Director John Carney has changed his tune and issued a public apology for criticizing Keira Knightley’s acting in his 2014 musical drama Begin Again.
“I said a number of things about Keira which were petty, mean and hurtful,” Carney said in a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday. The statement was addressed, “From a director who feels like a complete idiot.”
Carney continued, “I’m ashamed of myself that I could say such things and I’ve been trying to account for what they say about me. In trying to pick holes in my own work, I ended up blaming someone else. That’s not only bad directing, that’s shoddy behaviour, that I am not in any way proud of.”
The Irish filmmaker had previously disparaged Knightley’s acting and dedication during an interview with the Independent that was published over the weekend. Among other things, Carney said Knightley “has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done,” and he also vowed to “never make a film with supermodels again.”
In response to Carney’s initial remarks, directors Mark Romanek, Lynn Shelton, and Lorene Scafaria — all of whom have worked with Knightley before — tweeted in defense of Knightley’s work and character.
In Carney’s mea culpa, he agreed that the actress “was nothing but professional and dedicated during that film and she contributed hugely to its success.”
Carney also said he apologized to Knightley personally but wanted to extend his apology to her fans and friends. Read his full statement below.