Keira Knightley humbly insists she’s not a singer, but John Carney — the former bassist for the Frames who went on to direct the beloved musical romance Once — would never have cast a lead actress in Begin Again who couldn’t carry a tune.
In the new musical, Knightley plays Gretta, a heartbroken Brit stranded in New York after her hipster musician boyfriend (Adam Levine) gets rich and famous and cheats on her. Running on empty, she funnels her despair into one last sad song, a beautifully sung elegy that enchants Mark Ruffalo’s Dan, a washed-up music exec on the brink of personal disaster. Together, they try to answer the question that doubled as the film’s title when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival: Can a song save your life?
In an exclusive featurette for the movie, which opens June 27 limited before expanding on July 11, Knightley explains why she needed a hopeful role like Gretta after five years of grim movies. The clip features the all-star cast — count ’em, four Oscar nominees — but it’s the music that stands out most. Watch and listen below: