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'Begin Again' featurette: Keira Knightley on singing a happier tune -- EXCLUSIVE

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: READ FULL STORY

'Begin Again' trailer: Keira Knightley loves Adam Levine like a fool -- VIDEO

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Begin Again, the summer musical romance from Once director John Carney, stars Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo as two wounded souls who connect in New York City. But the film also features two original coaches from The Voice, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green. Levine, making his feature-film debut, actually plays a crucial role as Knightley’s boyfriend, a good-looking hipster-folkie who gets blinded by fame and fortune when a few of his songs are used in the soundtrack of a popular movie. Green pops up as a version of himself; he helps Ruffalo’s washed-up music exec in his last-ditch attempt to turn Knightley into a star.

In the film’s new trailer, Levine sings a more radio-friendly version of the tune his girlfriend wrote for him, “Lost Stars.” READ FULL STORY

For Adam Levine and Keira Knightley in 'Begin Again,' love is a song -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Fans of Once, the 2007 musical romance that melted hearts and won an Oscar for Best Song, could be singing a new tune when Once director John Carney unveils Begin Again in July. Set in New York City instead of Dublin, the film features similar lonely souls who find each other through music. Mark Ruffalo plays a washed-up record exec, and Keira Knightley plays the heartbroken songwriter who sniffs at fame but might have the talent to redeem them both. READ FULL STORY

Keira Knightley musical to close Tribeca Film Festival

Once director John Carney’s upcoming musical with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine will close the 13th Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 26. “Begin Again is a true New York story about the magical opportunities that can be found under this great city’s bright lights,” said Carney in a statement. “That said, I can’t think of a better place to have its U.S. premiere than the Tribeca Film Festival.”

Previously titled Can a Song Save Your Life? when it premiered at last fall’s Toronto Film Festival, Begin Again tells the Once-like romance between a washed-up music exec (Ruffalo) and a heartbroken songwriter (Knightley) whose ex (Levine) has just become a spoiled superstar. “The idea of an A&R man discovering an act and what discoveries are left and what does fame sort of mean anymore were some of the themes I wanted to talk about in this movie,” Carney told EW in Toronto. “What I liked about the conflict between Keira and Ruffalo in the film, which I hope people are seeing, is what does an old-school A&R man do with a young talent who genuinely doesn’t want the limelight?”

The film co-stars Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, and CeeLo Green.

The 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival will take place from April 16 to April 27.

Casting Net: Jean Dujardin to work with 'The Wolf of Wall Street.' Plus: Adam Levine, Benicio Del Toro, Dermot Mulroney

Adam Levine, Maroon 5 frontman and sassy judge/mentor on The Voice, is venturing into the world of feature film acting, signing on to star in Can a Song Save Your Life, the next film from Once director John Carney. Levine will play the not-so-nice musician boyfriend to Keira Knightley‘s character. Mark Ruffalo and Hailee Steinfeld costar. [Deadline]

• Benicio Del Toro will play the title role in Jimmy Picard, based on the non-fiction book Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, about a Native American WWII vet who befriends a French psychiatrist (Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Arnaud Desplechin (A Christmas Tale) will direct. [Deadline]

Dermot Mulroney has joined Jobs, the currently filming indie biopic of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher). He’ll play Mike Markkula, one of the earliest investors in the Silicon Valley company. Joshua Michael Ster(Swing Vote) is directing from a script by first-time feature screenwriter Matt Whiteley. [Deadline]

• Judy Greer (The Descendants) and Portia Doubleday (Youth in Revolt) have signed on to director Kimberly Peirce‘s remake of Stephen King’s novel Carrie. Greer will play gym teacher Miss Collins, one of the only characters who’s kind to Carrie White (Chloe Moretz); and Doubleday will play Chris Hargensen, the ringleader of the popular kids who torment Carrie. [Deadline]

Read more:
Casting Net: Charlize Theron to enter ‘Murder Mystery.’ Plus: Bill Paxton, Amy Ryan, Dane DeHaan
Casting Net: Hugh Laurie to battle ‘RoboCop.’ Plus: Lindsay Lohan, John Stamos, Justin Bartha
Casting Net: Chris Hemsworth boarding ‘In the Heart of the Sea.’ Plus: Stephen Colbert, Ray Winstone, Anton Yelchin

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