If you’re the inspiration for the #arrogantshithead hashtag, you’ve probably done something wrong. And Begin Again writer and director John Carney certainly did something wrong when he told the Telegraph that “I’ll never make a film with supermodels again,” a bitter reference to the film’s star, Keira Knightley. He later added that she “has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done,” and “the real problem was that Keira wasn’t a singer and wasn’t a guitar player and it’s very hard to make music seem real if it’s not with musicians.” A good director would find someone who is a good singer or guitar player, or if they’re unconvincing, coax a credible performance out of the actor. Sandra Bullock isn’t an astronaut, but she was still nominated for an Oscar for Gravity.
After Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted, “There are actors that directors won’t call again for whatever reason. But don’t disparage them in the press. C’mon,” Carney apologized for his “idiot” comments.
Recently, in a phone interview, the conversation turned to a discussion about a past film, Begin Again, starring Kiera Knightley. 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.
Now let us never speak of this “controversy” again. Instead, let’s use this as a learning experience: when you’re saying sorry to someone, you should probably spell their name right.
From a director who feels like a complete idiot. pic.twitter.com/vfO8m4U2Hl
— John Carney (@jayceefactory) June 1, 2016