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Feature: Keira Knightley

Sugar & Spice

Keira Knightely as Elizabeth Bennett

Keira Knightley talks to Film Review about her two very different upcoming roles in Pride & Prejudice and Domino

In 2005, Keira Knightley chose to do something that many young actresses consider but few have the ability to accomplish. Following a string of safe acting roles which helped to accelerate the career of the 20-year-old into the limelight, Knightley took time out to consider some less obvious parts that would not only challenge her personally, but would help to change how audiences perceive her. While somewhat generic romantic leads in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Love Actually and King Arthur proved that Keira looked stunning in front of the camera and could hold her own against the Hollywood elite, her leads in The Jacket, Pride and Prejudice and Domino have attempted to push her further.

In Pride and Prejudice, the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic tale of love in the Georgian English countryside, Knightley is once again reaffirming her position as the quintessential British romantic lead. It’s a character that the actress has no problem in portraying – despite the corsets, “With these it was like not wearing a corset at all. It was fantastic. So a very easy corset experience for me.” – even at the risk of being typecast.

“I think the thing is not to be typecast if you can possibly manage it,” Knightley admits. “And what excites me about acting is the idea of changing as much as possible from character to character, and piece to piece. You’re not going to read a script that has a fantastic story, a fantastic character and a fantastic director and decide not to do it because it was set 200 years ago. That would be a bit foolish. You can only go with what interests you, and Pride and Prejudice has been a book that I’ve been obsessed with since I was about seven, so the opportunity to play a part like Elizabeth Bennet was one that I couldn’t miss out on.”

While Pride and Prejudice, may be taking the actress back to familiar territory, audiences shouldn’t get too comfortable as, only a few months later, they will see her as a model-turned-bounty hunter in Tony Scott’s action-filled Domino. Two roles that couldn’t be further apart, could they?

“The film is shocking. It’s very violent,” Knightley explains. “The film mixes truth with artistic licence. I’m really not sure what’s true and what isn’t about this story. Some of it’s inspired by Domino’s story and some of it’s complete fiction. It’s a mystery.”

There’s no denying that, having come directly from a pigeon-hole-busting role as an alcoholic in The Jacket, deciding to take on her first action role as a lesbian bounty hunter was a brave one. Knightly insists, however, that it was a decision was a relatively easy one.

“I read the script in March and then, in April, I went to Los Angeles to meet director Tony Scott and he convinced me to do the film,” admits the actress. “I loved the script. When I read the script, I thought, ‘This is so cool.’ It’s a black comedy – a black, black, black comedy. Really dark and nasty. There’s sex, violence, nudity and lots of bad language. I think it’s going to attack the audience in every way.”

by Anwar Brett and David Grove

Get the full interview, including Keira's account of her martial arts training, in
Film Review (Sep)

Keira Knightley image © Greg Williams
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Film Review (Sep), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Sep)
#661, September 2005
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