Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won an Oscar for their song "Falling Slowly," from the 2007 film Once. Written and directed by John Carney, Hansard's onetime bandmate, it's a movie about two musicians in Dublin, writing songs about past romances and exploring the love growing between them.
hide captionOscar-winning songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote "Falling Slowly" for their film, Once.
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It was art imitating life, and perhaps the other way around: Hansard, who plays a Dublin street busker, spent years on the city's streets in real life, earning his keep with his the same battered guitar he plays in the film.
And he and the Czech-born Irglova, who plays an immigrant songwriter, found themselves falling in love in much the way their characters do.
It wasn't entirely a surprise: The two had known each other for years, and even their director could see it coming. As Hansard told The Washington Post, "About the third day in, John started predicting that we'd get together. ... He kept joking and calling us his Bogart and Bacall. ... After filming, Fox Searchlight put us in a tour bus together, and it just felt natural. We graduated from a feeling to this."
Hansard, 38, is the frontman for the Irish rock band The Frames, and had acted previously in the 1991 art-house hit The Commitments. Once was the first film for the Czech-born, classically trained Irglova, 20.
In 2006, the same year Once was filmed, the duo released an album under the band name The Swell Season, and they're currently on tour. Once is out now on DVD.
Playing under the name The Swell Season, Irish singer Glen Hansard and Czech newcomer Marketa Irglova sing affecting folk-rock songs with blissful harmonies. Hear the stars of the sleeper hit musical Once recorded live in concert from Washington, D.C.
hide captionThe Swell Season live in Washington, D.C.
Hansard is frontman for the Irish rock band The Frames, while the Czech-born Irglova is a classically trained singer, and their music serves as the centerpiece of the surprise hit film Once. The movie, which also stars Hansard and Irglova, tells a guy-meets-girl love story largely through song.
Before making the film, Hansard and Irglova recorded a collection of songs together titled The Swell Season. Versions of the songs wound up in the movie, and in several cases also appear on The Frames' recent CD, The Cost.
Hansard had a small part in the 1991 film The Committments, but Irglova is a first-time actor. Hansard has spent the past 15 years writing and recording with The Frames, while Irglova was just 17 when she made Once. Born in 1988 in Moravia, Czech Republic, she began playing the piano and guitar as a child and studied classical music.
Once was written and directed by John Carney, a former bassist for The Frames. The movie won the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and has since garnered widespread critical acclaim and box-office success.