Keira Knightley Biography

Keira Knightley Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Keira Christina Knightley" (pronounced ; born 26 March 1985) is an English film and television actress. She began her career as a child actress, and came to international prominence in 2003, after co-starring in the films "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl". Knightley has since become a notable lead actress, having appeared in several Hollywood films and earning an Academy Award nomination for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice".



Knightley appeared in several made-for-television films in the mid to late 1990s, before being cast as Sabé, Padmé Amidala's decoy, in the 1999 science fiction blockbuster "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace". Knightley was cast in the role due to her close resemblance to Natalie Portman, who played Padmé; the two actresses' mothers had difficulty telling their daughters apart when the girls were in full makeup. Knightley's first starring role followed in 2001, when she played the daughter of Robin Hood in a made-for-television Walt Disney Productions feature, "Princess of Thieves". During this time, Knightley also appeared in "The Hole", a thriller that received a direct-to-video release in the United States. She also appeared in a mini-series adaptation of "Doctor Zhivago" that first aired in 2002 to mixed reviews but high ratings.

Knightley's breakthrough role was in the English football-themed film, "Bend It Like Beckham", which was a success in its August 2002 UK release, grossing $18 million, and in its March 2003 U.S. release, grossing $32 million. After "Bend It Like Beckham"s UK release raised her profile, she was cast in the big budget action film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (along with Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp) which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and opened in July 2003 to positive reviews and high box office grosses, becoming one of the biggest hits of summer 2003 and cementing Knightley as the new 'It' girl.

Knightley had a role in the British romantic comedy "Love Actually", which opened in November 2003. Though charismatic, Miss Knightley's performance was overlooked in the crowded A-List cast. Her next film, "King Arthur", opened in July 2004 to negative reviews, scoring only 31% at Rotten Tomatoes. In the same month, Knightley was voted by readers of "Hello!" magazine as the movie industry's most promising teen star. Additionally, "Time" magazine noted in a 2004 feature that Knightley seemed dedicated to developing herself as a serious actress rather than a film star.

2005 would see the release of 3 films, the first of which was "The Jacket". The complex thriller starring Adrien Brody was derided by critics as unoriginal, silly and messy, scoring a disappointing 44%. Knightley was taken to task for her American accent but was otherwise dismissed by critics. Next would be Tony Scott's "Domino", an action film based on the life of bounty hunter Domino Harvey. The film would be Knightley's greatest critical flop to date, scoring only 17% positive reviews. Knightley's critics often suggested she was nothing more than a pretty face, which lead the young starlet to comment to "Elle" magazine, 'I always feel like I'm the one with everything to prove.? "Pride and Prejudice" would round out 2005, scoring a lively 85%. As iconic Elizabeth Bennet, Knightley would receive the greatest reviews of her career thus far. From "Variety": 'Looking every bit a star, Knightley, who's shown more spirit than acting smarts so far in her career, really steps up to the plate here, holding her own against the more classically trained Macfadyen (as well as vets like Blethyn, Sutherland and Judi Dench) with a luminous strength that recalls a young Audrey Hepburn. More than the older Ehle in the TV series, she catches Elizabeth's essential skittishness and youthful braggadocio, making her final conversion all the more moving.' The film would gross more than $100 million worldwide and Keira would earn a Golden Globe nomination and an Oscar nomination. It was noted that Keira was snubbed by the BAFTAs- a move which drew criticism from Pride and Prejudice producer Tim Bevan. Keira would ultimately lose both the Oscar and the Golden Globe to American actress Reese Witherspoon.

In 2006, Knightley was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Knightley's biggest financial hit thus far, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", was released on July 7 2006. On June 3 2007, Knightley was up for a MTV Movie Award for Best Performance but she lost to her co-star, Johnny Depp. She has recently completed filming in "Silk" (an adaptation of the novel by Alessandro Baricco) and "Atonement", a feature film adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel of the same name, co-starring James McAvoy, Vanessa Redgrave and Brenda Blethyn. Knightley's performance in "Atonement" began to generate buzz, before the film was released; it is said that she may well be nominated for another Oscar. Knightley most recently appeared in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End", which was released on May 24, 2007; she continued to film scenes for the film near the end of 2006.

In the late spring of 2007, Knightley shot "The Edge of Love" with Cillian Murphy as her husband, Matthew Rhys as her childhood sweetheart, Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, and Sienna Miller as Thomas' wife Caitlin MacNamara. This 2008 release was penned by her mother, Sharman Macdonald, and directed by John Maybury. She then began work on "The Duchess" in which she will play Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. She will then play Coco Chanel in a film about Chanel's life.

Media attention

As a result of her rapid rise to fame, Knightley has been the focus of significant media attention. She has been described by press reports as 'famously open with media', although Knightley herself has stated 'I don't talk about my private life.'

She was ranked #79 by "FHM" in the magazine's UK Edition 2004 100 Sexiest Women in the World list, #18 in 2005, and was ranked the sexiest woman in the world in 2006. The U.S. Edition ranked her #54 in 2004, #11 in 2005 and #5 in 2006. Knightley appeared nude along with Scarlett Johansson, on the cover of "Vanity Fair" magazine's March 2006 'Hollywood' issue. In May 2006, Knightley was #9 on "Maxim"s 2006 Hot 100.

Knightley was the celebrity face for the luxury goods brand Asprey, as well as Lux haircare products in Japanese television commercials. In April 2006, she was confirmed as the new celebrity face of Chanel's perfume 'Coco Mademoiselle', though the first photo from the campaign was not released until May 2007.

She is the subject of Glasgow band Endrick Brothers song 'Star of the Silver Screen' featured on their forthcoming album "Attraction versus Love". The song was written after a chance meeting at a party in Glasgow during the filming of "The Jacket".

Her Valentino gown at the 2006 Golden Globe Awards won her much acclaim and even landed her the top spot on Steven Cojocaru's 'Best Dressed List' on "Entertainment Tonight", while the dress she wore to the 2006 Academy Awards was recently donated to the charity Oxfam, where it raised £4,300.

Knightley has warned kids who dream of the celebrity life that it's not all it's cracked up to be. 'It frightens me when kids go, 'I want to be famous"

In a recent interview with the BBC Knightley said that she feels 'de-humanised'. She also said that when a person becomes a celebrity, the public doesn't care that the person's life is constantly watched.

While she has no current plans to leave the world of film, Knightley has said that she could not imagine subjecting a child to the media. While she is 'not planning to have children at the moment... everyone changes, and Knightley is sure there will be a time when she will want to do something different. She could completely see herself moving away from acting.'

Personal life

Knightley, who currently lives in London, is dating her "Pride and Prejudice" co-star, Rupert Friend. She has previously dated Irish fashion model Jamie Dornan, as well as actor Del Synnott, who, according to some reports, attempted suicide after their relationship ended, although Synnott and Knightley deny these claims.

She has denied rumors she is anorexic, although after her appearance at the "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" premiere led to media speculation that her extremely slender figure was due to an eating disorder, she noted that her family has a history of anorexia.

In July of 2006, Knightley said she has become a workaholic, detailing that 'the last five years have blended into one. I can't tell you what was last year and what was the year before' and specifying that she is 'working too much' and is 'quite frightened that if I continue at this rate I will start to hate what I love.' As a result, Knightley may take a one year break from acting to travel and focus on her personal life.

Knightley is a lifelong supporter of football team West Ham United F.C., and watches games in her local pub whenever possible. She has said that her favourite book is "War and Peace" and her favourite film is "All About Eve".

External links

Knightley's (CV) at PFD


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Keira Knightley.