Adam Levine made his acting debut in “Begin Again” out today.
Although you’ve done “American Horror Story,” this was your first big project. Did you take any acting lessons?
Adam Levine: I had tried to take one and it didn’t go well. It was bizarre. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like what I was being told because it wasn’t making me happy, but that’s a whole other conversation I don’t want to have. So I just thought I would pretend that I knew what I was doing and hoped and prayed that it would work because these people are all very talented. Keira [Knightley] made me look good.
How was it revisiting this specific time in your life to portray Dave?
Adam Levine: This character was in the midst of becoming successful … When it happened to me I was probably tempted by some of the same things that he was. Granted, my story is very different than his, but it was very easy to tap into what it was like to experience all of these things that we never expected to experience. When you commit to being a musician, I don’t think you’re really sure that you’re never going to pay the bills … So this guy was just overwhelmed, and so was I, so that was easy. I believe that has something to do with why John called me because very few people get to experience those things, and I think he thought I would be able to articulate it on camera.
Do you plan on doing more acting?
Adam Levine: I have no idea. All I know is that it was really fun. It was a dream experience … and this sounds really kiss-ass-y … but I love these guys, all of them. They’re so nice … And it was just one of those things, I don’t think it can get better than this. So I might not ever make another movie, actually. Because there’s no way it could surpass this in terms how much fun I had with this. It was a blast.
Are there differences in your character and who you are as a musician?
I wanted to pretend like he was a totally different person, even though it was impossible because I literally don’t know how to act, so I was like, ‘Okay some of me is coming out here. It’s impossible for that not to happen.’ There was a very specific point in my life … where I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve made it.’ I’ve been so fortunate that there have been fifty of those moments. There was a time where in the early 2000s when someone told me our album had went platinum and I said, ‘what? are you kidding me?’ That was when I partied too hard and did a lot of stupid things and that was part of who Dave was.
The film talks about selling out in the music industry. You have to confront that as an artist. Do you say, “Oh, I have to sell out today?’
In music people spend a lot of time figuring out who they are and presenting that to the world in a very calculated way. I think in order to understand what selling out is you first have to define what it means to sell out – to do something that you don’t want to do because you might be able to gain something financially for it and not be behind something.
Being popular has that attachment of selling out.
Doing something that you love regardless of whether it’s a blockbuster movie or you’re writing a pop song, or trying shamelessly to succeed in something is not selling out. I think that’s actually fine and I would encourage that all the time. Selling out really comes when you sacrifice your own personal credibility in order to have success on a larger scale … It’s very clear cut but people do have a hard time defining it. They kind of throw a lot of things out there and say that ‘oh this is a giant movie so that means this person sold out’ … I always hated that growing up. When my favorite bands became successful I thought, ‘Good for them. That is amazing. Congratulations, I still love you.’ I didn’t get that selfish possessive attitude, ‘they were mine and now they’re everyone else’s and I don’t like them anymore.’ That’s a horrible way to operate. They get to pay the bills and have an amazing life. That’ great and that’s how I feel.
The Weinstein Company, Delta Air Lines and Budweiser presented the New York premiere of “Begin Again” at SVA Theater. A fun after party followed at The Bowery Hotel. Check out this slideshow from the red carpet below: