shady as an oak tree

Following Begin Again’s Director Shading Keira Knightley Nine Ways to Sunday, Other Directors Come to Knightley’s Defense

2014 Tribeca Film Festival - Closing Night Gala Premiere Of
Knightley and Carney. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

A lot of people suffer the fate of being their own worst critic, but Keira Knightley is one of the lucky few who doesn’t — she’s got her Begin Again director John Carney for that job! Knightley starred as an indie musician in the film, singing and playing her own instruments, but Carney didn’t find the performance authentic. Speaking with The Independent, Carney explained: “It’s not like I hate the Hollywood thing but I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars … 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.” As if Carney’s own “certain level of honesty” wasn’t injury enough, Carney tacked on some more insults, suggesting that Knightley didn’t live up to co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Maroon 5 front-man Adam Levine, the latter of whom Carney called “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.” He also added: “Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

Carney says that after Begin Again, “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again,” apparently finding only incidental relevance in the fact that Knightley is not and has never been a supermodel. In spite of Carney’s blistering, shall we say, consideration of Knightley, he insists, “I don’t want to rubbish Keira.” Wow, imagine if he had; he might’ve said something belittling and dismissive. Shake it off, Keira. To some of us, you are perfect.

Update: In light of Carney’s criticism, three directors who have worked with Knightley have come forward on social media to defend the actress. Mark Romanek, Lorene Scafaria, and Lynn Shelton — who respectively directed Knightley in Never Let Me Go, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and Laggies — all took to Twitter to opine on her talent and on-set behavior, contradicting Carney.

Knightley and her reps have yet to respond to Carney’s comments.

Directors Voice Support for Keira Knightley