Keira Knightley Biography
Birth name - Keira Christina Knightley
Date of birth - March 26, 1985
Teddington, Middlesex, England, UK
Sometimes Credited As: Kiera Knightley
Height - 5' 7" (1.70 m)
Keira Knightley photo gallery
Keira Christina Knightley was born in the South London suburb of Richmond on March 26th 1985. She is the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald. An older brother, Caleb, was born in 1979. Brought up immersed in the acting profession from both sides - writing and performing - it is little wonder that the young Keira asked for her own agent at the age of three. She was granted one at the age of six and performed in her first TV role as Little Girl in Royal Celebration (1993) (TV), aged seven. It was discovered at an early age that Keira had severe difficulties in reading and writing. She was not officially dyslexic as she never sat the formal tests required of the British Dyslexia Association. Instead she worked incredibly hard, encouraged by her family, until the problem had been overcome by her early teens.
Her first multi-scene performance came in A Village Affair (1994), an adaptation of the lesbian love story by Joanna Trollope. This was followed by small parts in British crime series "The Bill" (1984), an exiled German princess in Treasure Seekers (1996) (TV) and a much more substantial role as the young Judith Dunbar in Giles Foster's adaptation of Rosamunde Pilcher's novel Coming Home (1998) (TV), alongside 'Peter O' Toole' , Penelope Keith and Joanna Lumley. The first time Keira's name was mentioned around the world was when it was revealed (in a plot twist kept secret by director George Lucas) that she played Natalie Portman's decoy Padme to Portman's Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).
It was several years before agreement was reached over which scenes featured Keira as the queen and which Natalie! Keira had no formal training as an actress and did it out of pure enjoyment. She went to an ordinary council-run school in nearby Teddington and had no idea what she wanted to do when she left. By now she was beginning to receive far more substantial roles and was starting to turn work down as one project and her schoolwork was enough to contend with. She reappeared on British television in 1999 as Rose Fleming in Alan Bleasdale's faithful reworking of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" (1999) (mini), and travelled to Romania to film her first title role in Disney's Princess of Thieves (2001) (TV) in which she played Robin Hood's daughter Gwyn.
Keira's first serious boyfriend was her Thieves co-star Del Synnott, and they later co-starred in Peter Hewitt' 's 'work of fart' Thunderpants (2002). Nick Hamm's dark thriller The Hole (2001) kept her busy during 2000, and featured her first nude scene (15 at the time, the film was not released until she was 16 years old).
In the summer of 2001, while Keira studied and sat her final school exams (she received six As) she filmed a movie about an Asian girl's (Parminder Nagra) love for football and the prejudices she has to overcome regarding both her culture and her religion.) Bend It Like Beckham (2002) was a smash hit in football-mad Britain but it had to wait until another of Keira's films propelled it to the top end of the US box office. Bend It cost just £3.5m to make, and nearly £1m of that came from the British Lottery. It took £11m in the UK and has since gone on to score more than US$76m worldwide. Meanwhile, Keira had started A-levels at Esher College, studying Classics, English Literature and Political History, but continued to take acting roles which she thought would widen her experience as an actress. The story of a drug-addicted waitress and her friendship with the young son of a drug-addict, Pure (2002), occupied Keira from January to March 2002. Also at this time, Keira's first attempt at Shakespeare was filmed. She played Helena in a modern interpretation of a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream entitled The Seasons Alter (2002). This was commissioned by environmental organisation Futerra, of which Keira's mother is patron. Keira received no fee for this performance, or for another short film, New Year's Eve (2002), by award-winning director Colin Spector.
But it was a chance encounter with producer Andy Harries at the London premiere of Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) which forced Keira to leave her studies and pursue acting full-time. The meeting lead to an audition for the role of Larisa Feodorovna Guishar - the classic heroine of Boris Pasternak' 's novel "Doctor Zhivago" (2002) (mini), played famously in the David Lean movie by Julie Christie. This was to be a big-budget TV movie with a screenplay written by Andrew Davies. Keira won the part and the mini-series was filmed throughout the Spring of 2002 in Slovakia, co-starring Sam Neill and Hans Matheson as Yuri Zhivago. Keira rounded off 2002 with a few scenes in the first movie to be directed by Blackadder and Vicar of Dibley writer Richard Curtis. Called Love Actually (2003), Keira played Juliet, a newlywed whose husband's Best Man is secretly besotted with her.
A movie filmed after Love Actually but released before it was to make the world sit up and take notice of this beautiful fresh-faced young actress with a cute British accent. It was a movie which Keira very nearly missed out on altogether. Auditions were held in London for a new blockbuster movie called Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), but heavy traffic in the city forced Keira to be tagged on to the end of the day's auditions list. It helped - she got the part. Filming took place in Los Angeles and the Caribbean from October 2002 to March 2003 and was released to massive box office success and almost universal acclaim in the July of that year. Meanwhile, a small British film called Bend It Like Beckham (2002) had sneaked onto a North American release slate and was hardly setting the box office alight. But Keira's dominance in Pirates had set tongues wagging and questions being asked about the actress playing Elizabeth Swann. Almost too late, Bend It's distributors realised one of its two stars was the same girl whose name was on everyone's lips due to Pirates, and took the unusual step of re-releasing Bend It to 1,000 screens across the US, catapulting it from no. 26 back up to no. 12. Pirates, meanwhile, was fighting off all contenders at the top spot, and stayed in the Top 3 for an incredible 21 weeks.
It was perhaps no surprise, then, that Keira was on producer Jerry Bruckheimer's wanted list for the part of Guinevere in a planned accurate telling of the legend of King Arthur. Filming took place in Ireland and Wales from June to November 2003. In July Keira had become celebrity face of British jeweller and luxury goods retailer Asprey.
At a photoshoot for the company on Long island New York in August Keira met and fell in love with Northern Irish model Jamie Dornan. King Arthur (2004) was released in July 2004 to lukewarm reviews. It seems audiences wanted the legend after all, and not necessarily the truth. Keira became the breakout star' and 'one to watch in 2004' throughout the world's media at the end of 2003.
Keira's 2004 started off in Scotland and Canada filming 'John Maybury 's time-travelling thriller The Jacket (2005) with Oscar-winner Adrien Brody. A planned movie of Deborah Moggach's novel, Tulip Fever, about forbidden love in 17th Century Amsterdam, was cancelled in February after the British government suddenly closed tax loopholes which allowed filmmakers to claw back a large proportion of their expenditure. Due to star Keira and Jude Law in the main roles, the film remains mothballed. Instead, Keira spent her time wisely, visiting Ethiopia on behalf of the Comic Relief charity, and spending summer at various grandiose locations around the UK filming what promises to be a faithful adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel _Pride and Prejudice (2005)_ , alongside Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy, and with Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench in supporting roles.
In October 2004, Keira received her first major accolade, the Hollywood Film Award for Best Breakthrough Actor - Female. The remainder of 2004 saw Keira once again trying a completely new genre, this time the part-fact, part-fiction life story of model turned bounty hunter Domino (2005). Her pre-contracted sequel clause from the original Pirates movie meant the production of not one, but two sequels were already in the works. Pre-production started in February, and Keira started filming - again in Los Angeles and the Caribbean - from mid-March onwards. Filming is expected to wrap in January of 2006 with _Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest_ (2006) due for a Summer 2006 release and _Pirates of the Caribbean 3_ (2007) for Summer 2007.
More Interesting Information for Keira Knightley
Daughter of actor Will Knightley.
Member of the Heathham House Youth Project.
Younger sister of Caleb Knightley
Trained in dancing.
The similarity between her and Natalie Portman, meant that during the filming of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), their own mothers could not tell them apart once in makeup.
Her role as the decoy queen in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) was kept secret in order to not spoil the surprise, it was maintained through the promotions that Portman played both the Queen and the decoy.
Supports West Ham United
Mother is actress-turned-author Sharman Macdonald, who wrote 'When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream And Shout' and 'The Winter Guest'.
Tatler announced that Keira is the most desirable single woman in the UK (2004).
Has dyslexia. She had to wear special glasses in adolescence to help her read.
The most glamorous film actress chosen by magazine Glamour (2004)
The Royal Shakespeare Company of Stratford, England, held a 2004 poll asking movie viewers to vote for the actor and actress they would love to see play Romeo and Juliet, and the winners were Knightley and James Marsters. More than 2,000 people voted for more than 150 different actors for both roles. Keira triumphed over Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, and Juliet Landau in the vote. Knightley said, "I am absolutely thrilled to have come top of the poll, particularly as Juliet is a role I would very much love to play in the future." (April 23, 2004)
Shares a birthday with actress Amy Smart, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and singer Diana Ross.
Voted #1 in New Woman magazine's 50 Most Beautiful Celebs 2004.
Was born on same day as poet Robert Frost.
Shares birthday with playwright Tennessee Williams.
Voted The Sexiest Film Star of All Time by Empire magazine poll. [September 2004]
She did her first nude scene at the age of 16, in The Hole (2001).
Auditioned for, and was accepted to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in London, England.
At 16, she went to Esher College to study for her A Levels, but quit the course when offered the role of Lara in "Doctor Zhivago" (2002) (mini).
Voted #18 in FHM 100 Sexiest Women 2005
Credits her dark looks to her mother's Black Scottish heritage, who were descendants of the Spanish Armada
She's an idol in several forum communities from Heavengames.com, one of the most famous websites about Real Time Strategy computer games.
When auditioning for the role of Jackie Price in The Jacket (2005), she had suffered food poisoning a few days earlier. She decided to audition anyway and the film makers liked her "acting" for the scene, as Jackie Price was to be a woman with many issues of loss and pain as well as being physically sick in general.
She has bought a flat in Richmond Upon Thames (2005) but has said to have only have spent a few weeks there. However, she plans to fill it with her own painted canvases.
Voted second most sexiest voice, behind Sir Sean Connery, in a poll by the UK's Royal National Institute for the Blind, commissioned to celebrate 70 years of their Talking Books service.
Named #53 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list.
The Daily Mirror named her "Actress of the Year" in December 2005.
At age 20, she is the third youngest woman to be nominated for Best Actress in Oscar history.
As of February 2006, says she plans on remaining living in London and will not move to Los Angeles to further her career in American films.
Friend of Sienna Miller.
Loves to collect shoes
Friend of the Italian actor Andrea Logiudice
Was considered for the role of Kate Meer in Neil James's "Ghost Seeker: Genesis", in 2006. Both Lindy King (Knightly's agent) and Knightly herself liked the script, but the shooting schedule of "Pirates 3" meant that the project had to move on without
Personal quotes from Keira Knightley
"The problem for me was that by being in the film the magic was broken. I loved the first Star Wars film and my mum was really into it too, that's why I took the part. But the Force wasn't there when we were filming it, and they didn't have real light sabres, which annoyed me."
(about wearing a corset on Pirates of the Caribbean) "I had a Scarlet O'Hara thing, she gets her waist down to 18 and a half inches - so I thought I would try that. For 5 minutes it's fantastic - you have this tiny waist and fantastic cleavage, but oxygen deprivation is a big problem!"
(About kissing Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean) There were these teenaged girls off-cam, and they were ready to kill me because I kissed Orlando Bloom!
"I feel less blonde now and, er, smarter!"
"There's no point having an 18th birthday in America."
"I've always been a snob about qualifications."
(on BILB) "I thought there would be doubles - stunt doubles - and I would just run in for the close-ups, but unfortunately they didn't have the money for that."
"Apparently on the Internet I'm a sexy beanpole, tomboy beanpole."
(after being called the new Hayley Mills) "That was cruel! Nothing against Hayley Mills, but I'm trying to be cool here. I'm trying to be edgy."
"Do you know that on all the sets I've been on, nobody has ever made a pass at me?"
(on shoes) "I see a pair of shoes I adore, and it doesn't matter if they have them in my size. I buy them anyway."
(on The View) "I met Barbara Walters backstage and didn't know who she was. She's an American phenomenon, I was told later. I'm just sooo English."
(at a photo shoot) "I'm a hooker in these pictures, and I must be a high priced one because I'm staying at the Ritz, which is good."
"I'm a tomboy beanpole? I can't use a computer, so maybe I'm a bit out of the loop. I don't know whether to be flattered or not flattered. The beanpole bit, is that good? Can you be a sexy beanpole?"
"Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh are my heroes. Not because of their ability, but because of their perseverance."
"When in doubt, faint."
"We had kind of done all our wedding and we felt like the stars of the show, then sudden you've got all these other people with storylines and you think: excuse me, I know you're Alan Rickman but get out of my film, please, thank you."
I know for a fact the work is going to dry up, and people will get bored of me. That's not bitterness, just the truth.
(On her conception) I was a bet. My mum was desperate for another child, and my dad told her that the only way they could afford to have one was if she sold a play. So Mum wrote When I Was a Girl, I Used to Scream and Shout.
I don't think I can call myself an actress yet. I just don't think my skill level is that high. I hope that with every job it gets better. But until I'm good, I can say I'm trying to be an actor, but I don't think I've completely made it.
As a moviegoer and a woman, I want to see that, so it's great to get to play parts like that. But Guinevere is a terrifying creature. If I saw a battle, I'd run in the other direction. I'm not strong in that way at all. But I'm certainly someone who has always known what I wanted and tried to get it.
In this business, fame lasts for a second. You can be blown up and be blown down. People keep losing interest in faces because new ones come along every single second. I'm one at the moment. Tomorrow I won't be. That's cool. I'm not saying that when it does end, I'll be like, 'Yay! It's ending.' But I'll move on and do something else because that's what has to be done. It's about survival. If you're sad about it, then you're in the wrong job.
(On actresses living in Hollywood) I take my hat off to actresses there, particularly the young ones, because the emphasis is on trying to find perfection. But I think it's the imperfections in people that make them perfect. I don't find perfect faces very interesting.
Acting requires me to be very observant, which means being able to sit in cafes for hours and watch people.
"I don't have a problem with my body. I'm not just going to strip off all my clothing, but if the part calls for it and I don't think there's any way round, I'm absolutely fine."
"I'm a bit of a tomboy so the action stuff was fantastic."
It's also strange when people recognise you in the street and they know you but you don't know them. It's a little weird, but nothing to complain about.
I'd wanted to get stuck into the action on Pirates of the Caribbean and I asked Jerry if I could have a sword fight in that, and he more than made up for it in King Arthur by giving me axe fights, knife fights and all the rest of it. I absolutely loved it. It was like being 11 years old and in the playground again.
It was part of the job. There's no point in being embarrassed about it because that is the name of the game. It was just another day at the office. A very nice day at the office. [On the love scene with Clive Owen in 'King Arthur']
I don't think about nutrition. The very thought of a diet makes me want chips and ice cream. And I just hate going to the gym. I cannot stand it.
The fact that we haven't focused on the love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere was actually one of the things that made me want to do the film. It's interesting to tell it in a completely new way.
"Every part I've ever got, I always thought it was completely ridiculous that I was up for it. With Pirates, I only packed for a week because I was sure that I was going to get sacked. I thought they'd made the hugest mistake."
"We're all fans of cinema, you know. Forget about being an actor, I love watching films. I really do. That's what I love doing, as a hobby. I find the whole process fascinating, as do my parents, they go to the cinema a lot."
"I don't do a thing to keep fit, I just cannot make myself work out. My abs are just luck - my mum has good ones so it's a family trait."
"I don't read any magazines or newspapers any more, because I find it really scary and I get really scared when I'm followed by photographers. I have, on many occasions, broken down in tears because I find it terrifying. I dropped out of school when I was 16 so there's nothing else that I can do."
"I don't like parties very much. I'm not a very sociable being."
Keira Knightley Filmography
Actress - filmography
(In Production) (2000s) (1990s)
Atonement (2007) .... Cecilia Tallis
Movie Outline: A young man is accused of assaulting his girlfriend's kid sister.
Based on the novel by Ian McEwan.
Silk (2007) .... Helene Joncour
Movie Outline: A dark love story about a French silkworm merchant who travels to Japan and begins having an affair with a Nobleman's concubine, leaving his faithful wife alone in war-torn France.
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (2007) .... Elizabeth Swann
Movie Outline: Elizabeth is captured by the oriental pirate Sao-Feng, while more problems surface and other rescues must be staged.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) .... Elizabeth Swann
Movie Outline: Jack owes an unpaid debt to Davy Jones and his army of sea-phantoms...his soul. Now, he must find a way to save himself from becoming one of them, and suffering forever.
Domino (2005) .... Domino Harvey
Pride & Prejudice (2005) .... Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Bennet
The Jacket (2005) .... Jackie Price
Stories of Lost Souls (2005) .... Leah (segment New Year's Eve)
King Arthur (2004) .... Guinevere
... aka King Arthur: Director's Cut (USA: DVD title (director's cut))
Love Actually (2003) .... Juliet
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) (VG) (voice) .... Narrator
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) .... Elizabeth Swann
Gaijin (2003) (V) (voice) .... Kate
The Seasons Alter (2002) .... Helena
"Doctor Zhivago" (2002) (mini) TV Series .... Lara Antipova (neé Guishar)
New Year's Eve (2002) .... Leah
Pure (2002) .... Louise
Thunderpants (2002) (uncredited) .... Music School Student
... aka Donderbroek (Netherlands)
... aka Incroyable histoire de Patrick Smash, L' (France)
Bend It Like Beckham (2002) .... Juliette 'Jules' Paxton
... aka Kick It Like Beckham (Germany)
The Hole (2001) .... Frances 'Frankie' Almond Smith
... aka After the Hole (USA)
Princess of Thieves (2001) (TV) .... Gwyn
Deflation (2001) .... Jogger
"Oliver Twist" (1999) (mini) TV Series (as Kiera Knightley) .... Rose Fleming
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) .... Sabé (queen's decoy)
... aka Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (USA: video box title)
... aka The Phantom Menace (USA: short title)
Coming Home (1998) (TV) .... Young Judith
... aka Heimkehr (Germany)
... aka Rosamunde Pilcher - Heimkehr (Germany)
Treasure Seekers (1996) (TV) .... The Princess
Innocent Lies (1995) .... Young Celia
... aka Péchés mortels, Les (France)
- Swan Song (1995) TV Episode .... Sheena Rose
A Village Affair (1994) .... Natasha Jordan
Royal Celebration (1993) (TV) .... Little Girl
... aka Screen One: Royal Celebration (UK: series title)
Filmography as: Actress, Miscellaneous Crew, Herself, Archive Footage
Miscellaneous Crew - filmography
Thunderpants (2002) (very special thanks)
... aka Donderbroek (Netherlands)
... aka Incroyable histoire de Patrick Smash, L' (France)
Deflation (2001) (grip)
Herself - filmography
... aka E.T. (USA: informal title)
... aka ET Weekend (Australia: weekend title)
... aka Entertainment This Week (weekend title)
... aka This Week in Entertainment (USA: weekend title)
- Episode dated 7 March 2006 (2006) TV Episode .... Herself
"Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show"
- Episode dated 17 February 2006 (2006) TV Episode .... Herself
Live from the Red Carpet: The 2006 Golden Globe Awards (2006) (TV) .... Herself
- Episode #1.1 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 3 December 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
"Late Night with Conan O'Brien"
- Episode dated 11 November 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
"Live with Regis and Kathie Lee"
... aka Live with Regis (USA: new title)
... aka Live with Regis & Kelly (USA: new title)
- Episode dated 9 November 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
"The Daily Show"
... aka The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (USA: new title)
... aka The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Global Edition (International: English title: cut version)
- Episode dated 9 November 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
"HBO First Look"
- Pride & Prejudice (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 14 October 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"
- Episode dated 10 October 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 24 June 2003 (2003) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 9 September 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 5 September 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
The Jacket: Project History and Deleted Scenes (2005) (V) .... Herself
Comic Relief: Red Nose Night Live 05 (2005) (TV) .... Herself
Blood on the Land: The Making of a King (2005) (V) .... Herself
King Arthur: A Roundtable Discussion (2005) (V) .... Herself
52 Most Irresistible Women (2004) (TV) .... Herself
... aka This Morning with Richard and Judy (UK: informal title)
- Episode dated 16 July 2004 (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 14 July 2004 (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
"Late Show with David Letterman"
... aka Late Show Backstage (USA: title for episodes with guest hosts)
... aka The Late Show (USA: informal short title)
- Episode dated 29 June 2004 (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
An Epic at Sea: The Making of 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' (2003) (V) .... Herself
... aka Tinseltown.TV (USA: promotional title)
- Episode dated 15 November 2003 (2003) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 8 April 2003 (2003) TV Episode .... Herself
She Shoots, She Scores: The Making of 'Bend It Like Beckham' (2003) (V) .... Herself
Filmography as: Actress, Miscellaneous Crew, Herself, Archive Footage
- Episode dated 13 September 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself