Until, that is, Carney implored his friend to step in.Hansard had been reluctant to repeat his experience on The Commitments –"Nothing wrong with acting, it's just not for me" – but eventually agreed."Not interested in all that," he scoffs, "and I'm not on the social media." Though he did make the gossip pages recently, photographed mid-singsong in an Irish pub with the American comedian du jour Amy Schumer. "I didn't even know who she was." When you listen to the rough-hewn beauty of Didn't He Ramble, it becomes clear why Bob Dylan invited him on tour, and why his band, the Frames (currently on hiatus), have found success the world over since forming in 1990. "Early on, we worked out it would take us 60 years of touring here before we filled a room, at which point we just thought fuck having to beg this place for acceptance. "I'd started getting into trouble – drinking, glue, the usual stuff. Dad was drunk the whole time, hardly a figure of authority. He wasn't." Guidance came instead in the form of his headmaster, who took Hansard aside one day, concerned.
The leads' on-screen love affair followed off-screen, and the following year the doomed sweethearts (they would split up shortly after) won Best Song at the Oscars for the track "Falling Slowly".
The film was an international sensation, and in its slipstream the fictional act became real, touring the UK and America to packed houses. So he grew a beard, and refocused his sights on the Frames.
"I became a jobbing musician, which was all I ever wanted." A full 16 years on, he was asked to be in a film again.
In 2000, during a Pearl Jam performance at the Roskilde music festival near Copenhagen in Denmark, eight fans were crushed to death in the crowd (a ninth died later in hospital).
Confident he knew what Hansard was going through, he called him.