Weinstein Company(NEW YORK) — After premiering at several major film festivals, the new movie Begin Again arrives in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday; it opens nationwide next week. The movie’s premiere was held in New York City Wednesday, and its stars, including Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener and Maroon 5 frontman and Voice coach Adam Levine, all walked the red carpet at the event.
The movie, which has the music industry as its backdrop, casts Knightley as singer/songwriter Gretta and Levine as her boyfriend Dave, also a musician. They move to New York after Dave gets a record deal, but soon, the trappings of fame prove too much of a temptation, and he cheats on Gretta, then dumps her. She’s lonely and dejected, until she’s spotted singing in a club by Dan, a washed-up record executive, played by Ruffalo. He’s convinced the two can make beautiful music together, literally.
Knightley, who does all her own singing in the film, told reporters on the red carpet that being believable as a musician was “the biggest challenge.”
“You know, it’s not how I express myself kind of creatively or emotionally…I don’t really know much about music. I don’t even listen to much music, actually. So I think just kind of getting into the head of somebody who does express themselves like that…was a challenge. I don’t know how I did it!”
While Knightley struggled with how to play a musician, Levine was struggling with how to act, since Begin Again marks his first movie role. Did he give Knightley tips on music, while she gave him acting pointers? Not so much.
“He just sort of said ‘Oh, you’ll be fine,’ and I just sort of said, ‘You’ll be fine’ and that was it,” Knightley told reporters. “And we were both right. I think Adam’s totally lovely and he’s a completely natural performer. So that always helps, and he was great fun to work with.”
The movie’s director, John Carney, the man who brought us that other music-themed film, Once, agrees with Knightley about Levine’s acting skills. “Oh yeah, I think he’s a natural,” Carney said when asked if the singer acquitted himself well in his movie debut. “I think he managed to play that lovely zone between yourself and the part. He brought a lot of himself to the part, but he didn’t let it take over the part in any way. And I think he’s funny and he’s very natural.”
Carney predicted a bright future onscreen for Levine, adding, “I think he’ll just act and act and act in loads of different things.”
British actor James Corden, who plays the best friend of Knightley’s character, raves that Levine was “genuinely brilliant” and “spectacularly good” in Begin Again. But then again, maybe that’s because he’s in love with the singer…sort of. Asked if he had a “man crush” on Levine, Corden laughed, “Of course! Yeah! I mean, what happened, happened — we were both drunk and just, you know, we’ve gotta let it go.” He was joking, of course.
Filmmaker Judd Apatow, who’s either directed, written or produced comedies like Knocked Up, Anchorman, Superbad and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, is one of the producers of Begin Again. On the red carpet, he said that setting a movie within the music industry just lends itself to comedy.
“I mean, it’s an interesting industry because we all love music,” he explained. “We’re all digesting so much music, but also the industry’s crumbling, ’cause no one knows what formats or how to make money..no one owns a hard copy of anything. So it’s kind of inherently comedic because it’s just in flux.”
The soundtrack of Begin Again, featuring Levine, Knightley and Cee Lo Green, who’s also in the film, arrives July 1 on 222 Records, Levine’s own label imprint.
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