Don't cry for me. I'm already dead. (morbidfantasy25) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,
Don't cry for me. I'm already dead.

Knightley has 'chip on shoulder' over missing out on university

The Oscar-nominated star of Atonement and Pride And Prejudice now battles to prove to herself - and those around her - that she has brains.

"I am completely uneducated," said Knightley, 23. "Not going to university did give me an incredible driving force because it leaves you with a slight chip on your shoulder. It makes me feel I am going to read absolutely everything so I can prove that I am not stupid."


Her current reading list is an impressive library which includes a biography of Albert Speer, a history of the Vietnam War, the treatises of Mary Wollstonecraft and Germaine Greer's feminist text The Female Eunuch.

To add to her difficulties, Keira was diagnosed with dyslexia aged six and as a result can read only very slowly, she told Tatler magazine.

The actress dropped out of school at 17, before taking her A-levels, after landing her breakthrough role as Lara in a television adaptation of Doctor Zhivago. She found stardom that same year in Bend It Like Beckham and went on to play Guinevere in King Arthur, Cecilia Tallis in Atonement and Dylan Thomas's lover Vera Phillips in The Edge of Love, as well as the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean movies. She recently signed up to play Cordelia in a film version of King Lear.

Her next ambition is to appear on stage, but she will not be taking a starry role in the West End: "I can't quite handle the idea of 'Screen Actress in Big West End Hit' and all that. I would prefer to do something smaller," she said, confessing to a constant fear that her acting is not up to scratch. "Everything scares me. The idea of doing theatre scares me in an exciting way but doing any part always terrifies me... It boils down to a fear of standing there in a wig and a dress and suddenly thinking, 'I feel like an idiot.' You must not let your imagination see the absurdity of it and cause your performance to die."

While Knightley failed to complete her education, many of her fellow actresses have combined career success with university degrees. Rachel Weisz and Thandie Newton studied at Cambridge, while Kate Beckinsale, Emilia Fox and Emily Mortimer are Oxford graduates.

Among those who did not go on to university, Kate Winslet shares Knightley’s feelings, admitting to feeling “intellectually insecure” in the company of more educated actors.

Knightley and her boyfriend, actor Rupert Friend, are regular targets for the paparazzi. She said: “I am told by a lot of the paparazzi who follow me that they are helping my career but, by that logic, Paris Hilton should be the biggest box office catch in the world and she isn’t.”

Knightley will next be seen as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire in The Duchess, an adaptation of Amanda Foreman's best-selling biography. Georgiana was a celebrated 18th century beauty and ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, whose personal life scandalised Georgian England.

"I saw Georgiana as this courageous person who was in a marriage that was like a cage dropped on top of her, forcing her to fight her way out. The film is also partly about the power of female manipulation, which was then a woman's only weapon," she said. The script includes a harrowing rape scene with Ralph Fiennes, who plays her promiscuous husband. Knightley described it as "very shocking", adding that she had learned "some 18th-century swear words" to lend the scene authenticity.

The film will premiere in September and Knightley is already being tipped for her second Oscar nomination.

:: The full interview is in the new issue of Tatler, on sale Thursday.



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