“I suddenly realized I’d pretty much died in everything that I’d done for the past five years,” says Keira Knightley of why she decided to take on the uplifting musical drama Begin Again in a new clip. “And I thought I’d really like to do something where I either don’t have to go through some emotional turmoil or die. I found this incredibly hopeful.”
Though the actress isn’t known for her singing roles, the clip (which Entertainment Weekly exclusively premiered earlier today) gives us an earful of her performing on stage, and it turns out that Knightley really knows how to carry a tune. In the film, from Once helmer John Carney, she plays Gretta, a British singer stranded and heartbroken in New York City after her boyfriend (Adam Levine) gets his big break and promptly cheats on her. In an attempt to find meaning in her pain, she funnels all her anger and melancholy into a beautiful song, which Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a washed-up record exec whose life is falling apart around him, hears live. Gretta and Dan become linked as they experience the healing powers of music.
Knightley alone would be enough to get Begin Again (previously titled Can A Song Save Your Life?) onto my watchlist, but the film also stars Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld and Catherine Keener, along with talented singers like Mos Def and Cee Lo Green, and actors like James Corden and Aya Cash. It looks like an inspirational, strongly acted musical complete with some real toe-tappers, so I’m excited to finally see the film. It’s been doing the rounds on the festival circuit since its premiere at TIFF last September, with screenings at Tribeca, San Francisco and Seattle, and buzz has been highly positive.
Begin Again first opens on June 27th and then expands wide on July 11th.