the film's charm and credibility. I remember the film fondly but Mr Carney's attack has tainted it for me.
• 1st off, no one ever called Keira Knightley a super model. Secondly, Begin Again was a horribly written, terribly directed film that did not do well. Third, Keira Knightley is hailed and recognized as one of the great actresses of her generation and has garnered recognition and accolades from the industry. 4th Whatever sexist, misogynst, myopic bull that Carney wants to spew Knightley's way should be directed back at himself. A little introspection and artistic honesty is better than lashing out at someone who doesn't warrant your unfounded negativity.
• i hope this interview is seen by everyone everywhere. this director unwittingly exposes some of the inner cogs of misogynist mass media machine, while over-sharing his own unpleasantness, and disgracing himself with this utter betrayal of Keira Knightley's trust.
That an actor can turn in ANY performance while coping with this crap is remarkable, that she can in fact do so with such great style and so wildly successfully is F%&*ing miraculous. Go Keira!
If Keira saw her former director's interview -- and someone probably told her about it -- the fan support has to take a bit of the sting away.
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