Keira Knightley: ‘Maybe I’m childish in that way, I don’t want to know about your life’

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Keira Knightley covers the February issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK. She’s promoting Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the latest reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise with Chris Pine at the helm. Keira plays Jack’s girlfriend who tags along on a trip to Russia and chaos ensues. I was a little surprised that Keira would sign on to that kind of role in this kind of Hollywood franchise, but maybe it just goes along with the “lighter” Keira we’ve been seeing for the past few years. She used to be so serious and morose, but around the time she got together with James Righton, she just seemed to have more fun with her life. It’s nice. Anyway, you can read the Bazaar UK piece here, and here are some highlights:

On feminism: “I think it’s great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had [about feminism], as opposed to anybody mentioning feminism and everybody going, ‘Oh, f***ing shut up.’ Somehow, it [feminism] became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it’s great that we’re coming out of that.”

She’s often the only woman in an all-male cast: She often finds herself “walking into a room, and talking about why my character is saying this, but I’ll be talking about it to a room of five guys. I’ve lost most of the arguments.”

She needs a wife: “I go to work at 5.30 in the morning; I wouldn’t get back probably until nine o’clock at night. Most of the guys that I talk to – and I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about it – they say [whispers], ‘My wife does everything.’ You think, ‘Why wasn’t I thinking about this five years ago?’” Instead, she was “worrying about a boyfriend and s–t…”

Hollywood needs more powerful women: “Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don’t think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles… they’re still pretty few and far between.” After 20 years of experience (she started acting at the age of 7), Knightly wonders whether she might move behind the camera, and gain more control. “As I get older I get more interested by it… There is a lot of ‘You do what you’re told’ [as an actor]. After watching it and being part of it for so long, you start going, ‘I wonder if there is a journey to the other side.’ I don’t know if there is, but I’m interested in seeing people who have done it.”

Working on Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: It involved “lots of running” and is “a piece of popcorn” kind of movie, by which she means big-budget blockbuster material. “Sometimes,” she explains, “people need pieces of popcorn, and sometimes people need to make pieces of popcorn.” This particular piece of popcorn has been made by one of Knightly’s heroes, director Kenneth Branagh, who dispelled any feelings of shame that Knightly may have had about making a blockbuster for blockbuster’s sake, she says. “He [Branagh] was like, ‘Don’t feel guilty… it’s going to be a Hollywood action film, that’s what it’s going to be, and that’s fine.’ It was quite liberating hearing him say that.”

Learning to chill out: For years, Knightly says, she sought public approval and it is only recently that she has learnt to “chill out an awful lot” and worry less about someone telling her she was doing a good job “[I was] spending so much time being neurotic and beating myself up [that I thought] actually, if I didn’t, I might get further by just going, ‘Oh, f–k it.’” Of her propensity for self-doubt, she says, “It’s an English trait, isn’t it?” – and perhaps for her it is also the legacy of the overachieving schoolgirl used to pats on the head and gold stars. She was always a keen worker, she says, but “I wish I hadn’t been. Life would have been so much easier.

She likes the consistency of being married: “These words that you think beforehand, ‘That’s the reason I’ll never do it’… those words that you see as completely negative, and you suddenly see them as being incredibly positive, and that’s actually quite liberating and quite nice.”

Signing on for Twitter but deleting her account after 12 hours: Tired of hearing friends bang on about Twitter, she signed up under a false name – an experiment that lasted 12 hours. “It made me feel a little bit like being in a school playground and not being popular and standing on the sidelines kind of going, ‘Argh.’”

Does she consider herself “haughty”: “No, I think that’s fine… I like being private. I haven’t asked a lot of the actresses who I really admire, ‘How do you do it?’ because I don’t want to know. Maybe I’m childish in that way; I just don’t want to know about your life.” The work, she concludes, is all that matters.

[From Harper’s Bazaar UK]

I like the sort of malapropism of “a piece of popcorn movie.” It’s cute the way she explains it. As for her feminism and her desire to see more powerful women in Hollywood… I agree. And I don’t think it’s just lip-service from Keira either. Think about Keira’s career and how much diverse work she’s done over the past 12 years – she’s seen the movie industry from a lot of different angles, she’s played the game at times and she’s shunned the game at times, figuring it out on her own terms. You know what I’d like? I like to see her pair with some powerhouse female director like Kathryn Bigelow on something really awesome. I think Keira would learn a lot.

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Photos courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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55 Responses to “Keira Knightley: ‘Maybe I’m childish in that way, I don’t want to know about your life’”

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  1. break says:

    I am glad that unlike Olivia Wilde, Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson, Keira hasn’t had implants. It expresses a kind of confidence that the others don’t have. I guess there’s even more pressure now for women with tiny frames to buy themselves bolt-ons, if they want parts in movies.

    • betsy11 says:

      Same here. Being about Keira’s size myself, I’ve always loved that she kept her natural breasts. You just don’t see many actresses under a C cup.

      • IzzyB says:

        I have a lot of respect for her and Julia Styles for not caving and having surgery.

        As a 32A, I considered surgery a lot until I got older and found out a lot of men prefer smaller breasts. I was completely astounded, the media had bombarded me with the exact opposite message my whole life.

        I’m very happy with my boobs now, apart from trying on the occasional low cut top which is a size 6 but made for a DD (fashion industry needs to rethink that).

    • Zbornak Syndrome says:

      I think “bolt ons” are actually a detractor for women getting parts in movies. For the most part, they look unnatural and most directors don’t want that.

      And just because someone chooses to have plastic surgery doesn’t mean they have no confidence. I am opinionated on this matter because I had reconstruction surgery over almost 3 years ago, and I met some of the loveliest women in my surgeons office (who were there for cosmetic reasons). That’s like saying, “Well, if she had any self confidence she wouldn’t wear/hide behind makeup”. Honey, they can have my mascara when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

      It’s getting old being so resentful of women who choose to go under the knife. Some women tan, wear push up bras, sport weaves, acrylic nails, wear high heels, and the list could go on and on. For most it’s about self improvement and wanting to be what is right for them. It’s just some women choose to do it surgically. Like I said, I met some of the most confident women I know in my surgeons office. Most were Mothers wanting a lift after they were done having babies. It doesn’t mean that anyone else should feel pressure to do the same anymore than any other female ritual of pruning.

      • DTX says:

        Love your comment…I agree completely, especially about mascara!!!!

      • Liv says:

        You can’t compare putting on make up and having something pushed in your breasts. Beauty surgerys are surgerys. They shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s pretty hard to resist the pressure of our society though. I understand that people who had accidents or people like Angelina Jolie get beauty surgerys, but beautiful women with small breasts shouldn’t get implants just because society is telling them to do so.

    • Anna says:

      Are we sure Olivia and Kate had implants…?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Olivia Wilde doesn’t have implants.

  2. Ice Maiden says:

    Although Kiara actually seems like quite a nice person, in some ways she reminds me of Natalie Portman. She’s obviously beautiful, but in a cold, soulless sort of way. And despite the fact that she keeps getting cast in high-profile roles (like Portman) she’s a horrible actress.

    • jinni says:

      You are so right about Portman. I just watched Thor 2 last weekend and once again her character and her relationship with Thor was so unbelievably bland. When you care for side characters like Darcy and Erik Selvig more than the main people you know the actors playing the main characters are crap.

      I wish they’d at least stop casting KK in all of the period piece roles, she ruins the movie every time.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Yup. Portman and Knightley are two actresses who put me off going to see a film, even if I’d otherwise be interested in it. That’s not such a problem with Portman, as I can’t remember the last film of hers that I’ve really wanted to see, but Knightley is so often cast in major, interesting roles which she simply doesn’t have the acting talent for. I’m sincerely hoping she’s kept well away from the Anne Boleyn role in the upcoming BBC adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’. Preferably about a million miles away!

      • Beth says:

        True about Thor 2, but then it’s hard to pay attention to anyone else when Loki is on screen. He is burdened with glorious purpose, after all.

      • jinni says:

        @Ice Maiden: I heard about Wolf Hall too and hope she doesn’t get offered the part.

        @Beth: I kind of wish TH had been given the role as Thor because I’m sure he would have made it interesting unlike CH. Oh well at least I have Loki.

      • GeeMoney says:

        Interesting you guys are comparing the two… Keira was Natalie’s decoy queen in Star Wars Episode 1. They very much resemble each other!

    • Spooks says:

      They are quite similar, but I always thought Keira is so much more beautiful. I loved almost all of her movies ( she’s my favourite Elizabeth Bennet), and I like her in most interviews. She doesn’t seem as self-important as Portman.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        I agree that Knightley (judging by what little we can tell from her interviews) comes across as a much nicer person than the insufferable Portman, but, if anything, I think Portman is the less awful actress – not that that’s saying much. And looks-wise I think they are similar in that both are exquisitely beautiful, but yet somehow totally lacking in allure or sex appeal.

      • CC says:

        I agree Spooks. And I’ve never seen Keira in something and thought she was awful. She was great in everything.
        Speaking of Elizabeth Bennet, has anyone seen Death Comes to Pemberley?

      • Spooks says:

        I watched DCTP, CC! I really liked it. Especially Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Darcy. And the scenery was breathtaking. Did you like it?

    • Maria says:

      I don’t think she’s soulless and I’m glad she’s embracing being a feminist but I do agree about her acting it’s off putting to say the very least.

      I was watching A Dangerous Method the other day and was so put off her performance, ugh. Portman is another actress I will never get, ever.

      She’s just as bland.

      • Obvious says:

        Kiera played Natalie’s double in one of the Star Wards Movies. When Natalia is playing the handmaiden, look close, it’s Kiera. Fun fact right?

        I prefer Kiera to the Natalie we have today. I miss the Natalie circa “Where the Heart Is” that is still one of my favorite movies.

    • Dutch says:

      You aren’t the only one. Remember Kiera played Portman’s bodyguard/double in Star Wars Episode 1. So the resemblance is more than passing.

  3. Emma says:

    Why is it shocking that she’s doing the Jack Ryan movie? She starred in the Pirates franchise for a while as well. Not exactly high art.

    • jinni says:

      Exactly. She was one of the main characters in three Pirates films, so I don’t get why Barangh would have to calm her down and make her feel better about being in a big blockbuster movie. Elizabeth Swann is probably the character most people would recognize her for. She’s just being extra.

      • Patricia says:

        Haha Jinni I love when people use the word “extra” that way. And you’re right, she’s all kinds of extra!

  4. nico says:

    I like her but think she is often miscast in films. She was good in Atonement, but I hated her as Anna Karenina. That entire film was a huge disappointment.

  5. Launicaangelina says:

    I recently re-watch “Seeking A Friend for the End of the World”. I love that movie, although it’s a pretty grim concept. I like her and tend to enjoy her in lower key movies. I’ve never been into the Pirates movies.

  6. Beth says:

    I like both Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley. There are worse actresses. I’m interested to see if she’s got any chemistry with Benedict Cumberbatch. I mean, she’s got a pulse, so she’s bound to.

  7. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    Those brown platform sandals rock!

  8. Dani says:

    I love her. I don’t know why people don’t like her in period movies. I thought she was amazing in Pride and Prejudice.

    • Mel says:

      Love love love her as Lizzy!!! I could watch that movie all day. I also really liked her in Atonement and Never let me go. I also agree that there are much worse actresses out there that also keep getting roles. I think she beautiful in a different kind of way but my mother always talks about how awful her mouth is, idk. To each their own I guess.

      • Ag-UK says:

        Her jaw is weird puts me off. Her in a film won’t make me run to buy a ticket though depends on who else is in the film as well.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I think she’s sometimes so stereotyped as the go to for female leads in certain films that she gets cast in roles that don’t really suit her. She was great in Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, but I didn’t think she was all that suited to Anna Karenina.

    • Whereas I really didn’t like her or that movie.

    • nico says:

      She was ok in the part. Jennifer Ehle is still my favorite Lizzy.

  9. bns says:

    She’s so overrated. I’m glad she’s not all over the media anymore.

    • GeeMoney says:

      Her and Scarlett Johansson at one point in time were all over the place… and I thought that they were a little overrated too. But I do think that both women are good actresses. Keira a little more than Scarlett, though. I loved her in The Duchess.

  10. Siddhi says:

    Gorgeous styling, except for the plaid tights.

  11. GeeMoney says:

    “For years, Knightley says, she sought public approval and it is only recently that she has learnt to “chill out an awful lot”

    She probably feels this way more now that she’s a little older. I began to feel more confident with who I was and I chilled out a little as I got closer to 30.

    Just wait, Keira… it gets even better as you get into your 30′s.

  12. yennefer says:

    She’s my girl crush since forever. Beautiful, intelligent, talented, and a good interview. if she is seeking for a wife, she can marry me.

  13. MissNostalgia says:

    Girl, I am with you! I don’t want to hear anybody’s complaints for 2014!

  14. Naddie says:

    She gets good roles, but her acting never stands out. I think she’s heavy handed, but not talentless.

  15. Helvetica says:

    Beautiful dress on the cover.

    I have often said the same thing about having a wife. :)

    Love this chick. She is so classy.

  16. Claire says:

    She has grown on me so much. I couldn’t stand her until ‘Atonement’ – in that green dress she was amazing. I refused for ages to see ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and was very pleasantly surprised. Then liked her in The Duchess. I think she works really well in period pieces. ‘Searching for a Friend for the end of the world’ was cool – never thought she would work so well against Steve Carrell. So yes she has made me do a full 360 degree turn around. Also that movie were they are breed for organs – that was really good.

  17. A Mascarada says:

    She’s exquisitely beautiful. I had no particular opinion but I really started to appreciate her after her wedding. So simple and classy wearing that same Chanel dress. And since we’re comparing her with Nathalie Portaman (whom I like as well)… unlike Portman I think she has great chemistry with all her partners on screen.
    And she’s definitely my favorite Elizabeth Bennet.

  18. GByeGirl says:

    I’m utterly neutral towards her.