Just in time to celebrate this weekend's nostalgia-soaked ensemble mess, “Rock of Ages,” another recent bit of musical casting shows Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine eager to get his acting career started, with the director of 2006's smash hit “Once” attempting to steer him to success in his latest film.
Deadline reports director John Carney has chosen Levine for a lead role in “Can A Song Save Your Life?.” Levine will join Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Hailee Steinfeld in heading up the film. Levine (who is also booked for a multi-episode arc on “American Horror Story”) plays Knightley's boyfriend, as he pursues a music career in New York with her before splitting for a solo contract, and sending her into the arms of a rival music producer, played by Ruffalo. Interestingly, Judd Apatow is executive producing, but it's unclear just how much of his stamp will be on the finished project.
Carney struck gold with his Glen Hansard/Markéta Irglová romance “Once,” which led to songwriting Oscar gold and a Tony award-winning Broadway musical to boot, so his continued exploration of musicians' lives could be just as compelling. What remains a question mark though is just how much the cast will bring to their musical roles; Keira Knightley doesn't seem to be the first name people run to for a potentially stunning singing voice, but as her passionate if not-entirely-successful performance in “A Dangerous Method” shows, she's eager to stretch her boundaries at this point in her career. The same can be admirably be said for Levine, although “The Voice” judge acting beside Carney's stellar cast seems akin to dressing a donkey for the Kentucky Derby — it may gallop spryly for the first few laps on pure chutzpah, but eventually it'll veer off to the side, bleating desperately.
Still, Carney has proved himself able to harness non-actors and create grounded, impressive performances, so consider us hopeful that he can do the same for Levine when “Can A Song Save Your Life?” heads into production this summer.