Keira Knightley's Performance In 'Begin Again' Gets Ripped By John Carney

If you were hoping to see Irish director John Carney work again with Keira Knightley as they did on Begin Again a couple of years ago, then sorry but you're out of luck. The director has been doing press for Sing Street, another musical and one that many see as one of his best yet. But Carney isn't willing to just move on and bask in that film's critical success. Instead, he's taking pot shots at Knightley over what he deems a problematic partnership on Begin Again. In fact, his first comments to The Independent were a deliberate slam against the actress, even though the question had nothing to do with her...

"Well, it’s fantastic. I’m very surprised; it’s a small personal movie with no Keira Knightleys in it. It’s really rewarding."

Shots fired! Carney continues later on by stating that what he loves most is working with less well-known actors, especially those who don't come with massive entourages following them around. Apparently that was an issue...

"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."

But the big problem seems to be that Knightley, who did her own vocals and instrumentation in the film, is not trained in either.  

“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.”

He continues to trash her in the interview by comparing her to co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine, although he fails to mention that the situations are completely different. Ruffalo wasn't called on to go out of his comfort zone in the way Knightley was, and Levine is obviously very comfortable in the world of music. So it's a little unfair the way he grills her here, while trying to act as if that's not what he's doing...

"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..... 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."

Keep in mind that Knightley is a two-time Oscar nominee he's talking about. Personally, I thought she did a pretty good job on Begin Again considering she was doing something well outside of her typical realm. It's just a little sad that Carney wasn't classy enough to keep his obvious venom for her out of the spotlight. He went out of his way to "rubbish" her in public as if to say all of the blame is on her rather than taking responsibility for his own part to play. Sing Street is a great film, have loved it since the first moment I saw it, but this diminishes Carney to me just a little bit.