Once: Director John Carney Statement

How ONCE Came into Existence:

Conversations about this project started in 2005 at a Frames concert in Dublin. As a filmmaker with a background in music, I had always wanted to make a film that, while not a traditional 'musical' (in the 1940s sense of the term), would still use a number of songs to tell a very modern, very simple love story.

I considered (then quickly abandoned) a number of approaches that I considered over-ambitious. I wanted to find a simple setting and storyline that could use songs in a way that a modern audience would accept. I finally settled on the idea of a busker on the streets of Dublin; someone who, having nothing, has nothing to lose.

I developed a simple love story, essentially a two-hander, then asked Glen Hansard (lead-singer of The Frames) to write a number of songs which evolved in tandem with the emerging story. Over the next few months, Glen and I swapped ideas a story line here, a song there. Feeding off each others work, we eventually produced ten original songs and a 60-page script.

My intention was to make an original film, almost like a visual album, but with a realistic, modern love-story at its heart. Were in a world where a three-minute song is worth ten pages of dialogue; where the characters communicate more through the art of song than by talking or getting involved in traditional plot-points and dramatic situations. Of course, this is not to say that there isnt a three-act structure in the story; its just a little more oblique than in your average film and the songs themselves are the key to uncovering it.