Warning message

The subscription service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Keira Knightley | A Life in Pictures

The BAFTA-nominated actress discusses her career and provides insights into credits including Colette, Atonement, The Imitation Game, Pride & Prejudice and Bend It Like Beckham.

Development as an actress – mistakes can be golden

Seeing somebody that might make mistakes, I think that was one of the most important lessons of that point -  if you’re trying to be perfect the whole time then you just plateau and you’re not alive in the moment.

Judy Dench inadvertently gave Keira a valuable lesson about shaking perfection. During the filming of Pride & Prejudice, having forgot her lines, Dench would go back and repeat it until it was correct. Observing a revered actress stride through mistakes taught her resilience in the craft. 

Respect for the text

I’ve been obsessed with Pride & Prejudice since I was eleven  – I think it was a character I had!

Knightley’s stint as Elizabeth Bennet in the film adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1813 romantic novel Pride & Prejudice birthed strong friendships amongst the cast, including co-stars Simon Woods, Rosamund Pike and Talulah Riley who, much like Knightley, shared an obsession for the classic novel.

When life imitates art

I was 16 when I did the film and I felt very strongly about it. It stands alone in a way as that kind of thing that a mother might show their teenage daughter and be like ‘this is a great thing.’

Discussing the themes of Bend of It Like Beckham, which highlights the importance of inclusivity and prominent female voices, Knightley reflects on her early years of  activism. At just nine years old, she organized a protest in support of having a female football team at her primary school. A few years later  Knightley continued with her inner revolutionary spirit, choosing topics such as sexism in professional athletics for a school speech. Knightley’s passion for women’s right has naturally been a leading force in her choice of roles.