We’d happily let any of these talented songbirds croon to us…

BEGIN AGAIN is released in Irish cinemas this week; directed by John Carney – the director who brought us ONCE – the film tells the story of a jaded producer who discovers a new and exciting musical talent, and must try to convince her that her songs are worth recording. The film stars Mark Ruffalo and Kiera Knightley, and we were struck by how beautiful Knightley’s singing voice is in the film. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at other actors who have been hiding their musical talents…

Kate Winslet

Although she made her singing debut in Peter Jackson’s HEAVENLY CREATURES, most of us didn’t find out that Kate Winslet was a talented singer until 2001. In that year, Winslet released a single titled What If…, which was taken from the film CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE MOVIE. The song was released in time to vie for the Christmas number one, but was beaten to the punch in the UK by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman’s version of Somethin’ Stupid. In Ireland, however, What If… reached number one at the start of December, and stayed there for four weeks, holding off Dustin (the Turkey)’s version of Sweet Caroline.
All the proceeds from Winslet’s single went to National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Sargent Cancer Care for Children at her request.

Ryan Gosling

Gosling could easily have a career as a singer if his acting/directing career went south. In 2005, Gosling and Zach Shields met for the first time, and soon discovered their mutual fondness for ghosts. It was not long afterwards that the pair decided to write love songs about ghosts and monsters, and Dead Man’s Bones was born.
Their first album – self-titled of course – was released in 2009, and features the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, just to amp up the eerie feeling.
Dead Man’s Bones have been quiet of late, but their song Lose Your Soul was used in Irish film DOLLHOUSE, and French film AGE OF PANIC.

Zooey Deschanel

Many of us were surprised at Deschanel’s wonderful, 40s sounding voice when she sang in ELF – and later (500) DAYS OF SUMMER – and it was that performance in ELF that first caught the attention of singer-songwriter M. Ward. The two got to know one another on the set of THE GO-GETTER, and began to write music together.
Naming their band SHE & HIM, Deschanel and Ward first collaborated through email, before recording their first album together. SHE & HIM have now released three albums as well as a Christmas album and were nominated for a Grammy for their song So Long, which featured in WINNIE THE POOH.

Jason Schwartzman

You know that song California at the start of THE O.C.? The one performed by Phantom Planet? Well, at the time the song was recorded, the drummer for Phantom Planet was none other than Jason Schwartzman.
Since leaving Phantom Planet to focus on his acting career, Schwartzman has found time to return to music, recording under the name Coconut Records. Schwartzman released his first solo record – Nighttiming – in 2007, which was followed up with Davy in 2009. Schwartzman also composed and performed the score to FUNNY PEOPLE, as well as the title track to BORED TO DEATH, the tragically cancelled TV show in which he also starred.

Tim Robbins

Robbins’s father Gilbert Lee Robbins was a member of folk group The Highwaymen, so his son seems to have always had a love for music. Robbins was originally offered the chance to record an album in 1992 after the success of BOB ROBERTS, but he turned the opportunity down because he had seen how hard his father worked to be successful, and because he felt he had nothing to say at the time.
In 2010 however, Robbins released the album Tim Robbins & The Rogues Gallery Band, which featured songs written over a 25 year process. Robbins and the band toured small venues around the world – including Whelan’s in Dublin – and while they were generally well received, there does not seem to be a second album in the works.

Honourable mentions to: Hugh Laurie, Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Vin Diesel and Evan Rachel Wood.

BEGIN AGAIN is released in Irish cinemas on July 11th 2014

Words: Brogen Hayes