Tag: keira knightley
Mark Romanek, Lorene Scafaria and Lynn Shelton tweet support for actor after John Carney said he would ‘never make a film with supermodels again’.
Major directors have shown their support for Keira Knightley after she was criticised by the director John Carney over their collaboration on Begin Again.
Mark Romanek, who directed the actor in Never Let Me Go, wrote on Twitter that working with Knightley was “utterly spectacular”. Meanwhile, Lorene Scafaria, Knightley’s director for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, said she was “just lovely” and Say When director Lynn Shelton also referred to the actor as “magnificent”.
Review for Begin Again
After Inside Llewyn Davis, here’s Outside Keira Knightley. John Carney’s latest tale of random hearts brought together by song may not have the rough-and-ready brilliance of Once (or a tune to match Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová’s Oscar winning Falling Slowly) but it does a surprisingly good job of making us believe in the slightly preposterous idea of KK recording an album on the streets of New York.
Knightley plays Greta, a singer-songwriter stumbling from a recently stalled relationship with a corporate sell-out rocker (Maroon 5’s Adam Levine), who catches the drunken eye/ear of washed-up A&R man Dan (a typically ruffled Mark Ruffalo). Hearing in her hesitant open-mic strummings the makings of a full-blown hit (Carney brilliantly revisits the opening downbeat performance to dramatise an imaginary upbeat orchestration), Dan attempts to sign Greta to the label from which he has recently been dumped. But when her indie integrity reawakens his own long-lost musical passion, the odd couple embark on a series of makeshift pavement and rooftop recording sessions in which the natural sounds of NYC (sirens, trash cans, car-horns) become an integral part of the endearingly skiffled songs.
With original music co-written by New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander (the songs are serviceable, if not spine-tingling), Carney’s bigger-than-before budget feature still retains a distinctively ramshackle charm. Knightley and Ruffalo are nicely natural as the increasingly idealistic musos who discover that a song can save your life, their streetwise story mutating into an anti-establishment fairytale with added exhaust fumes. I found it moving, funny and really rather charming, provoking more than enough laughter and tears to dispel my underlying anxieties about the “live” performances.
Even by Hollywood standards, Keira Knightley’s rise to stardom has been meteoric. For this she has to thank her role as a soccer-mad tomboy in Brit smash Bend It Like Beckham, and now the 18-year-old has returned to Blighty to take a role in Love Actually from the makers of Four Weddings and Notting Hill…
So what was it like making the movie?
Keira Knightley: “I laughed my way through the whole thing – I never stopped laughing. In our scenes it was me and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Andrew Lincoln. Andy is fantastic and Chewy is one of the most exciting British actors around at the moment. It was really exciting to get the chance to work with two people I admired so much – and no corsets, which was nice.”
And how did you find Richard Curtis as a director?
Keira Knightley: “He’s a nice man, a really good bloke. I know that he was very nervous doing it, but having written it he knew everything inside out and knew what he was doing. You would get there in the morning and it was all there, done and dusted.”
You get married at the beginning of the film. How was that to shoot?
Keira Knightley: “It was quite possibly the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen. We had some real lads there, sparks (gaffers’ assistants) and assistant directors and the rest of the crew, and they were all standing there with little stupid grins on their faces. It was great!”
You play newly-wed Juliet, who finds herself in a strange situation with her husband Peter’s best man Mark…
Keira Knightley: “It’s a bit of a love triangle really. Juliet has always thought that Mark hates her but it turns out he is actually madly in love with her. The thing is, the entire story is played out in about five or six scenes. It could be a whole film, but Richard is so clever – everything you need to know is there. It’s beautifully written.”
What do you think of romantic comedies in general?
Keira Knightley: “I love romantic comedies, they are really important. They are 100 percent escapism – you just sit there and lose yourself in this world. I cry my eyes out or laugh or both. The thing about Richard is that he makes feel-good movies well and that’s very difficult to do. There is nothing more disgusting than a patronising, smarmy movie, so to be able to do it well is an amazing talent. There are so few people who can do it and Richard is at the top of that list, no question. It’s incredible how you can sit through all of his films with a grin on your face. You may say ‘Oh no, it’s not my sort of thing…’ but you still smile – I defy anyone not to.”
The first read-through must have been daunting…
Keira Knightley: “Agony! I had five scenes and I have never been more nervous in my entire life. I’ve done read-throughs before with the likes of Johnny Depp and that wasn’t terrifying. But here there were 50 people sitting around this huge table. It was astonishing – you looked up and there was Hugh Grant; over there is Alan Rickman. There’s Liam Neeson; there’s Emma Thompson. Can you blame me for being nervous? Just the fact all of those people turned up for this read-through shows how much respect they have for Richard. At the end of it I was like: ‘I can’t handle this!’ I got out of there as fast as I could.”
The film has a lot of different stories that converge at the end. Did you feel like you were working in your own little movie?
Keira Knightley: “Yeah you did really – we did our big wedding thing and we were the stars of the show. And then suddenly you’ve got all these other people with their stories. And it was like: ‘Excuse me! I know you’re Alan Rickman, but get out of my film please!’
You’re only 18. Shouldn’t you be at university or something?
Keira Knightley: “Well, my mum and dad think I’m going to university – they probably expect me to become a doctor or something. But no, I think I’ll stick with this. I’m having a very good time!
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
Keira Knightley gained international recognition in the indie film hit Bend It Like Beckham and went on to star, alongside Johnny Depp, in the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. She recently gained acclaim in The Duchess, directed by Saul Dibb.
In 2006, she was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her performance in Pride and Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright. She again received a Golden Globe nomination, as well as a BAFTA nomination, in 2008 for her leading role in Atonement, also for Joe Wright.
Knightley’s variety of starring roles include playing the title character in Tony Scott’s action movie Domino; Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur, in which she starred as Guinevere opposite Clive Owen; director John Maybury’s Edge of Love; and Richard Curtis’ romantic comedy Love, Actually.
Keira Knightley began her acting career at the age of six, having asked her parents, playwright Sharman McDonald and actor Will Knightley, for an agent at the age of three. Early television appearances culminated in the role of Lara in the made-for-television epic “Doctor Zhivago,” which in turn launched her film career.
In 2009, she made her debut on stage in Martin Crimp’s London’s West End production of “The Misanthrope,” opposite Damien Lewis and Tara Fitzgerald.
Knightley is currently appearing in Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, adapted from the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and will next be seen in the contemporary romantic drama Last Night.
David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” began life as a screenplay in the mid-1990’s. Academy Award winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton had a keen interest in psychoanalysis, and spent a great deal of time researching the relationships between Jung, Freud and Sabina, visiting the Burghölzli hospital in Zurich where he read her case history.
These intelligent figures greatly appealed to Hampton, as he explains, “These people were pioneers and psychoanalysis was a revolutionary idea. It opened many closets and revealed many taboos. At the end of the nineteenth century, great currents of new ideas were brought into being which opened up a whole new way of thinking about society.”
Hampton went on to develop the material into a stage play called The Talking Cure, which had a successful run at the National Theatre in London with Ralph Fiennes starring as Jung. A few years later, acclaimed auteur David Cronenberg asked Hampton to adapt the play into a new screenplay for him to direct.
As Cronenberg elaborates, “In Christopher Hampton’s original play I knew I had found a rich vein to mine for the screen. This tale of emotional variance, overshadowed by the portents of WWI, promised an insight into two intense and inextricably interwoven relationships. The fact that the characters were gifted true-life figures, and that the triangle of Jung, Freud and Sabina resulted in the birth of modern psychoanalysis, made it all the more tantalizing to me.”
Hampton began to develop his play, weaving historical events and quotes from the real-life personalities into a dramatic story of a debate of ideas. Cronenberg took the project to his good friend Jeremy Thomas (the Academy Award winning independent producer), who has a reputation for working with highly individual filmmakers and had previously teamed with Cronenberg to make the critically acclaimed and award-winning films Crash and Naked Lunch. For Thomas, the appeal was immediate.
As he explains, “The exciting pairing of director David Cronenberg with the great playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton would be too rare an event for me to miss. The opportunity to work with David again on a project of such note seemed a natural fit with this very interesting clash of ideas on screen. There is an enormous amount of dueling in the dialogue which I thought could be very attractive to watch when played by very good actors, and have an impact on an audience when directed by a wonderful director with a magnificent score.”
For Hampton, the opportunity to work with Cronenberg, a filmmaker he admired, was one he approached with relish: “I think David has a unique combination of extremely cool objectivity, and pretty violent engagement. A really original combination which fits this story very well, because it’s a story about people who are attempting to operate the rules of civilization and steer their patients towards ‘the norm’, whilst becoming increasingly aware that there is no norm and that they themselves, like all of us in certain respects, live right out on the wild fringes and have to cope with these contradictions as best we can. David is a wonderful director to encompass these contradictions and make sense of them.”
For his part, Cronenberg was captivated by the idea of directing a film about three charismatic figures from history, including Sabina; a relatively unknown figure who greatly influenced both men professionally. As he says, “Sabina was someone who contributed hugely to the theories of both men, something that no one knew until a cache of letters was discovered, her letters to and from Freud and Jung, and their letters to her. Their passion came through their articulation, their theories and their abstract thoughts. They were really quite fascinating people and it’s a fantastic story.”
For Thomas, a producer widely recognized for his distinctive films, this little-known story was one he knew he had to bring to the screen, “I have always been drawn to make unusual stories that often involve extreme behavior. At the heart of A Dangerous Method is a fascinating story that highlights how even those who understand humanity best can fall prey to mankind’s most basic emotions. Love, sexual passion, ambition, deceit, emotional breakdowns, explosive disagreements and apocalyptic dreams set the foundation for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina came together and then split, forever changing the face of modern thought. These intimate dynamics twinned with the broader span of history is what makes this film irresistible for me.”
Related Link: Read the Full Production Notes for A Dangerous Method
Working with Academy Award-winning cinematographer Chris Menges, William Monahan has created a visually arresting, ’60s-inflected portrait of a city he has a special affection for, from the grimy council flats to the upscale environs of Holland Park. “I’ve always loved seeing London on film,” Monahan says. “But I’ve never seen it look better than Chris Menges has made it look for this film. He doesn’t have two Oscars for nothing. The photography is absolutely stunning.”
Well known as a uniquely visual screenwriter, Monahan also put in a decade working closely with Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese on all phases of production. And according to Quentin Curtis, Monahan demonstrated an extraordinary aptitude for the logistical and technical side of filming. Ben Chaplin was struck by Monahan’s attention to the smallest details. “He is a very visual director,” says the actor. “He’s had specific visual ideas for everything including the costumes. He had it all from the big picture down to very fine details.”
Monahan saw wardrobe as another way to fine-tune the complex and sometimes paradoxical characters he had created on the page. “It was very important to me to thwart the usual class expectations,” he explains. “When we were addressing Mitchel, Odile Dicks-Mireaux, our costume designer, first suggested moonboot sneakers and a nylon track suit because he is supposed to be a south London thug. But Mitchel is a paradox, like many of my characters. They tend not to be what you first expect. So I said, ‘No, let’s go to Saville Row, because any class expectations are going to be completely foxed.’”
Knightley was initially concerned that her character might be seen as what she calls “more of an L.A. type,” but Monahan once again rejected the conventional. “We were on the same page from the first meeting,” she says. “We all felt that the very tight jeans and high-heeled, beachy look was the wrong way to go. She’s somebody who is disgusted with that whole side of it. She’s rejecting it, so we went for a more androgynous look with men’s trousers, brogues and darker colors.”
Knightley’s only glamorous appearance in the film is the iconic photograph taken by seminal British fashion and celebrity photographer David Bailey – the model for David Hemmings’ character in Antonioni’s BLOW-UP. Bailey photographed everyone who was anyone in London during the Swinging Sixties, from the Beatles and Jean Shrimpton to the infamous twin gangsters, Ronnie and Reggie Kray. “You see the photo of Charlotte all over London in the film,” says Knightley. “But you never actually see her dressed up; you never see her with any make-up on. The photograph is part of what she’s rebelling against, being painted and sold.
The iconic photo, posted on walls, buses, electronic billboards and more, is a symbol of the power and the perils of celebrity, says Monahan. “‘It is intentionally unexplained. There is no product mentioned. You just see the photograph repeated wherever you go. And it was very important to me that we get the right photo,” says the director. “We had to have David Bailey. When we were talking about how to photograph Keira, I said, ‘She’s a very beautiful girl.’ And he said, ‘Beautiful women are like red buses to me.’ Bailey’s said that one before.”
The film’s action is set to an original score by Sergio Pizzorno, and a blazing soundtrack of music from the ’60s. It’s packed with classic tracks such as The Yardbirds’ “Heart Full Of Soul,” The Rolling Stones’ “Stray Cat Blues,” The Box Tops’ “The Letter,” Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” plus several traditional airs performed by Dominic Murphy, and contemporary music by British band Kasabian.
“The music is very important to the film,” says Monahan. “The first time I ever thought of shooting a film, I was a teenager in London. Even then, I imagined the movie starting out on black with the riff from the Yardbird’s ‘Heart Full of Soul’ – and now I’ve done it.”
“Working in London was a special thrill because it’s the center of what I do for a living and it has been since Tudor times. Our last day of shooting in London was about five yards from the Globe Theater, under Southwark Bridge,” says Monahan. “I didn’t mention it to anybody, but that was important to me. When you’re writing drama in English for a living, it’s nice to be near the source.”
Related Link: Read the Full Production Notes for london Boulevard
Joe Wright will direct the epic romance Anna Karenina, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The Working Title Films production will commence filming in the U.K. and Russia this month. Focus Features will distribute the movie domestically, and Universal Pictures International (UPI) will distribute the movie internationally, in the second half of 2012.
Anna Karenina marks Mr. Wright’s third Working Title movie with Focus and UPI, following the award-winning boxoffice successes Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. Also for Working Title and UPI, he directed The Soloist; also for Focus, he most recently directed the hit adventure thriller Hanna.
Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing Anna Karenina with Paul Webster; the three were Academy Award nominees as the producers of Mr. Wright’s Best Picture-nominated Atonement. Also with Focus, Mr. Webster was a Golden Globe Award nominee as producer of Eastern Promises.
Keira Knightley, Academy Award-nominated for Pride & Prejudice, will star as Anna Karenina in her third collaboration with Mr. Wright. Ms. Knightley will be starring opposite two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law, as Anna’s husband Aleksei Karenin; and Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy), as Count Vronsky. Rounding out the cast will be Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1), Alicia Vikander (The Seventh Son), two-time Academy Award nominee Emily Watson, Olivia Williams (Hanna), and Ruth Wilson (Luther).
Also reteaming with Mr.Wright on Anna Karenina are Academy Award-winning composer Dario Marianelli, twice-Academy Award-nominated costume designer Jacqueline Durran, and three-time Academy Award-nominated production designer Sarah Greenwood. The cinematographer will be Academy Award winner Philippe Rousselot. Melanie Ann Oliver (Focus’ Jane Eyre) will edit the feature. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will be the choreographer on the movie.
The story unfolds in its original late-19th-century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna (Ms. Knightley) questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community.
Focus Features CEO James Schamus said, “Joe Wright is a master filmmaker, and with Tom Stoppard’s brilliant screenplay this Anna Karenina will be full of both pageantry and emotion. To realize Joe’s vision, we have the perfect producing partners in Working Title and Paul Webster, whose acumen is unsurpassed. With Keira Knightley playing this iconic role and a splendid cast supporting her, today’s moviegoers will be drawn to this powerful story.”
Mr. Bevan commented, “Everyone at Working Title is proud to affirm a longtime collaboration with Joe Wright through this, our fourth picture together. That we are able to re-convene cast and crew from Pride & Prejudice and Atonement makes it all the more exciting. We anticipate that this will be a defining screen version of Anna Karenina.”
Anna Karenina comes to theaters in 2012 and stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Saoirse Ronan, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Aaron Johnson, Olivia Williams, Andrea Riseborough. The film is directed by Joe Wright.