In an interview in The Independent, some director I’ve never heard of (John Carney) made snarky comments about an actress I have heard of (Keira Knightley). (The last thing I saw the actress in was Bend It Like Beckham, an indication that I don’t get out much.) The interviewer wasn’t trying to stir things up; the director just kept volunteering how much he hated Keira Knightley.
The very first question noted that the director’s newest film has gotten great reviews, and lobbed the gentle query, “How do you feel?” The answer: “Well, it’s fantastic. I’m very surprised; it’s a small personal movie with no Keira Knightleys in it. It’s really rewarding.” WAIT, WHAT? NOT NICE, FELLA.
Later, the interviewer asked him whether it was important to him, as an Irishman, that the new film was made in Ireland. Again: Softball question. The response:
I had just come back from making this far bigger movie in America and I was a bit disenchanted with working with certain movie stars in that movie and I wanted a break…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. I think 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. And I think the audience struggled a little bit with that in Begin Again. And as much as I tried to make it work I think that she didn’t quite come out as a guitar-playing singer-songwriter. So I really wanted to work with musicians and actors that could play their instruments properly and sing and stuff like that.
DUDE. Were you raised in a barn? Why would you say this mean, mean stuff? Did Kiera Knightley poop on your birthday cake?
And again, the reporter does not follow up by salivating and then going for the jugular. He mildly observes, “So you learned a lot from making that film.” And again, the director just grabs that petard and HOISTS.
Yeah, I did. I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.
Mark Ruffalo is a fantastic actor and Adam Levine is a joy to work with and actually quite unpretentious and not a bit scared of exposing himself on camera and exploring who he is as an individual. I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that…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.
OK, even I know that Keira Knightley is not now nor has she ever been a supermodel. I am also aware that Adam Levine is not a bit scared of exposing himself on camera, completely and utterly, particularly when one of his many supermodel girlfriends is cupping his genitalia. (Google it. No, you may not have a link.) Anyway, the whole rant is unprofessional and hateful. And given the praise the director heaps on males throughout the interview, dismissing the ONE female performer he mentions as a “supermodel” and fame whore is icky.
BUT NOW THE APOLOGY! It is good!
From a director who feels like a complete idiot. pic.twitter.com/vfO8m4U2Hl
— John Carney (@jayceefactory) June 1, 2016
It takes ownership. It does not claim “I was misquoted”; it does not use the phrase “taken out of context.” (Which never works, btw. Don’t ever say this. There is no context in which you can try to provide context while apologizing for being taken out of context that does not make you look like a responsibility-shirking schmuckweasel.) It offers no excuses. It mentions the apologizer’s feelings (“I’m ashamed of myself”) but doesn’t make it ALL ABOUT HIM. It’s about his behavior, and the suckage thereof.
Finally, apologizing personally AND publicly — which the director says he did — is important, and not just for celebrities. The normal-person equivalent here is apologizing to the person you wronged AND to the people affected by your act of loserishness. If you took credit for someone else’s work, apologize to them and to your coworkers. If you promised to deliver a fellow parent’s cupcakes to the PTA bake sale and forgot to pick them up on the way to school, apologize to the friend and to the bake sale staff and to all the sad children who will go to bed without cupcakes. (Work with me here.)
To conclude: Horrid series of statements. Good apology. Better than a good apology would have been to keep his mouth shut in the first place.