Directors Defend Keira Knightley After John Carney Slams Her Acting Skills

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Keira Knightley Paul Redmond/FilmMagic

Not so fast! Directors Mark Romanek, Lorene Scafaria and Lynn Shelton, who have all worked with Keira Knightley, jumped to the actress’ defense after her Begin Again director John Carney slammed her acting skills and accused her of diva behavior.

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“Keira has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done,” Carney told the U.K.’s Independent in a Saturday, May 28, interview of the 2013 movie where Knightley starred as a singer-songwriter alongside Adam Levine and Mark Ruffalo. “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

“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,” he said.

Keira Knightley and Adam Levine in Begin Again

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After the negative comments caused a stir online, multiple filmmakers spoke out on social media about their own experiences with the 31-year-old British actress, and they all had glowing reviews. Mark Romanek, who directed Knightley in the 2010 thriller Never Let Me Go, totally refuted Carney’s claims. “My experience with #keiraknightley was utterly spectacular on every level. I have no clue what this guy is talking about. #arrogants–thead,” he tweeted on Monday, May 30. “My recollection of #keiraknightley’s ‘entourage’ was that her mum visited the set one day for an hour or two.”

Domhnall Gleeson, Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrea Riseborough in Never Let Me Go Alex Bailey/Fox Searchlight

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Knightley’s director from the 2012 drama Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Lorene Scafaria, agreed with Romanek. “I agree with Mark. Keira was a joy to work w/. Present & easy & really, really good at her job. Just lovely,” she wrote on Twitter on Monday. Lynn Shelton, who directed the Oscar nominee in the 2014 movie Laggies, also jumped into the fray and called working with Knightley “magnificent, top to bottom.” In a tweet on Monday, she added, “She is the real deal.”

Knightley has yet to speak out about the harsh criticism from Carney. 

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