Keira Knightley was slammed by her ‘Begin Again’ director John Carney


In 2012, Keira Knightley filmed a movie that became Begin Again. At the time, I think the film was called Can A Song Save Your Life?. Keira was the star, along with Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld and James Corden. The director was John Carney, an Irish writer-director who, at that point, had only directed a handful of projects in Ireland, including the much-beloved indie film Once. Begin Again was his big move to Hollywood, with a big-name cast and a bigger budget. And the film didn’t do well, and the experience was apparently pretty painful for everyone involved. Well, Carney has made a new film in his native Ireland, and when he sat down with the Independent to promote it, he ended up sh-t talking Begin Again, Hollywood and more specifically, Keira Knightley. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

The Independent: How significant was it to make [Sing Street] 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.

The Independent: 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.

[From The Independent]

Good lord, this man sounds like a complete bitch. The whole reason Begin Again even got made was because he had some big-name actors attached to it, like Keira and Mark Ruffalo. And was he forced to hire Keira or something? Did someone hold a gun to his head to get him to cast one of the most talented young actresses working today? And why is it so impossible to believe that Keira had an “entourage” of people helping her because she was nervous about the role and she wanted to do a good job? She had to play instruments and sing live to camera in the film. Carney is so dismissive – “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again” – that it actually makes me really upset on Keira’s behalf. I hope she learned that she never wants to make a film with a—hole directors again.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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167 Responses to “Keira Knightley was slammed by her ‘Begin Again’ director John Carney”

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  1. Courtney says:

    I loved Keira in this movie!!! The guy is a major douche.

  2. Pinky says:

    But…he probably WAS forced to hire her….


    • Div says:

      Even if he was forced to hire her by the producers, whining about it to the papers three years later is very bad form. Not to mention his spiel about an entourage…it’s the norm for actors to have an assistant and a bodyguard. Keira had a bad incident with a stalker at her Broadway play last year….being concerned about her safety isn’t being “actressy.” I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a vocal coach either but again that wouldn’t be unusual for a musical film.

      • Josefina says:

        Oh, so I take it you have worked with Kiera more times than he has?

        I just got the impression he didn’t like the Hollywood scene. I don’t think he was morally judging Kiera, but expressing he doesn’t like that line of work.

      • K2 says:

        He was saying she was a terrible actress, while talking about people’s work as actors, and adding that she was “a movie star” and “a super model” when he needed “real film actors”. I’m not sure how you can come away from that without thinking he was being critical.

    • MooHoo says:

      I agree. It is annoying when you want to make a project and the money backers say, this person and this person have to be in it so that movie goers will pay to see it. Keira was okay but nothing special. That said, the movie itself was also only so so and perhaps the creatives (writers etc) could have pepped the story up a bit. The fact that it was a little bit lame is certainly not down to Keira’s performance though.

    • Lena says:

      then he could have said something like: “for me making a Hollywood movie was not a good experience Because you loose creative control and have to give in to studio demands, like which actors to hire even if you think they aren’t quite right for the part.” But what he said was just nasty and unnecessary and calling her a “supermodel” even though she was never a model smacks of sexism.

    • Patsy says:

      I know right, she is an incredibly photogenic girl but I have always found her rather wooden but works continuously because she has Perfume gigs so has a presence with the Joe buying public . I find his opinions just that his, why should he suck up just because? He’s not being unprofessional just suffering from honesty which is quite unusual in the movie business these days. This was his experience.

  3. dr mantis toboggan says:

    Keira knightly might be a nice person but she is an absolutely terrible actor.

  4. Abigail says:

    Since when is she a “supermodel?’ She has been a respected actress for years, starting as a teenager. What a dismissive, jerky comment.

  5. Mia4s says:

    Apparently this isn’t new for this director. It’s not just to Keira, he’s just like this.

    Well one less director to follow!

  6. Jae says:

    Mark Harris had the best responce to it:

    “John Carney has made three consecutive romantic comedy-dramas about musicians, but it’s Keira Knightley who’s afraid to take risks? Okay.”

  7. Merritt says:

    How typical. If a movie fails they blame the woman. If a movie is a hit they congratulate the men.

    • Jayna says:

      The movie didn’t fail. It was made for $8 million and brought in $63.5 million. That’s a strong profit for a small movie.

      • JKL says:

        Yeah I just saw this too. It also got some pretty good reviews, so what’s his problem?

      • Chinoiserie says:

        JKL I have no idea either, maybe he bitched about her on set too so the industry people already know about this and other actresses refuse to star in his films? Maybe she behaved in manner that really annoyed him and worse he mentions here (but it does not seem like he was holding back his comments) maybe he is just really angry with producers not letting him pick who he cast and annoyed with Hollywood as a whole? Or maybe he just wants his new film to get any publicity and figures bad publicity works as well. Pretty weird.

    • Brittney says:

      He was very ready to do just that, too! Making sure he made those glowing comments about the two male stars really sealed it. He doesn’t want to offend or burn bridges with the famous white men, but the pretty young woman? Let’s demote her to “model” and humiliate her for a few minutes because I failed at making a successful movie.

  8. Div says:

    He sounds like such a d*ck. Even if Keira was a nightmare, which I doubt, he’s worse for whining and for calling her a “supermodel” despite her two Oscar noms. Several film critics were tearing into him on twitter the other day and pointed out that casting Keira probably got his film financed. It was also mentioned that most big stars, like Keira, need to have a bodyguard for safety reasons and also need a personal assistant to keep on top of all their sh*t. I remember reading that she had some insane stalker show up at her Broadway play last year.

    I seriously wonder if she turned him down in some sort of romantic or sexual situation because he just sounds so bitter and unreasonable.

    • Lurker says:

      I agree he sounds like a dick here, but suggesting that he tried to have sex with her is a huge leap, and quite a nasty thing to imply.

      • mrspanda says:

        I don’t think it’s a nasty thing to imply at all… how is it nasty to suggest he may have made some kind of advance toward her, she rejected him, and he became bitter? It happens all the time and to me it’s a very feasible suggestion given the vitriol in his comments toward her and the level of bitterness underpinning them. We will never know – maybe she was difficult to work with, maybe he’s just a big douche bag, but I don’t find this suggestion to be a big leap at all.

      • Lurker says:

        “how is it nasty to suggest he may have made some kind of advance toward her, she rejected him, and he became bitter?”

        I mean … that is actually really nasty, in my opinion, considering it’s based entirely on nothing concrete at all.

        We’ll have to agree to disagree on this, because I think making stuff up about people is mean, and I wont be changing my mind.

      • Zuzus girl says:

        Agree with lurker, there is zero evidence to suggest anything of the sort. He may be an ass but that is out of line , in my opinion.

      • Zeddy says:

        I agree with Mrs Panda. I work around pretty much men exclusively. Their shit is spewn all over the internet. Men really can’t take rejection well. I can see how he would be mad about her turning him down; women have literally been killed by saying no.

      • Saraya says:

        “Men really can’t take rejection well.”

        Way to overgeneralize. Geez.

      • Josefina says:

        So the only reason men could possibly have to dislike a woman is them refusing to have sex with them?

    • mrspanda says:

      Based entirely on nothing concrete at all? So you didn’t see anything nasty and vitriolic in his own comments about Keira? To me, his own words speak to something more personal than ”we didn’t gel as colleagues”. He seems very dismissive of her, needlessly derogatory, calling her a ”supermodel” etc. That to me suggests a bruised ego – whether it be she threatened his status on set or perhaps rejected his advances. This stuff happens daily in my industry (advertising) so perhaps I’m jaded myself but it doesn’t seem like a big leap :( Understand your position though.

      • mrspanda says:

        Yeah Zeddy I’ve seen bad stuff too (and Saraya of course not all men – but there is a certain types of entitled douche bags around, and I think those types are well represented in advertising/media/entertainment). It can be quite subtle too. I worked with one guy (creative director, thought he was god), who expected people to fawn around him but he particularly expected this of the younger girls in the agency. So it wasn’t as blatant as ”propositioning them to sleep with him and being a dick when they declined” (this guy was married anyway). But it was more that he expected some kind of subjugation (giggle at his stupid jokes etc). He expected this of all junior staff but especially ”the girls”. It’s nearly like he expected people to automatically flirt with him and would be really bitchy if he sensed they thought he was a douchebag etc! So I’m quite sensitive to these type of guys and the way this Director spoke about Kiera raised a red flag in my mind that he ”sounds like one of those!”. Of course it’s conjecture, but this is a celebrity gossip site and people can’t help but intuit stories based on their own experience and background.

    • TheOtherSam says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Was coming her to suggest the exact same thing; his nasty commentary so many years after the fact make me think its deeply personal.

      Keira wasn’t married yet when she shot this movie. I’d place a large bet she rejected him personally in some fashion. It’s Hollywood and this crap happens everywhere even in the A-list.

    • Jwoolman says:

      It’s not extreme speculation because it’s a common scenario in workplaces. I’ve experienced the it twice myself, in both cases with men sharing an office in a lab with me plus another person. Guy (who in both cases hardly knew me) asks me out on a date out of the blue, despite no indication of such interest on my part. I say thanks, but I don’t date people I work with. Guy gets mad and starts insulting me. It’s very likely that then guy tells anybody who will listen what a bitch I am. Or the favorite assumption when a guy is feeling rejected – that I must be a lesbian. Just because I politely declined a date. This is why I always said the best office partners were gay men or happily married men… Single guys were frequently a problem, one way or another. There were very few women in my field. It changed the whole dynamic of the workplace when these guys thought they could shift to a dating relationship with absolutely no encouragement from me. Bet their heads would have exploded if a gay guy did that to them.

  9. Mandy says:

    I love this movie and I feel like he’s ruined it. What an unbelievable asshole. I’m angry on Keira’s behalf as well. Literally never heard a bad thing about her. And of course the men were a dream. This is the kind of thing I think Chloe Sevingy was talking about recently.

    • Boss says:

      I totally agree with you, Mandy! I thought the movie was charming, and Keira herself rather effective in her role. If anything has diminished the magic of film, it’s this fellow and his throwing a wet blanket on the whole thing four years later!

      Oh, and good luck to him for getting Any projects financed that actually get seen by an audience if he can’t play nice with someone like Keira who represents the more reasonable of the Hollywood elite.

  10. Jayna says:

    She wasn’t the best for the part as far as a singer, but she was fine singing, but other than that, I really liked her in it actingwise. And she had great chemistry with Adam and Marc. I thought Adam Levine did a great job in his smaller part. People on here don’t like him, but I always hear nice things about him. Of course, I loved Marc in his leading man part. It was a cute, quirky movie that I really enjoyed. It’s not a great movie, though. I wouldn’t blame Keira for that in the least.

    These comments seem inappropriate, but I am surprised to hear she had an entourage. It was a small movie, an indie, only made for $8 million, which is a nice budget, not not a huge budget, and it turned a very nice profit of $63.5 million, which means Keira’s and Marc’s starpower helped bring an audience to this small movie.

    Sometimes actors/actresses just never mesh great with their directors, but to bash her like this because they didn’t is beyond tacky and unprofessional. She’s an actress, not a supermodel, and how condescending.

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      I am not the world’s biggest Keira Knightley fan, but she was good in this, and enough other films, and is Oscar nominated, so I agree his supermodel comment IS sexist and misogynist based on facts alone. I think his directing technique obviously didn’t gel with her, she did her own thing, and now he’s being a petty d-bag about it. Her performance was not the problem with this film at all, the slightly cliched writing was, if anything she lifted it and her singing and playing was believable in the context of her character.

      • Chinoiserie says:

        Calling her supermodel is really odd, does he know anything of her? She has been acting since she was a child, has done Broadway and West End plays, done supporting roles, works consistently in big and small budget films with usually at least one film out every year, seems professional and has acting nominations. Calling her a starlet or something would have been equally condescending but at least more accurate from him.

  11. Amelia says:

    What a prick.

    Well. If he wants to make films no-one cares about, I reckon he’ll probably get his wish.
    I love watching Keira onscreen and seeing her grow as an actress throughout her career, even if she sometimes gives the impression she has more charisma than raw talent.
    However, I’ve never heard any reports that she’s anything other than a consummate professional – there are no diva stories or doughnut licking antics; she turns up, does her job, fulfils her promotional duties and generally seems to leave great impressions behind her.

    This guy is definitely not going to be doing ‘the movie star thing’ again.

  12. Katenotkatie says:

    Keira’s only been working in films since she was about 13- maybe one of these days she’ll finally grow accustomed to it. What an a-hole.

  13. Pepper says:

    Lol, that film was a mess from a directorial standpoint, and while I loved Once, that had everything to do with the music and the actors, the direction wasn’t remotely noteworthy. But sure guy, question Keira’s ability to do her job.

    • Livvers says:

      Yes, but don’t forget, this guy is an “auteur,” so everything that goes wrong with the film is because the actors/producers/photographers/public were too basic to understand his “vision,” and everything that went right was due to his incomparable genius.

  14. Freddy Spaghetti says:

    So he loved working with the guys in the movie–but Kiera was just a huge pain? Sure, Jan. Misogynist pill.

  15. Sez says:

    Guy sounds like an idiot.. and sexist. Praising Adam Levine (first time actor and mediocre musician) over the Oscar nominated actress who has been acting since her teens?! That said “I hope she learned that she never wants to make a film with Irish a—holes again”…. um, maybe she should just learn that she never wants to make a film with assholes again? Not sure what Irish has to do with it.

  16. Mira says:

    Not a huge fan of Knighley. I think she is quite a bland actress, she seems nice though.
    Its really bad form to say something like this in an interview. Calling her a supermodel is really really bitchy.

  17. Tangueita says:

    First Bay, then Stanhope, now this guy – what a douchefest galore. Need to go and look at a picture of a fluffy kitten right NOW.

  18. Norman Bates' Mother says:

    I’m so disappointed in him. His movie Once is one of my favourites and I was already disappointed when he decided to go the Hollywood route in the first place. He chose to hire Adam Levine to do the acting! And Keira who never sang before to play a singer-songwriter! It’s his fault that the whole project was not what he imagined. I’m not the biggest fan of Keira’s acting, but she’s not a supermodel who pretends to act either and it’s incredibly unprofessional of him to talk about her like that. And sexist.

    Also, I don’t get what he’s blabbering about in the last quote – Once was wonderful, but its charm was based on the fact that both Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are not proper actors but actual singer-songwriters. Hansard was good but Irglova’s acting was bad to say the least and no one pretended it was anything but that. They played dramatized versions of themelves and it worked just fine, because the songs – so beautifully written and performed, were the strenght of the film. Maybe he should just stick to amateurs – that’s why he thinks Levine was better than Keira and that it’s bad that: “Keira’s thing is to hide who you are”. Isn’t that what’s acting is supposed to be all about? When someone plays themselves, they’re not really acting. Proper actors hide their personalities to give room for character’s personality. If he hired someone who could actually sing and play an instrument, and gave them good songs, the movie would be much better but it’s not on Keira, it’s on him. Good luck in getting blacklisted!

  19. toni says:

    I bet he wanted sex from her and she turned him down. Typical for Hollywood to trash actress while worship the actors. The male entitlement never ends.

    • bluhare says:

      That’s a real stretch. And it’s pretty clear he’s not Hollywood and doesn’t like Hollywood which is probably why he said what he said.

      A better stretch is that he felt he was the star of his set, and she and her entourage, as he put it, indicated otherwise.

  20. Johanna says:

    I assume that he doesn’t want to work with actors again considering all the bridges he’s burning with those statements. Who’d want to work with him now and risking getting slammed afterwards in the press?

  21. LadyJane says:

    Why is he an Irish asshole, just because he told his truth?

    • Adrien says:

      Because he knew that Keira is a non singer and doesn’t play instruments, proceeded to hire her as acoustic guitar-playing singer songwriter and then be surprised she isn’t musically gifted. Then later dismissed her as a “supermodel” implying she’s only beautiful to look at.

    • LadyJane says:

      Maybe he is a douche. I read the entire article and he does go really hard at Kiera. I am no Knightly fan and I do think her acting is overrated as steely, jaw clenching stares, but he could have been more diplomatic. I kind of like it when people don’t give a shit though, and just say how they feel, it is a rare trait these days. People are entitled to their own opinion, and he is voicing his here. But if he was black would you call him a ‘black asshole’? I am not sure why his ethnicity relevant in this context. (My original comment above referred to the original edit of the CB article which ended with the words ‘Irish a-hole directors’ – which has now been changed).

      • lucky says:

        Yeah, I think it’s refreshing to hear an authentic opinion. I think he was impatient with KK’s process and felt that it interfered with his own process, which is more than fair for a director to talk about. He just didn’t sugarcoat it. I can imagine there was a great deal of pressure on him to produce something extraordinary. Let him express himself, it’s important to.

    • bluhare says:

      I agree. Assholery is multi ethnic.

    • Lurker says:

      Yeah, I have to say, I read that sentence a dozen times, thinking “should I be offended…?”

      Take out Irish, and put in any other nationality, or group, and see if it sounds okay. It doesn’t, right? It’s not just me?

      Edit: Kaiser has taken out Irish, I didn’t see that. Didnt say sorry or anything, but hey, a win is a win.

  22. Mimz says:

    Oh. I didn’t know it didn’t do well. I liked the movie, a lot actually. It’s one of those to rewatch for a pick-me-up.
    He sounds like he’s pissed off that he didn’t get the big break he wanted when he crossed over to hollywood.

  23. SusanneToo says:

    I haven’t watched Begin Again, but I loved Sing Street. Loved the unknown to me actors.

  24. lilacflowers says:

    I really enjoyed the film and Keira in it. It never struck me as a BIG Hollywood movie but something smaller. And I thought the point of Keira’s character was that she wasn’t the big rock star character but the quiet writing talent behind the rock star character who did her wrong.

    This director is being extremely unprofessional, in addition to be a sexist jerk.

    • Timbuktu says:

      Exactly! She wasn’t SUPPOSED to be much of a singer, just able to carry a tune to “sell” it to a singer, so maybe she was supposed to be good with a guitar, but not with singing, and she did fine, by the way, won’t win the Voice any time soon, but she sounded very nice.

      It’s a weird thing to complain about, and a weird movie to complain about: it was well-received and, apparently, made money, too.

      For all those dissing Keira: I LOVED her in “The other night” (or something along those lines). I thought it was one of the most nuanced movies I’ve ever seen and she was perfect in it.

  25. Salsgal says:

    Guy sounds like a cee you. Hey I downloaded the Keira version of the song from that movie not the Adam Levine version so there.

  26. Adrien says:

    Of course she cast Keira because she is known for her great singing voice and guitar playing skills.

  27. Misogyny says:

    Guess what Mr Sexist Director. The plot of your own movie was about a woman who was more of a writer than a performer. Yet she found her voice. Like she wasn’t supposed to be as slick as Adam. What a dumb douche! All your movies are sexist rants where all the woman does is “inspire” the man. Women know your place!!!

  28. Locke Lamora says:

    I love Keira and really enjoy her as an actress.
    Maybe it was a matter of approach to acting? She said she wasn’t “open” – maybe jer style is more tehnical? Anyway, he sounds like a dick.

  29. InvaderTak says:

    The part about entourages is dumb. Like he doesn’t have people working for him. And even the low level actors at the very least have agents. And as if Adam Levine didn’t have people around him while he was there. Fluffalo probably does too. How much more disruptive could KK’s been?

  30. KTE says:

    I enjoyed Begin Again a lot, for all its flaws – which were nothing to do with KK – but this has spoiled it for me.

    The guy is just wrong to say that KK is not a theatre actor – I’ve see her on stage, and she was very good.. It’s true that she’s not a method actor and didn’t train with Stella Adler, but there are different acting methods that are just as valid, and don’t involve that kind of self-analysis. If that is his basis for complaint, then he is both ignorant and a terrible director, as well as a jerk.

  31. OrigialTessa says:

    That’s right, asshole, blame the actress for the failure of YOUR movie. Does your penis feel bigger now? No? Jerk.

    • Jayna says:

      Again, for a small movie, it didn’t fail at all. It made a very healthy profit. $8 million to make, with a profit of $63.5 million. Go compare it to other $8 million movies and their profit. They would die to have this kind of profit.

      • OrigialTessa says:

        A movie’s success isn’t only judged by how much money it makes, especially by an indie director. Critical acclaim is a lot more important.

      • Jayna says:

        @OriginalTessa, it got a great score of 82 percent on Rotten Tomatoes by critics and by the audience 81 percent. So overall it was a critical success, even if not acclaimed as brilliant, and a commercial success. With all these other movies lately getting such low RT scores, the critics seemed to like Begin Again.

      • OrigialTessa says:

        Read his words, Jayna. He wasn’t happy with the movie. His criteria for failure is irrelevant. He believes it wasn’t any good, and he blames Keira. Throwing statistics at the wall doesn’t make the director believe he made a good or successful film.

      • Jayna says:

        Good point, @Original Tessa. Too bad he never looks in the mirror, but throws the blame elsewhere. Plus, he could have critiqued Keira as not right for the part because he wanted a singer/musician without going at her with such a vengeance cutting her down from every angle. Very unprofessional.

      • OrigialTessa says:

        So true. Saying I cast the wrong girl is one thing, but he took it to another level and really insulted her, basically blaming her performance for his dislike of the film. Could have left sleeping dogs lie and no one would have been the wiser. For many people it is a sweet and enjoyable film.

  32. Tig says:

    The trailer for Sing Street was a mess. And agree- he really mined the “guys form bands to get girls” trope. I enjoyed Begin Again, and I enjoyed her singing voice. I felt it fit the songs. I for one do go see movies she’s in- thought she was great in the movie with Bendict C- their last scene together was so touching. Maybe he and Micheal Bay should work together?

  33. LadyJane says:

    sorry duplicate comment

  34. Jayna says:

    I think he called out Adam as a joy to work with for one reason. Adam came on as a novice and was probably at his feet listening to everything he had to say as far as direction. He was there to learn. He seems to call out Keira as someone he could never get to, which I find probably exaggerated. Who is going to hide from their director? Well, unless after a while she couldn’t stand him and his attitude towards her, and she was just trying to get through it. LOL

  35. Mrs. Darcy says:

    What a jerk! I thought Keira was lovely in Begin Again, really vulnerable and totally believable as a fledgling singer songwriter – the whole point of the film was that she was just supporting her b.f., who dumped her (Adam Levine is so cringe to me I almost didn’t watch this, I would much rather see an actor who can sing a little bit than a singer who thinks he’s an actor personally), and her character started writing songs about it, was very shy about performing actually – it wasn’t like they made her out to be the next Adele or anything. I actually really thought the film was sweet and the half hearted ending let it down (he should have got Keira’s character and Mark Ruffalo’s together, so imo it failed because of the writing and directing being a bit weak not the performances!). He sounds like a perfectionist douche-wad, I hope Keira tells him to stuff it.

    • Jayna says:

      I thought Adam did a really good job in the movie. I agree that Keira was very vulnerable and believable. I really liked her in it. I loved Marc’s character a lot.

      The only person who was a letdown in the movie, which was a total surprise to me, was Catherine Keener. She had a small part, but she was so lackluster. And her decision to always have her hair in her face was odd. For someone who is a good actor, she brought nothing to her part.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        I love Catherine Keener too, and I agree her part was the weakest by far (not sure that is all her fault though, she wasn’t given much to do). My cringe for Adam Levine is so so deep that I just about tolerated him in this, which must mean he was ok I admit! Like he didn’t drive me as nuts as Timberlake’s “acting” ;-0 But I still wasn’t remotely shocked when his character quickly became a d-bag, I did not buy him as the sensitive geek for one minute! ;-)

  36. mkyarwood says:

    I thought she was great in Atonement, and good most of the time in P&P. She was a good drunk in that movie with Sam Rockwell… I think she could benefit from some theatre time.

  37. Rocío says:

    Another director badmouthing his actress… what’s wrong with man?! KK may not be the best actress out there but she’s always committed to her roles.

  38. lucky says:

    …he’s a talented director who can create great work. Hollywood can be ridiculous. He’s supposed to have an opinion. Everyone is fine, including Keira. Much ado about not much.

    • Maxime DuCamp says:

      @lucky, what you are saying would be true if this were the only time a man in the film world had been dismissive about a woman. If you haven’t heard about the inequities and general misogeny on set, then you’ve been living under a rock. It’s death by a thousand papercuts and we’re all kind of tired of bleeding out.

  39. extracookie says:

    What a classy guy! It’s opposite day, really. Adam Levine was easy going and down to earth? Eh. No.

    Keira is not a great actress but she’s certainly not Gise Bündchen-bad. She’s also not a great singer but that was not her character anyway. She’s supposed to be reluctant and shy when it comes to performing. I don’t care if he was forced to hire her you just don’t talk about your actors like that afterwards. It’s not like she ate kittens for breakfast.
    Sounds to me like the real diva is him.

  40. Miss M says:

    I saw Begin again and I liked it. It seems he doesn’t know what acting means… Her character was a song writer, not the singer. Adam Levine’s character was…
    Calling her a super model?! lol… Way to sh!t on an actress who is known to be pleasant and professional to many directors.
    If he wants to direct movies about musicians, make sure he says he wants actors to learn the instrument or hire musicians that cannot act and focus only in the music, I suppose… The movie was a success critically and commercially. I really don’t understand why he is so bitter about Keira and about his Hollywood experience. Weird…

    edit: And when calling supermodel is used to offend someone?! It is not easy to be a supermodel… No wonder we are in shortage of Supermodels these days…

    • Saraya says:

      “It seems he doesn’t know what acting means…”

      Whereas you are the second coming of Lee Strasberg, right?

      Considering how well-reviewed his films are, it would seem he knows plenty about every aspect of filmmaking.

      • Miss M says:

        Saraya, You need to learn how to have a dialogue without being (passive) aggressive. I was talking about how he described what acting is…and I completely agree with what Norman Bates’ Mother wrote on that regard. Thankfully I am not an actress, if I were I would not work with an unprofessional director like him. Nice day!

  41. Gretchen says:

    Well you know what they say, it’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools, and it’s a misogynist ass of a director that blames his lead actress.

  42. manta says:

    After enduring her performance in Anna Karenina I tend to agree with him, especially what he’s trying to say about a certain level of honesty and self analysis. She didn’t project anything in that (didn’t help that she didn’t have an ounce of chemistry with the bland guy playing Vronsky).
    That said, I found Begin again was actually one of her good ones. She was ok in Atonement, Never let me go and the film with Guillaume Canet and Eva Mendes.
    He could have been a little bit less blunt though.

  43. Jayna says:

    He seems obsessed with making digs at Keira in that full interview, continually coming back to her, even when complimented on his newest movie he was promoting. That’s what is so bizarre and unprofessional.

    “Sing Street, a coming-of-age film set in the 1980s that features a cast of unknowns, has earned a 97 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Of the positive reviews, Carney said: “It’s fantastic. I’m very surprised; it’s a small personal movie with no Keira Knightleys in it. It’s really rewarding.”

    ” 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 have never seen Keira act like a movie star, and I think she’s paid her dues. Now,he may not appreciate her acting, but she’s far from a no-talent movie star. She’s always been low key in the world of film-making, not out there trying to be a famous movie star like a Tom Cruise just aiming for big budget, huge box office movies. Choosing to act in this small budget movie proves my point.

    He just kept going out of his way to insult her , like with the Supermodel dig.

    • Dara says:

      Sing Street had me intrigued, I had just added it to my “want to see” list. And now I have absolutely no desire to see it. The director (what’s his name again?) can suck it as far as I’m concerned.

      It’s not even that he bashed Keira – it’s that chose to say those things about anyone who worked on one of his films. He could had said the same things about Adam Levine and I would think he is the most egotistical, diva-like director out there. It’s the very definition of unprofessional.

    • sesame says:

      What a pretentious and condescending twat, this man! It’s actually not the only interview where he slags her unprovokedly. He all but namechecks her in a Den of Geek interview from last week:

      “Question (about Sing Street): That presumably stretches through to the casting, and crucially how you interact with them how they come together. I think you did open casting. From the outside looking in, I wonder – given you have people less experienced on being on a film set – do you get fearlessness in what they’ll push back to you on, or are they in awe of it all?

      Carney: I know what you mean. I think a lot of this film, and the reason to make it, came from the experience of working, let’s face it, with a model on my last film. And trying to get somebody to think like an actor who wasn’t an actor per se. I found that frustrating, and a lot of time was wasted trying to get somebody to flex a muscle that they just didn’t have.

      So I really felt when I made that film, working with Mark Ruffallo, who’s a real tried and tested proper theatre actor, and really trained. People like Yasiin Bey, proper theatre actors who were into the craft of film making. That was a joy. But there was a certain feeling from that film that left me wanting to go back to people who believe in the magic of cinema. Again, it sounds a little hippy-ish, but there is magic to it. You’ll find good actors are entranced by when the camera turns over. There’s a belief in that idea of the film running past the shutter, the projection of light back onto this chemical, scientific frame of film. You project that onto a dark screen in a room. There’s something magical there. A Victorian magic show feel to a film, and good actors I think really believe in that. Kids really believe in that too.”

  44. Colleen says:

    I find it noteworthy that his very first response of the interview to the very first question about the reaction to the latest film is a slam against KK.

    He definitely realized at the end his lack of respect and professionalism by his ridiculous comment about not rubbishing KK, which I think makes him a complete whiny ass. Own up to your shade, chicken $hi!

    She’s not a remarkable actress to me but for her roles in period pieces, but even I could see that KK wasn’t the main problem with his film.

  45. M.A.F. says:

    He lost me when he called Adam Levine a proper actor. HA.

  46. Bee says:

    What an unprofessional creep. Interesting that the only person he criticized was the woman in the project.

  47. Pipsqueak says:

    OMG this is the first time I’m commenting– Keira is a GREAT actress. This is so obviously sexist. Some people are just constitutionally unable to view attractive women as talented at anything– hence the supermodel comments. You also see it with Scarlett Johansson. Her first Oscar-nominated role was one where she was just a voice. First time people were able to see that she’s good.

  48. SM says:

    He is a complete asshole. So unprofessional. It’s probably better this way – he really should go back to making whatever he was making before that also no one gives a crap about (or about him for that matter) so we never hear his opinions again.

  49. Dara says:

    He worked with KK four years ago, but felt the need to whine about her in the first sentence of an interview he was doing about a different film – then mentioned her again another five times without even being prompted to do so. WTF.

    His rant really only accomplished one thing – it gave him an out for not succeeding outside his own tiny little insular world. Now when no one hires him for their big-budget Hollywood film it won’t be because he just can’t hack it – it will be because he is being “punished for speaking the truth” or the other “supermodels with entourages” aren’t brave enough to handle his unvarnished genius. Yeah, right. And going back to smaller independent films with no big-name actors was his choice.

  50. Amanda G says:

    I don’t think she’s a great actress and I think he has a right to not like her entourage, but to reduce her to a “supermodel” and then praise her male co-stars was rude and unprofessional.

  51. Samtha says:

    I love Lainey’s take on this. It’s worth a read.

  52. Dial Side says:

    Oh, please, Carney. One of the reasons Begin Again failed was because you positioned the lead character as some voice of pure musical truth in a world of over-produced garbage . . . And then you wrote her songs that sounded and were produced like tracks on a Starbucks CD or a yogurt commercial.

    Sing Street was a f-king mess. So many cliches, a girl who exists just for the guy to win (and has the exact cliche sad story you’d expect so the man character can “become a man” and rescue her), characters who appear and then disappear and then only appear again at the very end, plots without resolution, a children’s band that sounds like a set of adult professional musicians with access to 2016′s best production equipment, a token black kid who’s only there for a “token black kid” joke, inaccurate 1980s music history, etc. My husband and I laughed at the script the whole way home.

    Kiera may not be a great actress, but you’re no writer.

  53. Boo says:

    He’s unprofessional to be speaking about this publicly. Also what a terrible thing to do to any actress in public or private. I don’t like this man. As Cate Blanchett said “that’s just his opinion”.

    I loved this little movie and surprised it didn’t become a hit. Maybe it wasn’t promoted well enough? Everyone in it was enjoyable to me.

    Acting seems a big joke on society anyway and I can’t often spot good from bad. I mean someone has to be really really bad for me to catch it. Acting is an overpaid job with ridiculous perks but Keira is enjoyable to me and I thought she did great in this.

  54. Cheryl says:

    The movie did well, in the box office and with critics.

  55. msd says:

    “I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but … ” You just did, mate. Meowwww. I’m sure if the film had made lots of money he would have said nice things about her and he’d still be making films in America. How someone handles failure says a lot about them; his approach is to blame someone else.

    And I’m not even a fan of hers.

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  57. Anon says:

    What an asshole. I’ve never heard anything bad about Keira Knightley. Her directors and co-stars have always raved about her talent and professionalism. I think this guy considers himself to be a true artist, and doesn’t like/get the commercial aspect of making films.

  58. mary s says:

    The movie was okay, not great, just okay. And Adam Levine was terrible. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, the whole movie was kind of dumb. That montage of the band playing on the roof? How about the random kids singing back-up? The token cool black rapper friend? Bleh.

  59. Brasileira says:

    Every single word out of his mouth spells “whiny a**hole”.

  60. Trashaddict says:

    My attitude is this: John who?

  61. Qzie says:

    BTW, rent Begin Again if you haven’t seen it. Agree with others, it was lovely and Keira and Mark gave lovely, powerfully nuanced performances (well, the whole cast really–loved Adam Levine here too, everyone was great). Keira’s tentative approach to performance was dead on for the character, who never really wanted center stage–until she did.

    It’s a surprisingly engaging and watchable movie–and IMHO–better than Once.