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Director John Carney mixes music and family drama in ‘Flora and Son’

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Apple TV+

Director John Carney is back with another movie about how music brings us all together. Flora and Son drops Friday on Apple TV+, and Carney tells ABC Audio he enjoyed balancing the musical elements inside the dramatic family story.

“I think it’s really fun to try and see if you can have your cake and eat it,” Carney, who also directed musical films like Once and Begin Again, says. “Tell a Hollywood musical story with tons of songs and music, but at the same time, do an emotional drama about how hard it is to be alive.”

Leading the film is Eve Hewson, who stars as Flora, a single mother who learns to play guitar to bond with her son. Hewson is the daughter of U2 frontman Bono, and Carney says Eve wasn’t stressed about any comparisons people might make.

“She didn’t let that affect her, which is kind of amazing if you think about it,” Carney says. “If my father was, you know, John Huston or an incredible filmmaker, I think I’d be nervous about making a movie. She wasn’t remotely nervous because she didn’t try to come on screen and sing her heart out. It was more about the lyric writing and what she was saying and giving it a shot.”

That focus on expressing oneself through music is what Carney says he enjoys most about creating it.

“A real expression of art is when you’re happiest when you’re doing it. Not when it’s finished or when you’re selling it or talking about it, but actually when you’re lost in the moment,” Carney says. “I seem to be more comfortable talking about characters who aren’t perfect, but are kind of flawed and messy, but they manage somehow to sort of make something beautiful and add something to the world.”

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