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Adam Levine changes his tune in ‘Begin Again'

By Jake Coyle
Associated Press
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/08/16/15/1j1Trt.Em.138.jpeg|316
    CHARLES SYKES - INVISION/AP
    Adam Levine says his acting debut in the film “Begin Again” has inspired him to continue acting.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/08/16/15/1hAKMz.Em.138.jpeg|199
    Andrew Schwartz - WEINSTEIN COMPANY VIA AP
    Keira Knightley and Adam Levine in “Begin Again.” Levine says his acting debut in the film “Begin Again” has inspired him to continue acting. (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Andrew Schwartz)

Adam Levine is hesitant to make any grandiose declarations about suddenly transforming from pop star into an actor. But he also can’t help himself.

Following his movie debut “Begin Again,” the Maroon 5 frontman is exuberant about a movie career.

“It really made me fall in love,” said Levine about “Begin Again” in an interview. “It’s the very beginning of something really cool.”

The transition is unusually seamless for Levine in “Begin Again,” an indie about musicians in New York by “Once” director John Carney. Levine plays an aspiring musician, the boyfriend of a singer-songwriter played by Keira Knightley. It’s his breakthrough that’s brought them to New York, and his fast-growing fame pulls the couple apart.

“I had been through that before, maybe not the same version,” says Levine. “That’s what connected me to this guy. I immediately understood exactly what needed to be done with this character just based on my life’s experience.”

Levine, 35, grew up in Los Angeles, so acting in movies was, he says, always “somewhere in the back of my mind.” Carney approached him about the film and Levine jumped at the chance.

“He’s so confident and he’s such a natural entertainer and he’s very comfortable on camera because he does that show and he’s made lots of music videos,” says Knightley. “He kept claiming he didn’t know what he was doing, but it looked like he knew exactly what he was doing to me.”

In one of the film’s most moving scenes, Levine performs the original song “Lost Stars” while Knightley’s character looks on. The song, which Levine wrote with former New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander, will be pushed for an Oscar by the film’s distributor, the Weinstein Company.

“Everything about the things that I experienced while making this movie just felt very real,” says Levine. “... It always felt like we were making a documentary.”

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