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Hansard spotted her potential as a singer and songwriter and invited her to contribute backing vocals at some of his gigs.The cultural exchange continued when Irglova made her first trip to Dublin, staying with the Hansard family when she was in her mid-teens."I would listen to the song and I would hear a melody in my head and that's still how I do it to this day. I think Glen is to blame for this, really."According to Hansard, it's a symbiotic relationship: "I didn't discover it immediately, but after a couple of years of playing music with Mar, I realised I had found a musical partnership that not only matched my relationship with my own band but surpassed it in some ways too."The latest result of that partnership is the new Swell Season album, Strict Joy.Perhaps as an inevitable consequence of their romantic split, the 12 songs on the album were written separately, with the lion's share of the content coming from Hansard.However, he says: "I don't remember having any real connection with the creative process during The Commitments other than showing up on set at the right time and speaking my lines. It's just you and your mates and if anyone's in bad form it's not going to work, so it was a case of throwing yourself into it completely."Irglova adds: "(Once] never felt like a big film shoot, it always felt like three friends making something together.I have a feeling that was a very special and rare thing that happened."The stars must have been aligned, because Once went on to surpass all expectations at the box office.The pair were rehearsing together for the first time when Irglova challenged his use of poetic licence in an autobiographical lyric."She said, 'Why are you bending the truth, when the truth is probably more interesting? About four years later, this conversation formed the basis for the opening exchange between the lead characters in Once, a micro-budget feature filmed in three weeks on the streets of Dublin by Hansard's friend John Carney, who cast his leads after seeing them play a gig together.
We're not lovers anymore," she continues, "but we're still very close.There were personal repercussions for Hansard and Irglova too, as life imitated art and their off-screen relationship bloomed."You don't go through an experience like that and not come out the other side either hating each other or much closer," comments Hansard, "and me and Mar came out much, much closer.""The friendship and connection that you're watching on screen between Glen and I exists, and it did grow into a deeper love afterwards," says Irglova.Hansard hasn't given any interviews about the movie until now, but as Vulture found out, he had plenty to say about that time in his life, and how he and Irglova have moved on since — she, with new husband Tim Iseler.Is it a little weird to watch an actor who's essentially playing you playing yourself?
"It would be very easy to say this record is about my relationship with Mar and to a large extent it is, but it would also be untrue to say that it's exclusively about Mar," he says, describing it as an "audio diary"."What I find most interesting about diaries is that the happy day is always blank.