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Exclusive: Actress Keira Knightley talks new film 'Begin Again'

Actress Keira Knightley attends the New York premiere of the Weinstein company's BEGIN AGAIN, sponsored by Delta Airlines and Budweiser at SVA Theater on June 25, 2014 in New York City
Photo by Stephen Lovekin

The Weinstein Company's latest film "Begin Again," hit theaters in New York, yesterday on June 27, 2014 and had the opportunity to interview its star Keira Knightley who is wonderful in the project. Knightley stunned in a midnight blue Valentino dress at the film's New York premiere at SVA. She joined Director John Carney, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, James Corden, Producers Anthony Bregman, Tobin Armbrust and Judd Apatow at the special event presented by Delta Airlines and Budweiser.

Film Synopsis: Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.

We spoke exclusively with the film's writer and director John Carney, who is also the genius behind Academy Award winner "Once."

What inspired the film?

When I was in a band, I met all these A&R men back in the 90's and the idea was to imagine, where would they be now that the music industry has changed so much and the internet has taken over, so where are those guys now? That's kind of where I started.

Speak about working with Keira.

We pushed each other out of our comfort zones a little bit, which I think is good, healthy ... making a film is a very odd intense period of time and then it's over, you go your separate ways and it's very important to remember during that time that down the line you're gonna being representing this film and standing by it, so you kind of going into a little bit of a magic zone making a film. It's very interesting actually but I'm really glad at how it's turned out.

Next up we spoke with Keira.

What was the biggest challenge of playing a singer/songwriter?

Keira Knightley: I think that was the biggest challenge ... It's not how I express myself kind of creatively or emotionally so it was, 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 creatively and emotionally was a challenge. I don't know how I did it. I just sort of did it really.

Did you and Adam Levine trade tips for acting and singing?

Keira Knightley: No we didn't. He just sort of said "Oh, you'll be fine," and I just sort of said, "Oh, you'll be fine," and that was it 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.

Do you watch Adam's show "The Voice"?

Keira Knightley: No, but he did say that he would turn around if I went on it. I think he's lying, but I appreciated it.

How does it feel to actually have an album out? The film's soundtrack is on iTunes.

Keira Knightley: I know! Isn't that exciting?

What took you most out of your comfort zone on the film?

Keira Knightley: Improvisation. John threw the script out 5 days before we started shooting and said we were going to improvise the whole thing. I'd never improvised before!

Is the film entirely improvised?

Keira Knightley: It's not actually, we then went back, we used kind of the structure of the script ... but a lot of is improvised.

Speak about working with Adam Levine?

Keira Knightley: He's a wonderful actor, this is his first film, he's a lovely man, he' s a natural performer and he's very very good, so that was just lucky.

Speak about filming in New York.

Keira Knightley: I love New York, and I think that this film is very much a love song to New York so I think just sort of being in and amongst the bustle of the whole city and feeling the vibe of it is always exciting.

You have a funny scene with Cee Lo Green in the film. Talk about working with him.

Keira Knightley: He was lovely as well, a really lovely man and really up for being a part of this and just very funny and great, so we were very lucky.

What do you admire about John Carney as a filmmaker?

Keira Knightley: I think he creates things that are actually feel good without being sickly sweet I think that's an incredible achievement and there's a very unique charm to his work.

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