Keira Knightley On Singing: "It Was Terrifying"


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We all know that Keira Knightley can act. But until recently, most people did not know that she could sing. In fact, Knightley didn't even really know that she could carry a tune. The 29-year-old actress gets to show off her singing chops in the film Begin Again, where she plays an aspiring singer-songwriter in New York City.

Knightley was not exactly confident in her ability to sing well enough to play the lead in a major motion picture about a singer, "When I signed up for the film it was really the script that drew me and I didn’t think too much about the singing aspect for some odd reason." She added, "Then when I was confronted with having to do the actual singing I started to become very anxious. Suddenly I found myself in a recording studio with professional music people and I realized I didn’t know what I was doing! It was terrifying!”

The film was directed by John Carney, the man responsible for the successful independent film Once. Adam Levine also stars in the movie. Just like Knightley, the rockstar had to leave his comfort zone for Begin Again, because the Maroon 5 frontman had never acted in a film before.

Knightley is a confident actress, we've seen her range in heavy dramatic films like Atonement, A Dangerous Method, and Pride and Prejudice. When asked if singing was the toughest part of Begin Again, she replied, "I don’t usually have doubts when it comes to approaching the acting side of things although I do get stressed just before shooting starts, but the singing was something for some reason I didn’t really think about until we got very close to the start." Knightley added, "I didn’t anticipate being as frightened as I was. When I accepted to do the film, for some odd reason I didn’t really consider the singing aspect and suddenly when you’re confronted with that you begin to have some serious anxiety! It’s not at all the same as singing in the shower – surprise, surprise!"

One thing that helped to aid Knightley's confidence was that she knew that she didn't have to sing like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey. The character that she plays, Greta, is not a power ballad voice, "I knew though that in terms of the character I was playing she was more of a songwriter and folk singer and John (director Carney) wasn’t looking for a voice that was going to carry a musical. I know I don’t have that, but I think you can kind of get away with a lot more in folk music. So we were kind of going for a talky-songy type vibe that we thought might be quite cool for the character. I’m definitely not a singer but I think I’m good enough to fake it!"

You can go see for yourself how well Knightley can carry a tune. Begin Again is currently playing in select theaters nationwide.

Image via Begin Again, Twitter