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Paul Hansard

Paul Hansard

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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

For years, Glen Hansard was best known as the singer and songwriter of The Frames, an alternative rock band that found considerable critical and commercial success in their native Ireland, but only cult-level popularity in the rest of the world. That changed in 2007, when the musician co-starred in the low-budget romantic drama "Once," which quickly moved from the film festival circuit to mainstream popularity, bringing Hansard's easygoing brand of folk-rock to a wider international audience and winning him and co-star Markéta Irglová an Oscar for Best Original Song for their co-composition "Falling Slowly." Born in Dublin, Ireland, Hansard began pursuing a career in music early, leaving school at the age of 13 to become a busker in the streets of his hometown, inspired by his musical heroes Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison. While learning his craft by playing for spare change on downtown street corners, Hansard supplemented his income by working in a bicycle repair shop. This part-time job eventually led to the name of his band: so many abandoned and wrecked bicycle frames, in varying stages of restoration, littered his parents' back yard that he hit upon the name The Frames in tribute....

For years, Glen Hansard was best known as the singer and songwriter of The Frames, an alternative rock band that found considerable critical and commercial success in their native Ireland, but only cult-level popularity in the rest of the world. That changed in 2007, when the musician co-starred in the low-budget romantic drama "Once," which quickly moved from the film festival circuit to mainstream popularity, bringing Hansard's easygoing brand of folk-rock to a wider international audience and winning him and co-star Markéta Irglová an Oscar for Best Original Song for their co-composition "Falling Slowly."

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Hansard began pursuing a career in music early, leaving school at the age of 13 to become a busker in the streets of his hometown, inspired by his musical heroes Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison. While learning his craft by playing for spare change on downtown street corners, Hansard supplemented his income by working in a bicycle repair shop. This part-time job eventually led to the name of his band: so many abandoned and wrecked bicycle frames, in varying stages of restoration, littered his parents' back yard that he hit upon the name The Frames in tribute. The group formed in 1990, but their 1991 debut album Another Love Song was overshadowed by Hansard's first venture into acting, playing teen guitarist Liam "Outspan" Foster in Alan Parker's film adaptation of Roddy Doyle's popular Dublin-set novel The Commitments. The film was an international success, leading to two best-selling soundtrack albums performed by the actors themselves. Hansard later claimed to regret having appeared in the film, saying that it stole the focus from The Frames just as they were getting underway.

The next two albums by The Frames, Fitzcarraldo (1995) and Dance The Devil (1999), were moderately successful, but 2001's For the Birds reached Ireland's national Top 10. A pair of live albums, Breadcrumb Trail (2002) and Set List (2003) both hit #1 in Ireland; the first of these live sets, recorded in Prague in 2001, featured a guest appearance by a 13-year-old local Czech singer, Markéta Irglová, on one track. Hansard and Irglová teamed up again several years later for the soundtrack to Czech director Jan Hrebejk's 2006 film "Beauty In Trouble," for which Hansard wrote several songs. The collaboration was made official with the release of the 2006 album The Swell Season, named after Hansard's favorite novel, written by dissident Czech author Josef Skvorecký in 1975, and originally credited to Hansard and Irglová. (The album was reissued after the pair took the name The Swell Season for their group.)

During this period, former Frames bassist John Carney, now a film writer and director, approached Hansard with the idea of a film set in the Dublin busking scene in which they'd gotten their start. Although Carney initially planned for actor Cillian Murphy to play the unnamed street musician at the heart of the story, with Hansard only providing the songs, Hansard and Irglová soon signed on to play the lead roles of a pair of musicians who fall in love through their songs. (In real life, the formerly platonic friends began dating during the filming.) Made for a mere $160,000, "Once" (2006) ended up grossing more than 20 million dollars worldwide; the soundtrack also charted considerably higher in America than any of The Frames' albums had, and led to Hansard and Irglová touring worldwide as The Swell Season after the film's centerpiece song "Falling Slowly" won Best Original Song at the 80th Annual Academy Awards on February 24. 2008. Although The Swell Season continued recording and performing together, their 2009 sophomore album Strict Joy dealt in part with the end of their romantic relationship.

In 2011, Irish playwright Enda Walsh adapted "Once" into an Off-Broadway musical with Hansard and Irglová's songs. The show moved to Broadway the following year, eventually winning eight Tony Awards including Best Musical; in addition, the show won six Drama Desk Awards, including both Best Musical and Best Lyrics, and the original Broadway cast album won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater album. In 2012, Hansard released his first official solo album, Rhythm and Repose; to promote the album, he appeared as himself in an episode of the critically-acclaimed American TV series "Parenthood" (NBC 2010-15), performing the single "High Hope." The same year, two of his songs appeared on the soundtrack of the hit film "The Hunger Games," "Take the Heartland" performed by himself and "Come Away to the Water" performed by Maroon 5 with guest singer Rozzi Crane.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Gold (1974)
2.
 Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) German photographer
3.
 Trog (1970) Dr. Kurtlimer
5.
 Submarine X-1 (1969) Commander Steiner
6.
 Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) German officer
7.
 The Heroes of Telemark (1966) German official
8.
 Heroes of Telemark (To Be Deleted), The (1965) German Official
9.
 Sing and Swing (1964) Film director
10.
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