for the TLDR crowd-
Keira on feminism:
“I think it’s great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had [about feminism], as opposed to anybody mentioning feminism and everybody going, ‘Oh, f***ing shut up,’” says Keira. ”Somehow, it [feminism] became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it’s great that we’re coming out of that.”
On why she was only on Twitter for 12 hours:
“It made me feel a little bit like being in a school playground and not being popular and standing on the sidelines kind of going, ‘Argh.’”
On working in the male-dominated film industry:
“I go to work at 5.30 in the morning; I wouldn’t get back probably until nine o’clock at night. Most of the guys that I talk to – and I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about it – they say [whispers], ‘My wife does everything.’ You think, ‘Why wasn’t I thinking about this five years ago?’ The dearth of women in film is partly what makes her consider directing, she says – because things will only change when more women are in positions of genuine power. “Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don’t think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles… they’re still pretty few and far between.”
Knightly, whose forthcoming film, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is the latest reboot of the Tom Clancy books about CIA agent Jack Ryan, says that she is often the only woman in a cast and quite often she finds herself "walking into a room, and talking about why my character is saying this, but I’ll be talking about it to a room of five guys. I’ve lost most of the arguments."
Given her work schedule, Knightley notes that it is little wonder that the film world is is a male-dominated one: "I go to work at 5.30 in the morning; I wouldn’t get back probably until nine o’clock at night. Most of the guys that I talk to – and I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about it – they say [whispers], 'My wife does everything.' You think, 'Why wasn’t I thinking about this five years ago?'" Instead, she was "worrying about a boyfriend and shit…" The dearth of women in film is partly what makes her consider directing, she says – because things will only change when more women are in positions of genuine power. "Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don’t think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles… they’re still pretty few and far between." After 20 years of experience (she started acting at the age of 7), Knightley wonders whether she might move behind the camera, and gain more control. "As I get older I get more interested by it… There is a lot of 'You do what you’re told' [as an actor]. After watching it and being part of it for so long, you start going, 'I wonder if there is a journey to the other side.' I don’t know if there is, but I’m interested in seeing people who have done it."
Knightley, whose previous films include Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Never Let Me Go, says that Jack Ryan involved "lots of running" and is "a piece of popcorn" kind of movie, by which she means big-budget blockbuster material. "Sometimes," she explains, "people need pieces of popcorn, and sometimes people need to make pieces of popcorn." This particular piece of popcorn has been made by one of Knightley's heroes, director Kenneth Branagh, who dispelled any feelings of shame that Knightly may have had about making a blockbuster for blockbuster's sake, she says. "He [Branagh] was like, 'Don’t feel guilty… it’s going to be a Hollywood action film, that’s what it’s going to be, and that’s fine.' It was quite liberating hearing him say that."
For years, Knightley says, she sought public approval and it is only recently that she has learnt to "chill out an awful lot" and worry less about someone telling her she was doing a good job "[I was] spending so much time being neurotic and beating myself up [that I thought] actually, if I didn’t, I might get further by just going, 'Oh, fuck it.'" Of her propensity for self-doubt, she says, "It’s an English trait, isn’t it?" - and perhaps for her it is also the legacy of the overachieving schoolgirl used to pats on the head and gold stars. She was always a keen worker, she says, but "I wish I hadn’t been. Life would have been so much easier.
Knightley is newly married, to the musician James Righton of the Klaxons, but never thought of herself as the marrying type, she says. Now, however, she likes the consistency that marriage has provided: "These words that you think beforehand, 'That’s the reason I’ll never do it'… those words that you see as completely negative, and you suddenly see them as being incredibly positive, and that’s actually quite liberating and quite nice."
Knightley guards her privacy fiercely. Tired of hearing friends bang on about Twitter, she signed up under a false name – an experiment that lasted 12 hours. "It made me feel a little bit like being in a school playground and not being popular and standing on the sidelines kind of going, 'Argh.'" When asked whether she minds audiences having such a false impression of her (haughty, posh), she shoots back: "No, I think that’s fine… I like being private. I haven’t asked a lot of the actresses who I really admire, 'How do you do it?' because I don’t want to know. Maybe I’m childish in that way; I just don’t want to know about your life." The work, she concludes, is all that matters.