In the annals of actresses who sing, you’ve got ingenues like Anne Hathaway and Anna Kendrick, who’ve made singing onscreen a key part of their repertoire; and then you’ve got the ones who surprise you, who one day bust out some singing chops you didn’t think they had. File into that latter camp Keira Knightley, who’s been athletic, romantic, and comic onscreen before, but has never had a role quite like her lead in Begin Again, which requires her to sing a whole soundtrack’s worth of winsome pop songs. How’d she do? Decide for yourself: Vulture is premiering the lyric video for Knightley’s take on “Lost Stars,” the movie’s signature pop power-ballad.
In the movie (opening this Friday in New York and L.A. before a nationwide expansion July 2), Knightley plays Greta, a sometime-songwriter who’s finally moved to take to the microphone herself after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine), an indie rocker whose career is suddenly surging. (Levine works nicely as Knightley’s opposite number: If you’re surprised that she can sing so well, you may also be caught off-guard by how natural he is as an actor.) Mark Ruffalo’s down-on-his-luck A&R man happens to hear Greta singing in a teeny-tiny New York City bar and is moved to produce her first album, a collection of songs that’s actually co-written in large part by Begin Again’s director, John Carney, who also helmed the sparkling indie musical Once.
The movie’s soundtrack album will be released July 1 through ALXNDR/222/Polydor and Interscope Records, but consider this lyric video a sneak preview; it’s Knightley’s more gentle, grounded take on a song that also gets an anthemic stadium version by Levine late in the film. Enjoy!