Welcome to Keira Knightley Fan,
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."
Never Let Me Go
Home » Career » Filmography | 2010-2019

Keira as: Ruth C.
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Duration: 103 minutes
Written by: Alex Garland, Kazuo Ishiguro (novel)
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Other cast: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins
Release date: October 15, 2010
Production budget: $15m
Total worldwide gross: $9.4m
Filming locations: Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England, UK and Clevedon, Somerset, England, UK

In his highly acclaimed novel Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day) created a remarkable story of love, loss and hidden truths. In it he posed the fundamental question: What makes us human? Now director Mark Romanek (ONE HOUR PHOTO), writer Alex Garland and DNA Films bring Ishiguro’s hauntingly poignant and emotional story to the screen. Kathy (Oscar© nominee Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION), Tommy (Andrew Garfield, BOY A, RED RIDING) and Ruth (Oscar© nominee Keira Knightley, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, ATONEMENT) live in a world and a time that feel familiar to us, but are not quite like anything we know. They spend their childhood at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. When they leave the shelter of the school and the terrible truth of their fate is revealed to them, they must also confront the deep feelings of love, jealousy and betrayal that threaten to pull them apart.

Production Info
  • Never Let Me Go is Carey Mulligan’s favorite novel. She was certain someone would make a film adaptation, and had hoped they could wait until she was old enough to play Kathy. She couldn’t bear the idea of anyone else portraying Kathy, although she acknowledged that she thought other people would be able to do a better performance. She actively campaigned for the role.
  • Mark Romanek said that working with child actors was the most challenging part of making the film, since “the first act of the film was going to have to be carried by 12-year-olds.” During pre-production, Romanek had the younger actors watch the older actors rehearse the younger scenes, so the older actors would have a memory of having played those scenes, while the child actors would get a better idea of how more skilled actors would play their parts. He also had the child actors spend time together, playing and talking to create chemistry between them.
  • Carey Mulligan had to learn how to drive for the film. She took a two-week intensive course, but failed the driving test. Her scene was shot on a private road, where she was allowed to get behind the wheel.
  • The role of Kathy proved to be difficult to cast. Peter Rice, head of Fox Searchlight, reportedly texted director Mark Romanek halfway through a screening of An Education and said “Hire the genius Mulligan”.
  • Composer Rachel Portman described her score as a “chamber piece.” She worked with an orchestra of 48 players, including piano, strings, and harp, plus a violin and cello for solos. She felt that a smaller orchestra was needed for a minimal, more restrained intimate score. Because of the film’s sad story she wanted the music to have some hope, humanity, and heartbeat.
  • Mark Romanek described the film as “a love story with fictional science context mixed in.” He considered filming some futuristic elements, but decided it didn’t feel right.
  • The external shot of Ruth’s Care Facility is Andrew Melville Hall, one of the Halls of Residence for students at the University of St. Andrews, in Fife, Scotland.
  • The film’s French title, “Auprès de moi toujours”, translates to “Close To Me Always.” The German title, “Alles, was wir geben mussten,” translates to “Everything We Had to Give”.
  • The visit to Norfolk, on England’s east coast, was filmed in Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare, on England’s west coast.
  • The film takes place in 1978, 1985 and 1994.
  • Andrew Garfield, who plays Tommy, would later be cast as the Marvel hero Spider-man in The Amazing Spider-Man. Charlie Rowe, who plays the young version of Tommy, was a final contender for the same role in Captain America: Civil War.
  • Character Quotes
  • I know what you think, Kathy. I know you think that you and Tommy would have made a more natural couple, and you believe that there’s a chance that Tommy and I will split up some day. And when we do, perhaps that will be your chance with Tommy. Chance to do it right this time. But you see, the thing is, Kathy, although Tommy really likes you as a friend, he just doesn’t see you that way.
  • Do you know, it’s funny, I think I’ve thought about you every day for the last few months. Hoping I’d see you again. Do you know, I felt sure that I would. Seemed impossible that I’d complete without seeing you one last time.
  • Kathy: Ruth, why do you do that thing? Squeezing Tommy’s shoulder.
    Ruth: I’m allowed to touch Tommy, aren’t I?
    Kathy: It’s the way you’re touching him. You know what I mean. It’s copied from that television show.
    Ruth: That’s so not…
    Kathy: Don’t tell me “that’s so not true.” All that behavior, that’s not what people do out there, in real life, if that’s what you were thinking.
    Ruth: So what? Look, it’s no big deal. A lot of us do it.
    Kathy: What you mean is Chrissie and Rod do it.
    Ruth: Oh, Kathy. So that’s what this is about. It must be really awful for you, surrounded by all these couples.
    Kathy: I never said that. I just think it’s daft. You copy them, and they copy from a television show.
    Ruth: I’m right, aren’t I? You don’t like the fact that Tommy and I are friends with Chrissie and Rod, whereas you hardly speak to anyone.
    Kathy: No. You’re not right.
    Ruth: “So” not right?
  • Rodney: So, exactly how much experience have you guys had with the outside?
    Ruth: Quite a lot.
    Tommy: No, we haven’t.
    Ruth: We did a lot of role-playing exercises at Hailsham.
    Tommy: They don’t count.
    Rodney: Okay. Well, don’t feel scared. Okay? There’s really… There’s nothing to it.
    Ruth: We aren’t scared.
  • Ruth: It’s not her. I’m not her.
    Kathy: No, you’re not.
    Tommy: It was really close, though.
    Ruth: Oh, shut up, Tommy! It wasn’t close. It wasn’t close at all. And I knew it wasn’t gonna be her before we even got here! It was never gonna be her. They never, ever model us on people like that woman.
    Kathy: Ruth, don’t.
    Ruth: What? We all know it, we just never say it. We are modeled on trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps. Convicts, maybe, as long as they aren’t psychos. If you want to look for Possibles, if you want to do it properly, look in the gutter. That’s where we came from.
  • Ruth: I’d like you to forgive me. I don’t expect you to.
    Kathy: Forgive you for what?
    Ruth: For keeping you and Tommy apart. Should have been you two together, I always knew it. As far back as I can remember. It wasn’t just because of the rumors about deferrals. It was because I was jealous. You had real love and I didn’t, and I didn’t want to be the one that was left alone. It’s the worst thing I ever did. And now I want to put it right.
  • Quoting: Keira Knightley

    on her character: When I first read the script, I judged Ruth very harshly. She tries to destroy two people’s happiness, and I had to try and find out why a person does that. I often have quite strong reactions to characters, and morally I thought Ruth was pretty reprehensible – and I didn’t like her when I read it. But I think it’s always a terribly interesting thing when you look at a character and go, ‘I don’t like her, she’s manipulative, she does horrendous things,’ and yet I wanted to understand this, because it’s important to understand how we can all make horrendous mistakes and cause incredible harm – because we all can, whether it’s intentional or not. Ultimately, I came to see Ruth’s actions as coming out of growing up without parents and not really ever having the love she needed. So when she sees her two best friends falling for each other, her immediate response is profound jealousy. In the end, I found enormous sympathy for Ruth. There is no excuse for what she does and yet I do understand her motives and feel for her.

    on her attraction to the role: I sort of felt a little bit trapped by the whole notion that I was only meant to do lead roles. I was reading a lot of scripts, and I didn’t necessarily like the leads and I thought that the supporting roles were often very interesting, and so I thought, ‘Whose rules am I playing by here?’ It’s got to be the ones I make up for myself, and I decided I’d like to play this role because I’d like to know what makes this person tick. I think one of the wonderful things about being an actress is trying to get into the head of somebody that does certain things and understand exactly how that can happen, and why, and so I thought in this case it would be a fascinating journey to go on with her.

    on her motivations for the role: Carey was one of the reasons I wanted to do this. She and I worked together on Pride & Prejudice and we’ve been friends ever since. We’ve been on holiday together. It’s rare you get the opportunity to work with people who are friends. When you play characters like this, that have the relationships they do, it’s lovely working with someone with whom you have a shorthand and a history.

    on her reaction to the script: I hadn’t read the book. The first thing I knew about it was the script that came through my door and I thought it was a completely unique piece. I’d never read anything like it. I then started talking to friends and tons of them were saying: “This is my favorite book in the entire world!” Some of them said that it summed up our generation, which was pretty terrifying. But given how astonishing I found it, and people’s reactions to it, it was very exciting to be a part of something like that.

    on the challenge of playing the antagonist: It was great. I thought that the character was fascinating. For me, it was kind of a study of jealousy. She had a great path and I thought it would be an interesting thing to try and get into her head. I didn’t like her. It’s tricky playing people that you don’t like and finding a way to empathise with them. It’s challenging and very exciting for an actor.

    on working with co-star Carey Mulligan: Carey is a phenomenal actress – just look at An Education – and I loved reuniting with her. It’s wonderful that Carey and I have a six-year friendship and we know each other very well, and we didn’t have that ‘getting to know you’ process. It was instantly, ‘Wicked, let’s get down to work and have coffees and talk about this’, and almost bring our friendship and our own relationship into the dynamic between these two characters. That was hugely helpful.

    Quoting: Cast and Crew

    Director Mark Romanek: Carey and Keira being friends in real life brought that tangible sense of closeness to their performances. I don’t think two actresses who were strangers, no matter how good, could have replicated that in that same way. They would continually stun me with the emotional intelligence that they brought to their roles, and yet would always approach their work with a sense of fun and lightness. They each work in their own way — Andrew works in a very immediate, surprising way, Keira I think comes more from the head and Carey is this incredible alchemist – but together they gave everything to make this story as engrossing and meaningful as possible. They don’t just say the lines. These actors create works of art, which is astonishing given their age.

    Critical Response

    Dan Jolin, Empire:

    Yes, what we essentially have here is a sci-fi weepie. And the fact that it works so bittersweetly is down not so much to Garland’s tender treatment of the concept as it is the casting of the main characters and the performances of Mulligan, Knightley and Garfield. […] Knightley, meanwhile, handles the lesser, and less sympathetic, role of Ruth well, with a sharpness that in other hands might be mistaken for shrewishness, and a selfishness that feels less like sheer meanness than an understandable defense mechanism.

    Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer:

    Knightley, dark-haired and deliberate, brings nuance and humor to what could have been a brittle role.

    Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter:

    Mulligan is luminous as the leader of the pack, and Garfield plays his more simple-minded character with marvelous expressiveness. Knightley manages to create a three-dimensional villain.

    David Denby, The New Yorker:

    In the movie’s hundred and three minutes, there are only a few outbursts (mainly from Knightley, who plays a bitchy beauty with great skill).

    Tim Robey, The Telegraph:

    It remains unlikely that Knightley’s fearfully thin frame would be many people’s first choice of organ-incubation unit, but she impresses with some bleak hospital scenes, and the Mulligan-Garfield relationship is tender, upsetting and delicately played.

    Awards and Nominations

    Below is a list of all accolades Keira has received for her role in the film.

    NOMINATED: British Independent Film Awards – Best Supporting Actress
    NOMINATED: Evening Standard British Film Awards – Best Actress
    NOMINATED: Saturn Awards – Best Supporting Actress