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Director John Carney Criticizes Keira Knightley’s Acting in ‘Begin Again’

Often, when a film wraps and directors are asked about working with big actors, it’s all praise. It’s a different story, however, with “Begin Again” director John Carney and Keira Knightley.

Carney, promoting his latest movie “Sing Street,” spoke about working with Knightley in 2013 drama “Begin Again,” saying he wouldn’t like to work with the actress again.

“I’ll never make a film with supermodels again,” he told the Independent in an interview published this weekend.

Knightley has indeed appeared in ad campaigns for big brands like Chanel, as well as on covers of major fashion magazines. She did, though, make a name for herself in acting first, with 1995’s “A Village Affair” marking her first film role.

Knightley played a songwriter dumped by her musician boyfriend, played by Adam Levine, in “Begin Again.” She then embarks on a new path in making music with Mark Ruffalo’s character. Carney had much more favorable memories of working with Levine and Ruffalo than with Knightley.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Carney also claimed that Knightley’s “entourage” made it difficult to “get any real work done,” and stated a difference between working with “proper film actors” and “movie stars.”

“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 added. “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.”

Knightley does have several big acting accomplishments to her name, including multiple Oscar, BAFTA and SAG nominations. Director David Cronenberg praised her performance in his 2011 film “A Dangerous Mind,” telling Film Comment that she was one of the best actresses he’s ever worked with. “She was fantastic,” he said. “We were all just awestruck.”

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