John Carney Apologizes for Slamming Keira Knightley

John Carney Keira Knightley
Rex Shutterstock

Director John Carney has apologized for publicly criticizing Keira Knightley’s acting in his film “Begin Again,” calling his own comments “petty, mean and hurtful.”

“Recently, in a phone interview, the conversation turned to a discussion about a past film, ‘Begin Again,’ starring Kiera (sic) Knightley,” he wrote. “I said a number of things about Keira which were petty, mean and hurtful. I’m ashamed of myself that I could say such things and I’ve been trying to account for what they say about me. In trying to pick holes in my own work, I ended up blaming someone else. That’s not only bad directing, that’s shoddy behaviour, that I am not in any way proud of. It’s arrogant and disrespectful. Keira was nothing but professional and dedicated during that film and she contributed hugely to its success. I wrote to Keira personally to apologise, but I wanted to publicly, and unreservedly apologise to her fans and friends and anyone else who I have offended. It’s not something that I could ever justify, and will never repeat.”

In an interview with the Independent published this past weekend, Carney slammed Knightley’s work on the movie, saying “I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

“It’s not like I hate the Hollywood thing, but I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars,” he said in the interview, promoting his new movie “Sing Street.” “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.”

Carney praised her co-stars in the 2013 movie, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine, and said “Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

Since the interview was published, a number of directors came to Knightley’s defense. Mark Romanek, who directed Knightley in “Never Let Me Go,” tweeted that the actress “was utterly spectacular on every level.” “I have no clue what this guy is talking about,” he added, along with the hashtag “#ArrogantS—head.” Ava DuVernay also tweeted a scolding at Carney, writing, “There are actors that directors won’t call again for whatever reason. But don’t disparage them in the press. C’mon.”

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  1. jvshr says:

    I honestly think John Carney had a very specific, narrowed expectation for KK’s role. I could totally see where he’s coming from, after seeing Once where the main actress delivered her role with such rawness and authenticity partnered with Glen Hansard. I think Kiera did a great job for the role. Only thing is as a director, you see and hear things in your head and you want those to match with the product. And for Carney, it was not met. But oh well, he apologized professionally and realized his mistakes.

  2. smith says:

    I’m guessing he had one too many belts off the hip flask before the interview

  3. Ken says:

    To Ms. Knightley: I was enthralled with your ‘Anna Karenina’. You are a star. ‘Nuff said.

  4. John Pain says:

    Carney has written and directed some terrible films. Knightley has been working in the industry a little longer than he.

  5. Noel O'Neill says:

    Why do directors have so much to say to the press? Just shut up do your job and go home! When did you become the celebrity?

  6. Catadromy says:

    So, she wouldn’t sleep with him, then? Being nominated multiple times for acting awards, including Oscar and BAFTA speaks to Keira Knightley’s acting abilities. If he didn’t get the performance from her that he wanted, that says more about him as a director than it does about her as an actor.

    Adam Levine as an actor? The mind reels.

  7. TM says:

    He meant to say, “Other bigger, more talented, and vastly more accomplished directors are giving me shit. So my publicist asked me to draft this up.”

  8. Ben says:

    Poor John Carney…He only said what he was thinking…
    A dangerous thing to do these days in the show biz ;-)

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