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November 2005
Pride & Prejudice: An Interview with Keira Knightley

Pride & Prejudice: An Interview with Keira Knightley

By Wilson Morales

ORIGINALLY IT WAS A LOVE STORY BETWEEN TWO GIRLS.

KNIGHTLEY: Yeah, I never read that version. You can only do the piece that's put in front of you. There's no point in going, oh but you left out Mr. Wickham, or oh, but she has a relationship with a woman. If you've seen 'Domino,' there's not really much room for anything else in it. It's a pretty full piece. So it's great, I know very little about Domino Harvey's actual life, I'm afraid I just went like, this is the script we're doing, and this is the character on the page, this is what I'm going to play. I didn't look into anything else, I just went, this is a new character, I'm making it up from scratch, that's fine, so I didn't focus on that, you'd have to ask somebody who knew her about any of that. It sounds like you could make a million different stories out of her life, and how fantastic. What's great is that I've got a film that I can say this marks an amazing woman, having been here, because God, she was amazing. And I only met her a couple of times, but I could tell that she was amazing. That's quite nice. But any story you do, any film, and there's always gonna be a million things that are left out. My mom's a writer, and reading some of her stuff, and then seeing what she has to cut out of it, is heartbreaking sometimes, because there are so many fantastic scenes and so many storylines, that just have to get chopped away. That's the nature of the beast.


HAVE THESE FILMS MADE YOU CURIOUS TO PLAY GAY IN A FILM?

KNIGHTLEY: Yeah, I mean I don't know - yes? If the script's good, yeah, why not?


WAS IT EASY GOING BACK TO 'PIRATES,' SINCE YOU HAD FAMILIARIT WITH THE CHARACTER?

KNIGHTLEY: No, it was weird. It was very weird. I mean, the whole point for me is to change as much as possible. If I've done one movie, I've like done that, move on. So it was really strange to go back to a part, and I've never had to do that before, so that whole kind of continuity of the character thing, and also, I am my biggest critic. I mean, you take my worst review that I've ever had and times it by ten, and that's where I put myself. And it's a fault, it's a huge fault. I hate the performances. So I change absolutely everything, and when you've got to go back, and kind of keep something the same that you don't like, and you want to change, kind of makes it a little bit weird. Saying that, it's quite nice, because then you go okay, I really didn't like that, so I can kind of change that now, that's quite good. Saying that, it's a character, I love that character, I really do, I do think she's quite different, because she's not your average heroine, she's not just the girl in the movie, she actually has a bit of bite to her, and I think that's fantastic, and that's fun, for me that's fun. So, it's a beautiful group of people, literally it's a beautiful group of people [laughs]. And it's a lovely the group to work with.


HOW DO YOU FEEL GIRLS IN AMERICA WILL RELATE TO FILMS ABOUT WOMEN IN ENGLAND?

KNIGHTLEY: Well I think with 'Pride and Prejudice,' you can set it anywhere, it's about things that aren't as relevant today as they were two hundred years ago, it's about growing up, it's about making mistakes, it's about falling in love for the first time, it's about a million different things. You can see that you can set this story anywhere, because you've got 'Bride and Prejudice,' the Bollywood version, you've got 'Bridget Jones,' you've got so many different versions of this story. I think it doesn't matter where you're from, we all need a bit of romance, so why not?


DO YOU FEEL PRESSURE TO GET MARRIED AND HAVE CHILDREN?

KNIGHTLEY: Oh God no, I'm from a very liberal upbringing, my mom's like no, you get a job, you support yourself, you never look to a man to support you.


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING CHILDREN ONE DAY?

KNIGHTLEY: I don't know, I think that'd be lovely.


DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE FILM THAT YOU KEEP NOW? ARE YOU CURTSYING MORE?

KNIGHTLEY: [laughs] Yes, I always curtsy.


EXPRESSIONS OR ANYTHING?

KNIGHTLEY: No, no. I'm weird. I mean, she's the sort of person, she comes up with all the put downs, but I always think, oh I should have said that, you know. She's a person that can actually come up with it really quickly, so I think she's still the person I want to be, and I'll never get there, I'm just not clever enough.


DID YOU LIKE BEING GIRLY AND RESERVED LIKE THAT?

KNIGHTLEY: I don't know, I thought that she was. You know, yeah, no I did, I love costume dramas, I do, I absolutely adore them. And I love going to see them, I can't wait for 'Memoirs of a Geisha.' It looks beautiful. But no, I really love - and I love performing in them, because in a funny kind of way, they kind of - you feel more free, because okay, you know about the period, you can read the books, you can see the paintings, but you've never actually gonna know what it was like, you're never gonna have been there, so there's always room for - you can kind of stretch those boundaries a bit. I mean, you do something that's modern day, and you go, but that wouldn't happen, I know what it's like living today, I know what this is like, you know what society is. It's kind of a little bit of room.


DID YOU GET TO TAKE ANYTHING HOME?

KNIGHTLEY: I got my stripe-y stockings. Which were my big thing, I was so - I wanted stripes for Elizabeth, I was really like obsessed about stripes, and Joe [Wright] was like, well we can't have every single one of your dresses striped, but I will give you stripe-y stockings. So all my stockings in the film were striped, so I got those. And I got, what else did I get? I got the boots, Lizzie always wears boots, she has green kind of boots, I got those.


IN THE SPECTRUM BETWEEN LIZZIE AND DOMINO, WHERE WOULD YOU PUT YOURSELF?

KNIGHTLEY: A little bit of both [laughs]. You know, I'm nothing like any of them and a bit like all of them. You bring yourself to every role, it doesn't matter who it is, it doesn't matter if it's a mass murderer, you can bring something to it. So a little bit of everything, I'll say.


WAS THE DANCING EASY FOR YOU?

KNIGHTLEY: The dancing, I loved that, I made myself look like an idiot. I mean, it was great, because we actually started rehearsals off with the dancing, and there's nothing that's going to break the ice more than everybody just looking so stupid. It's like, you don't know what to do with your limbs, and you say oh God this feels stupid. But no, I absolutely loved it, I really loved it, it was great.


WAS IT HARD TO GET DOWN?

KNIGHTLEY: It was, I mean, it was kind of difficult. The most difficult was the scene with Darcy where it's talking and dancing at the same time, and you know, you do it once, and it's difficult enough to remember the steps, and then they do it and they take the music away, so that you've got to say the lines, so you can get the lines, you're trying to remember what the music is and say the lines, and you're trying to work out when you can say the lines, because wait a minute now I move away over here, and you're over there. And then Joe took everyone else that we were dancing with away as well, so suddenly we had to dance with absolutely no one there and no music, and it was something like okay, I have no idea what we're doing now. So yeah, it was kind of quite difficult, I love that, I really, really love that.


WAS THAT THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE FILM?

KNIGHTLEY: Oh I wouldn't say it was the most difficult, it was actually my favorite.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT?

KNIGHTLEY: What was the most difficult thing? I thought it was probably the scene in the rain, the proposal scene. It was actually my favorite scene to shoot as well, but I think that was probably the most difficult, just because it was quite complex, what was - you know, you wanted to get that sexual tension between them, and you want to get the fact that they really fucking fancy each other, but they hate each other at the same time. And that kind of, sometimes you go too far in one direction and you have to put it back, but that's what's great about the job, is when it's difficult, it's fantastic.


DO YOU DIET A LOT TO KEEP UP THE HOLLYWOOD IMAGE?

KNIGHTLEY: No, I would be extremely stupid if I said that my looks had absolutely nothing to do with what I do, it's a visual medium. I'm perfectly aware of that, the face and the body help. Of course they do. At the moment, it is the trend fashion-wise to be thin. Fine. It's fine. I think that there's absolutely no point trying to force your body to be anything than what it is. I think that when you see people who are really pushing themselves to terrifying lengths to achieve what is perceived as being beautiful today, then that - it's just terrifying, it's really terrifying. I wouldn't do that, I'm naturally thin. I'm not working out at all at the moment, and the body hasn't fallen apart yet, so I'm assuming that we're all right. I'm young.


WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS A CELEBRITY WHEN YOU GO OUT?

KNIGHTLEY: Uh, I don't go out very much [laughs]. I don't know. I don't really, I mean I don't go into the kind of cool clubs.


WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO GO IN NEW YORK?

KNIGHTLEY: If I'm in New York, I have no idea whatsoever. I haven't got a clue. Some great restaurants, I love SoHo, I love it around there, it's fantastic. I'm not officially allowed to drink here.London's great, I can tell you all about London, I can tell you about the sleaziest bars in London. But actually you know what, I'm not going to, because if I do, then you'll know where I am. [laughs]


WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GREAT THINGS YOU'VE SEEN HERE IN NEW YORK?

KNIGHTLEY: Well honestly I haven't, I only ever come here to work, and normally I'm so tired I never actually go out. I don't go to do the fashion-y scenes in London, so I can only tell you about the sleazy ones, they're fantastic. Really good funk, kind of funk soul bars, that are like underground and dirty.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE opens on November 11th

 

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