Join Date: Jun 2004
I've found a new interview with Keira. From the The Sunday Independent (Ireland):
Keira swaps chicken-fillet truth for some Hollywood diplomacy
Sunday July 25th 2004
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: Plays Guinevere as a tough warrior in King Arthur, above, and is a self-confessed tomboy off-screen too. She tries for a casual style rather than Hollywood glamour, as seen by her appearance for the premiere of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' in California
LAST year, most people had very little idea who Keira Knightley was, beyond a vague notion that she was the skinny girl in Bend it Like Beckham. But last summer we saw her first big Hollywood film, Pirates of the Caribbean , and that was it, America fell in love with her. There was her crisp English accent, her obvious intelligence but, above all, there was her confidence. She made eye contact with journalists, disagreed with them if she thought they were spouting waffle and was a breath of fresh air with her honest talk.
She told me how, when she was cast as Elizabeth Swann in 'Pirates', she was sure that they had made a mistake. She was convinced that she would be sacked and so only brought clothes for a week. On the shoot, she was stunned by her first Hollywood experience. She talked of the magical ways of her body make-up artist - how chicken fillets and shading gave her a great cleavage. "My bust was a complete fraud, I'm very glad to say," she boasted. And then shewas off again about her flat chest. "I don't have breasts, I have pecs."
All the self-deprecation disarmed hordes of cynical journalists. Knightley is a no-nonsense sort of girl - there are many reasons for her being that way, but her background explains it best. Her father is the actor Bill Knightley and her mother is the playwright Sharman McDonald. She got her level-headed approach to acting from her parents. "If you have five years of working constantly, that's beyond lucky," she has said. "I didn't go into this with fairy tale notions." But she did take great delight in telling us the fairy tale of how she came into existence. "My dad said to my mum, 'If you sell a script, we can have another child.' She wrote a play called When I Was a Girl, I used to Scream and Shout. She won various awards for it - and I was the child."
But a year is a long time, and now, on meeting Miss Knightley, there are changes. In the past year, she has graced several magazine covers, including Vanity Fair, the bible of American style. And in LA, where we now meet, the town is full of giant billboards for King Arthur, in which Keira is centre stage, as Guinevere in a leather bra with a bow and arrow in hand.
As she sits at the table she is full of chirpy small talk - but listen a little longer and you'll hear that Keira is not as unguarded as she once was. And alas, she has learnt the art of an actor's interview. She talks without actually saying very much. Not to mention the fact that she has suddenly become queen of diplomacy. Gone is the excited 18-year-old who slouched on a chair in the Dorchester Hotel and talked excitedly about her Hollywood experience. She is older, wiser, and works well at publicising the movie.
"The action is what it is all about. I loved being a warrior. I think the interesting thing about this Guinevere is that she is very strong, she's much stronger than we've ever seen a Guinevere before. I love playing strong women, and I loved her calculating manipulative vibe.
"I think there is a tradition in Hollywood at the moment for young female actionstars, and that's fine with me. But with this movie, I don't think that I wasthere simply because people want to see women fighting. I think it's great that, historically, she would have been a fighter - and there are theories that Guinevere would have been a princess from the North, and therefore a warrior. I thought that was a really interesting thing to play." OK, OK, we get it. She liked playing the part. But she doesn't seem to do much else except wax lyrical about the film. (And when you see it, you'll wonder why. If only they had spent as much time on the script as they did on the battles scenes.)
"I got to use swords and knives and axes and garrottes and bows and arrows. It was great that this wasn't a corseted, pouty part. It was veryreal, earthy. My wardrobe consisted of a floaty dress, rags and an interesting leather concoction which was a bit 'Conan the Barbarian'."
At this stage, Keira is beginning to sound a bit nerdish about it all. But then, weshouldn't be surprised - she was always a little different. During her teenage years, when all her friends hadposters of boybands and grunge figures on their wall, she had a single picture of Emma Thompson.
In this version of the King Arthur legend, there is verylittle of the love triangle involving king, queen and Lancelot. Rather it is suggested
'This is a very fickle industry and I am under no illusion that it can all go in a second'
in lots of tense glances. "Ido think we managed to make a connection without speaking. It was like doing asilent movie."
Keira does, however, getto have a love scene with King Arthur (Clive Owen). It is tame enough, as the film is rated 13PG. But it is hard to lose yourself in their passion, as Clive Owen's sparkling teeth upstage everything - they've been described as glow-in-the-dark.
Off-screen, Knightley claims to be a tomboy, and when we meet, she looks every inch the part, clad in a yellow Aertex T-shirt. All this dressing down is her way of saying that she will be herself and not tart up to be a starlet. Last summer, in a white vest which stopped above her concave stomach, she was casual too. But this time, she does not sound as secure in herself.
"I don't think I'm a perfect being by any stretch of the imagination. One of the reasons I couldn't live in LA is that when I am here, I feel pressured. Nothing has been said to me, but I feel it. And until I am strong enough to say, 'It's fine not to be stick-thin, it's fine not to drink wheatgrass all the time and it's fine to have a bit of a drink and even, occasionally, a cigarette' I'll live in England."
But Keira Knightley is stick-thin. And when I saythis to her, she blushes as if she is up there with Pavarotti in the weight department. Oh dear. How Hollywood can affect a girl.
But Keira knows that she is suddenly the one they all adore. Jerry Bruckheimer has high praise for her: "There are a lot of beautiful girls around the world but the problem is they can't turn off who they are when the camera turns on. Keira is very natural in front of the camera - when she becomes a character, you don't see any of the wheels turn."
She is, however, bright enough not to get a swelled head. "It's very nice to be a flavour of the month. This is great, this is a laugh and I am enjoying it and it's lovely to be in a film that you can stand there and say, 'I had a great time and I'm really proud of the film.' But this is a very fickle industry and I am under no illusion that it can all go in a second. That's the nature of the beast and it's almost what makes it so romantic a profession. But it is like being in any other self-employed profession, you never know what's going to happen."
I listen to her and think, 'what has happened to Keira Knightley?' as she tells one journalist, "I'm not under contract to Jerry Bruckheimer, (who made Pirates andKing Arthur ), but I like him very much." It is as if Keira Knightley has gone to a publicist's finishing school. Everything that comes out of her mouth sounds premeditated and every second line is a plug forthe film.
I guess she's just grown up.
King Arthur opens in cinemas on Friday