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an up-to-date and in-depth fan resource for the talented actress. Serving fans since 2004, we are now the longest running fansite dedicated to Keira. Nominated for two Academy Awards, Keira is recogised worldwide for her memorable big screen roles that include 'Pride & Prejudice', 'Atonement', 'The Imitation Game' and Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise. Our aim is to bring you all the latest news, articles, and photos relating to Keira's career, and strive to remain 100% gossip-and-paparazzi-free. Thank you for visiting!.
Quoting Keira
"All through my life what I've loved doing is watching movies. I love the escapism of film, I love stories. So it is incredible to be able to be in them as much as I am, to see them from the first stitch in a costume to the end product."
Keira Knightley on #MeToo, motherhood and Misbehaviour

FINANCIAL TIMES – Keira Knightley is a hypocrite. And so are you. “We’re all hypocrites,” she says. “We’re human beings. Being a human being is being a hypocrite.”

People, with all their messy contradictions, rarely live up to their virtuous ideals. That is how Knightley squares a successful career in an industry that projects impossible beauty standards — while also applauding the feminist protests at the 1970 Miss World competition, the subject of her new film, Misbehaviour.

Knightley plays Sally Alexander, the real-life activist who, together with fellow members of the new Women’s Liberation Movement, interrupted the pageant with ink-squirting toy guns, football rattles and flour bombs. Their actions brought the campaign against the objectification of women to a television audience of 100 million.

For Knightley, exploring conflicting interests — such as the challenge of balancing her own feminist principles with the demands of her job — was part of the film’s attraction. “That’s why I wanted to do it!” she says, with such force you can almost see the exclamation marks project from her mouth.

“I came into this completely on the side of the women’s libbers. Totally. Completely. Yes, 100 per cent, this is disgusting. And yet, I am somebody that makes my living, most of my money, from being a model [in campaigns for Chanel and others] and from doing red carpets.”

On the day we meet in a central London hotel, she is impeccably groomed in a Loewe black jacket, with smoky eye make-up and waved hair. There have been moments on the red carpet, she says, when she felt she was in “a dog show” with “f**king creepy cameras”.

Yet compromised principles are no excuse for inertia. “You’re going to find very few people like Greta Thunberg. [But] by going, ‘Oh God, therefore I can’t say anything’, then nothing is going to happen,” she says. “Nothing’s going to change in any direction whatsoever.”

Knightley may be best known for playing the romantic heroine in a slew of period dramas — from 2005’s Pride & Prejudice (which earned her an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination), to Atonement in 2007 (for which she was shortlisted for a Bafta and Golden Globe) and Anna Karenina in 2012. But it would be a mistake to pigeonhole her. She has increasingly embraced more complicated, unconventional roles.

In Colette (2018), she played the bisexual French writer and music-hall star, while in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method (2011), her character Sabina Spielrein was spanked by Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), before becoming a psychotherapist. There is no strategy behind her choice of films, she insists. “I read scripts and I go, ‘Yes, I want to dive into that.’”

At just 34, Knightley already has 28 years of acting behind her. As a dyslexic child growing up in Teddington, south-west London, her parents (Will Knightley, an actor, and Sharman Macdonald, an actor, screenwriter and playwright) encouraged her to act as a reward for studying.

Her breakout role was in 2002’s Bend It Like Beckham, a comedy about girls’ football. Sport had been her “feminist awakening”, she says. “I was really good at football and, suddenly, looking and going, ‘Wait a f**king second, I couldn’t be a professional footballer.’”

While Knightley is refreshingly candid about her views on many things, speeding through an array of subjects, including nudity, motherhood and #MeToo, she has learnt to protect her privacy around certain aspects of her life. Early success took its toll, and at 22 she suffered mental health problems. “Fame. Tricky thing to navigate.” Why? “That is a very long conversation,” she replies, politely but firmly moving the discussion on.

What drew her to Misbehaviour were the interwoven themes of feminism and racism, which lift the script above a simple narrative of plucky feminists (good) versus sexist men (bad). We see Miss World founder Eric Morley, played by Rhys Ifans, trying to avert a boycott and appease the anti-apartheid movement by adding a black South African contestant — Miss Africa South — to South Africa’s white entry. It also shows how the media’s focus on the white favourites — Miss America and Miss Sweden — meant the black contestants were initially overlooked, including Miss Grenada (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who went on to win, and Miss Africa South, who came second.

The white Women’s Liberation activists see the competition as degrading. For the black contestants, it is an opportunity. As Mbatha-Raw’s Miss Grenada tells Knightley’s Sally Alexander: “I look forward to having your choices in life.”

Knightley was intrigued by the film’s “two very distinct points of view . . . it doesn’t judge. It doesn’t tell you what to think. It’s dealing with feminism, and intersectional privilege and racism. It felt very current, and yet it was 50 years ago.”

I say that the scene showing the beauty pageant contestants lining up on stage, and turning around to show their swimsuit-encased bottoms, felt shocking. Knightley counters: “Now, it’s Instagram. It’s how many likes do you get for your . . . ‘belfies’, bum selfie. It’s the derrière part of the beauty pageant. It’s so complicated.” Many of the themes of the 1970s are relevant today, she continues. “We want a lovely little story cycle where [there] is the problem, and then it was fixed. Change takes a very long time.”

Misbehaviour is unusual in that it was written by women (Rebecca Frayn and Gaby Chiappe), produced by women (Suzanne Mackie and Sarah-Jane Wheale), and directed by a woman (Philippa Lowthorpe). “Female directors are held to a higher standard than men,” Knightley argues. “Unless their first film is perfect, and it makes money, and it gets critical success, they’re not given another film. Men are given much bigger leeway.”

Silent Night, her next film — which she describes intriguingly as Love Actually mixed with Lars von Trier — is also made by a female director, Camille Griffin. She is hungry to work on more female-led films. “[Women’s] stories aren’t being told from our points of view. It’s shocking.”

Before making Misbehaviour, Knightley knew nothing about second-wave feminism, which was making waves in the 1960s and 1970s, aside from “anecdotal stuff” from her mum. As part of her research, she spent time with Sally Alexander, who is now an eminent feminist historian. Alexander handed her The Communist Manifesto, to get a flavour of the kind of books she was reading at the time. Knightley admits she has yet to finish it.

One aspect of the 1970s life portrayed in the film that appealed was communal living, which Knightley declares “sounded like a really f**king good idea”. She lives in north London with her musician husband, James Righton, formerly of the Klaxons. “Being a mother of two very young children [aged four, and five months] — one adult to two young children is not enough. Two adults is still quite [hard]. Three, you start going, actually, this is doable with three. Any more than three? F**king brilliant.”

In 2018, Knightley wrote a powerful, visceral essay about her experience of motherhood and working in film, entitled “The Weaker Sex”. “My vagina split,” she wrote of childbirth and the stitches she needed afterwards. “You came out with your eyes open. Arms up in the air. Screaming. They put you on to me, covered in blood, vernix, your head misshapen from the birth canal. Pulsating, gasping, screaming.”

Birth, in all its gunky mess, is overlooked by storytellers, she says. We are squeamish over that, while the blood and gore of war and violence is a regular feature on screen. “It’s how we all got here. It’s what half of the population do. It’s what no man can in any way physically understand, can comprehend in any physical way, or emotional way, or hormonal way. And it’s stories that we don’t tell. Partly because our storytellers are men. And it’s the one part of our lives, of our bodies, that they have no way to understand. And yet, we don’t talk about it.”

When I ask if she finds motherhood hard, she looks at me like I’m bonkers. “Doesn’t everybody?” I nod. “I don’t think you can fully comprehend until you start doing it, that it is the most difficult thing that you are ever going to do in your life. Birth is just the beginning of it. Birth, yes. And then, what happens afterwards? Then the sleep deprivation, and the sleep deprivation when your body is ripped to pieces and you’re still trying to heal. And you’ve got a small being that is entirely reliant on you. And we live in a society where you’re meant to pretend that you’re able to do that, and you’re fine, and you’re on top of it.”

Being a new mother is “difficult and wonderful”, she says. “You can be crying one minute and laughing the next.” Going back to work when her first child was four months old, travelling overseas away from friends and family was, she says, a mistake. “It was very difficult.” When she had her youngest, she stayed put.

The problem with only seeing idealised images of motherhood, she says, is that new mothers feel desperately alone, or like failures for finding it hard. “You’re an entirely different person [by becoming a mother]. But that transition to being an entirely different person isn’t easy. That idea that any of that should be easy, that it should be seamless, I find it really offensive.”

Having children has changed her professional life in one significant way — she will no longer strip off in front of the camera. “The nipples droop,” she says. “I always felt completely comfortable doing it when I was younger. I never did anything that I didn’t feel comfortable doing. I’m really happy with my body. It’s done an amazing thing. But I also don’t want to stand there in front of a whole film crew.”

The internet is also a factor. “It used to be that you’d do a sex scene in isolation with the film, and it would make sense. And maybe a crappy paper would put it somewhere but, ultimately, that would be it. But now, you can take the whole thing and put it in a completely different thing, and it’s on some porn site.”

I ask about #MeToo and the lack of diversity in the nominees (and winners) at this year’s Baftas and Oscars. “It’s going to take a very long time in Hollywood, as it [does] everywhere else.” Has she been underpaid compared with a male peer? “I haven’t known,” she says. “Partly because it didn’t feel like that was a fight that could have been won. I have known recently that I’ve been paid the same and more. So, that’s good. I’ll take that.”