A while back, I reported on filming a very brief scene with Mark Ruffalo for John Carney’s new independent feature film. The film was titled Can a Song Save Your Life? back then, and when it was shown at the Toronto Film Festival in Fall 2013, the Weinstein company fought for and won the right to distribute the film in the U.S.. They also renamed it Begin Again.
Whenever it plays at a theatre near you, I hope you’ll check it out. Even if I wasn’t in it, I’d still love it. Mr. Carney is such a good writer and director–so generous to his actors, so good at letting them live in the little details of the moment. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, James Condon, Catherine Keener, and a lot more wonderful people. Their performances are all absolutely lovely: simple, honest, revealing. Mr. Ruffalo outdoes himself; he is painfully human and you can’t take your eyes off him. As with Mr. Carney’s hit film Once, the healing power of music is a major theme, and the songs sung by Ms. Knightly and Mr. Levine are really catchy.
My one little scene is with Mr. Ruffalo, who was a blast on set — kind, funny, and eager to improvise with me. John Carney was equally easygoing, super nice, and open to playing with his lovely script. What a great shoot. We only did three takes, and I’m so glad one of them made it into the final cut of the film. I sure hope I get to work with these guys again.
My brief scene is early in the film, on the subway. I play a preacher (the character’s name in the credits is “Christian Father”) who gives Mr. Ruffalo some surprisingly helpful advice. I’m so thrilled that Mr. Carney kept some of the “preacher speech” I improvised as a voiceover leading into my scene. If you see the film, post a comment here or on Facebook to let me know what you thought!