How do you deal with your new star status?
Keira Knightley: Well, so far I’ve been working so much that I haven’t realized how much my status had changed. Being on the set of the film is like being away, in a protective bubble, cut from the reality of the outside world. Very early, I learned not to read what’s written about you.
I don’t want to know what’s being written or spoken about me behind my back. I have accepted the status, the new found fame. It’s a little bit scary at times, especially when I have the paparazzi stalking to desperately take a picture of me. I never know the intentions of someone following me are. For the moment, I still don’t have a personal assistant or a publicist and it’s for the best. My mom handles the publicity requests and I love her.
Do you want to keep being the action girl on the screen?
Keira Knightley: Well, I have to admit I really enjoy action! You feel like an 11 year old on a playground. Even so, I have more fun when I do an intimate film on soccer with other girls. I just love to fight, jump and sweat on big action films. So yes, I see myself doing more action films. I’m open to any good stories and genres. In any case, our business is so volatile and unpredictable that for the moment I enjoy my success and don’t worry too much about tomorrow.
Does this sense of being grounded come from your education and your parents being in the entertainment business?
Keira Knightley: Sure, when you grow up in a showbiz family you have an early sense of the instability of that life and in a way you understand that it is necessary to put things in perspective and distance yourself from the business. You learn not to become too obsessive about your career because it doesn’t depend only on your focus and talent, but also on the perception that other people have of you.
I remember how my dad went on tour as a stage actor for months and then came back our family and could not get another job, and so he had to do some different type of work just to feed us. I think you need to be aware that in this business some days you’re first in the queue and you get a job and other days you’re last in the queue and you have to wait and be persistent. You are lucky if you’re a woman in your 30’s and still get a jobs. Really, it’s a tough and fragile life to be an actress.
For now you put your money into real estate?
Keira Knightley: Right, I just bought a cute little apartment in London. That’s the plan for now, to have my own place no matter what the future is made of!
What about Pirates of the Caribbean 2?
Keira Knightley: Well, I hope to be part of it, but for now I just finished a film called The Jacket, directed by John Maybury starring Adrien Brody. Also we are preparing to shoot another film called Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen’s novel) and Joe Wright will direct it. I keep busy, busy.
Between Bend It Like Beckham and King Arthur, you’ll be a role model for girls and women, but it’s a role model for everybody. Let’s face it. But do you think you’ll keep that in mind when you choose other parts?
Keira Knightley: No, I mean, yes. Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean definitely have characters who are role models. I mean, they’re positive beings. I wouldn’t say Guinevere is particularly a role model, a part from being strong, and myself as a moviegoer, that’s what I like when I go and see films. I want to see strong women; I want to see pro-active women, who aren’t just the girls in the movies. That’s what interests me. As far as her being a role model, I really wouldn’t [consider]. She’s pretty cold and fights a lot. I really recommend that. As far as my role choices, I think you can only do what interests you. Next I’m playing an alcoholic waitress, so I don’t think she’s a particular role model either. But yeah, certainly strong women, they are very positive images.
Could you just talk a little bit about your film The Jacket?
Keira Knightley: The Jacket that comes out, I think, later this year/early next year. It’s with Adrien Brody, Kris Kristofferson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It’s directed by John Maybury, who’s a really exciting British director. It’s a thinking man’s thriller. It should be really interesting. It’s very different from this, but it should be good.
How about getting into the character of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice? Were you one of the schoolgirls who went rushing home to see Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy?
Keira Knightley: Yes, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to play Elizabeth Bennet as it was to play Guinevere. Those are two female roles that if they come your way, you just can’t turn them down. With Pride and Prejudice, it’s fantastic to say that it is an adaptation of the book, so if I have any questions, I have the book to run to. It should be good. I haven’t started yet. I start as soon as I get back and it’s very exciting.
How dizzying is all this? I mean, not to say that you’re young, but you’re not even 20 years old yet and look at all that has happened to you in a couple of years.
Keira Knightley: Yeah, it is amazing and all through my life, what I love doing is watching movies. I love reading books about movies. I love the escapism of film. I love stories. It is incredible to be in them as much as I am and to see them from the very first stitch in a costume to the end product.
That’s what I find really incredible and that’s what I’ve always wanted to spend my time doing. Luckily for me, at the moment I get to spend most of my time doing that. Acting is very much a profession that is you’re hot one minute and not the next. That is totally cool and for me, I think that’s what I find most fascinating and most exciting about it, it can be gone in a puff of smoke.
Has making movies lived up to your expectations? You’ve done everything from little movies to the big giants.
Keira Knightley: Yeah and I love it. I really do. I’m just fascinated in how they’re put together. It’s a fascinating medium. It’s absolutely incredible and to see somebody’s vision up on screen is amazing. To be able to act out somebody else’s ideas is fun as well. I totally love it.
Then along with that comes people like us getting very nosy about your personal life. Tatler announced that you’re the most desirable single woman in the UK.
Keira Knightley: For that month (laughs).
For the month of April. Is that a fair tradeoff when you realize that if you go out for a cup of coffee and somebody snaps a picture, It’s going to be in a paper or a tabloid, and suddenly you’re life is not your own anymore?
Keira Knightley: I have to say I am spending most of my time working, and on film sets it’s a very protective kind of bubble, which is fantastic, so I haven’t been overly aware of any of it. At the moment, what I want to do is make films, and therefore, all is good. When it isn’t, I’ll re-think and I’ll probably do something else. Who knows, but at the moment, it’s fine.
Because you work with different actors, do you pick up different acting styles and different techniques, or does everyone just go and do it?
Keira Knightley: No, I everybody has their own way of working, but it is fantastic to be able to work with people who really are at the top of their game and try and learn from them. I’m never quite sure how it happens, so you just think “Oh God, how did you do that? Can I mix something in, oh no I can’t, can I?” But yeah, it is fantastic to be able to see how all these great ones work.
I have a question about this upcoming film, Tulip Fever. What is that?
Keira Knightley: It didn’t happen. All the money fell out.
What’s your favorite CD that you’re currently listening to right now?
Keira Knightley: Jeff Buckley.
Why? What’s great about Jeff Buckley? And what’s the name of the record?
Keira Knightley: Oh my God, c’mon, have you not heard of Jeff Buckley? What’s the name of the album? He’s only done one and then he died. Jeff Buckley’s Grace is the most sensational album ever, I think one of the best. You can’t listen to it and not cry. Actually, Damien Rice’s album, O, is very good as well. If you see him live, he did a version of “Hallelujah.” Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” is just sensational and I saw him live in Glasgow and the tears were running down my face, so those two are completely fantastic.
Could we just get a little update on Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2? Are all the cast coming back for the sequel?
Keira Knightley: Honestly, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Jerry. I think we all had a fantastic time on the first Pirates. Definitely, we will be up for doing the second one as well, so fingers crossed.
Related Link: View more Keira Knightley interviews