"Arrogant s***head" - Directors backing Keira Knightley over director John Carney's comments

The 'Sing Street' director trashed Knightley in an interview, saying she lacks a "certain level of honesty and self-analysis"

Keira Knightley, John Carney, Begin Again, Sing Street, Romanek, Lynn Shelton, Scafaria

Actresses Hailee Steinfeld, from left, Keira Knightley, director John Carney and actor-musician Adam Levine at the premiere of

Irish filmmaker John Carney has come in for considerable criticism after he made a number of disparaging comments about British actress Keira Knightley, with a number of other directors with whom the actress has worked adding their support to her. Carney, who directed Knightley in the 2014 release Begin Again, said of the two-time Oscar nominee that he would “never make a film with supermodels again.”

During an interview with the British newspaper The Independent, the Sing Street director described feeling a “bit disenchanted with working with certain movie stars” after making Begin Again. The film, which stars Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, James Corden, and Adam Levine, arguably the biggest name cast the Irish director has worked with in his critically-acclaimed indie career.

Praising Ruffalo and Levine, Carney said that working with Knightley was difficult, singling her out as not being a capable guitar player to take on the role of Gretta James, a singer-songwriter discovered by a former record executive in New York.

"The movie star world is not something that ever appealed to me,” Carney said. “I like working with actors and I wanted to come back to what I knew and enjoy film-making again - not that I didn't enjoy Begin Again but Keira has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it's very hard to get any real work done, and so I was very ready to come back to Ireland and make films that nobody cared about who was in it or any of that crap."

He added: "So it's not like I hate the Hollywood thing but I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars. 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."

But since the interview was released, a number of other directors who have worked with Knightley have challenged the Once director’s comments, championing the British movie star. Mark Romanek, who directed her in Never Let Me Go described Carney as an “arrogant shithead,” while Seeking a Friend for the End of the World writer-director Lorene Scafaria said Knightley was “a joy to work” with.

Keira Knightley is currently linked to next star in biopics of Russian empress Catherine the Great and French novelist Colette. Carney has been linked to Russ & Roger Go Beyond, telling the story of how American film critic Roger Ebert and b-movie director Russ Meyer made Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The film is set to star Will Ferrell and Josh Gad.

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