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'Once' Bitten: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Oscar-winning songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote "Falling Slowly" for their film, <em>Once</em>.
Junko Kimura
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Oscar-winning songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote "Falling Slowly" for their film, Once.

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.

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.

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