Low budget Irish film is unexpected hit
A low budget film by an unknown Irish director has taken the US box office by storm. Musical film Once was written and directed by John Carney, who was a bass player with the Irish band The Frames. The film tells the story of a shy Irish street musician who finds a muse in a Czech pianist he meets in Dublin. Once has made almost £3.5 million in just a few weeks, despite being made for only £75,000. It won the Best Audience Award at the Sundance Festival in January and its music has hit the number one spot in the soundtrack download charts. The Frames’ singer Glen Hassard plays the lead role, opposite Czech pianist Marketa Irglova. The New York Times has described the film as “almost perfect” and Empire magazine said: “Once has enough heart, wit, verve and songwriting genius to ensure you will see it far more times than its title suggests.” The film is being widely tipped for an Oscar and Hollywood stars and studios are queuing up to work on Carney’s next film. Carney said: “I’m at my parents, having Sunday lamb, and Travolta’s agent’s on the line, leaving a message: ‘I hear you’re making a film. I’d love you to meet up with John. Is there any way you can think of John for a role?’ It’s hilarious.” Once will be released in Britain on 19 October.