-talks about why she does so many period films
-getting drunk and cutting her hair off
The setting for our cover shoot with Keira Knightley looks like something out of a dream sequence from Gossip Girl. The sunny Los Angeles studio is filled with racks of couture clothing. On a table flanked by beefy security guards sits more than $2 million in jewellery; another holds dozens of pairs of shoes. I finger the jewels in front of the stone-faced guards while waiting for Knightley, the new face of Coco Mademoiselle, to make her entrance. I half expect the young actress to sashay into the room with heaving bosom and hoop skirt – after all, no woman alive has brought more sex and intrigue to period dramas – but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, a young woman appears at the door in a pleated skirt and blazer with brown lace-up shoes, greeting everyone with sweet, clipped hellos. Spotting Ben, her hairdresser, she makes a dash from the crowd around her and engulfs him with hugs and kisses. This girl knows where her bread is buttered.
At 26, Knightley has racked up an impressive movie career, blossoming from a soccer-playing beauty in Bend It Like Beckham into a Hollywood leading lady. She is beautiful, thoughtful and seems innocent, despite an occasionally delightful potty mouth. As Ben spins her hair into silk, we talk about corsets, boys and, of course, Chanel.
You’re doing another period movie, Anna Karenina, with director Joe Wright. What attracts you to period characters?
It’s not the fact that they are period; it’s the great stories. And Tolstoy – you can’t say no to that if someone offers it to you.
The costumes are cool, too.
Yes, the costumes are fun, but I enjoy the fact that period films are pure fantasy. We don’t know what it was really like to live back then. You get to create the character from the first stitch. In a modern piece, oddly, there are restraints that don’t exist in a period film.
You’ve just finished filming a new Chanel ad with Wright. It’s quite a departure from your films, where you are often seen in corsets.
Well, yes, that’s true.
Do you own a corset?
No, does anyone own a corset? [Laughs]
In the first commercial you were wearing a beautiful silk dress, walking the streets of Paris at night. It was very romantic. In this new one, you’re wearing a catsuit and riding a motorcycle. You succumb to your lover in the first ad and in this new one you reject him. Which girl do you relate to?
No, in the first one I ran away. There was no succumbing in either scenario! I don’t succumb. [Laughs] I love the first one because she is really mischievous. She likes to tease and I rather like that.
Where is your favourite place to put perfume? In the ad you put it behind your knee.
Oh, that was a Joe [the director] thing. I never put it behind the knee. I’m a wrist and neck sort of girl. If you’re spending a lot of time on your knees then maybe you need a bit of help.
Do you think a man could fall in love simply by the scent of a woman?
Good question. I don’t know. I guess you would have to ask one. Although I had a friend who went on a date with a girl and he said he hated the smell of her perfume, so he didn’t ask her out again. So perhaps it’s true.
What would you say your style is?
If I had to say I’d go with boyish chic. I’ve definitely got a bit of boyish. I was a tomboy. I didn’t wear skirts until I was 14. I hated them. I love a man’s shirt.
Do you remember your first designer outfit?
Yes, it was a Miu Miu dress. Do you remember that white Marilyn Monroe dress that billowed up over the subway? It reminded me of that, but in black. It never quite fit – too big on the top. It requires tits that I don’t have, but I still love it. I bought it 10 years ago, but it’s actually in style now. I love when it all comes back around.
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
It’s very quick. Especially with this short bob. It was more difficult when my hair was longer.
Why did you cut it?
They had asked me to cut it for a movie and I said, “No, you can do it with a wig.” But then I’d been thinking about cutting it so, you know, we had a glass of champagne and we were still talking about it, then another glass, and by the third glass my hair was cut off.
You were recently a bridesmaid. Was the dress a keeper? They’re usually awful.
Yes! It was wicked. But I destroyed it by the end of the night. They had Indian food and I managed to drop every single curry, every single drink, down the front. I went to the toilet and caught it in the door. I was the worst bridesmaid ever. But it was a great night!
In your next movie, A Dangerous Method, you play a mistress.
I play a patient who was the first person on whom the Freudian method [of psychoanalysis] was used. I also have an affair with [psychiatrist Carl] Jung.
In your movie Last Night you play a married woman who considers having an affair with an ex-lover. Do you think it’s possible to love two men at the same time?
Sometimes it is possible. It has to do with the person you are, the place you’re at in your life, and the person you’re with and where he is in his life. I don’t think there’s one answer.
What is worse, an emotional betrayal or physical betrayal? Is it gender specific?
I thought women would find an emotional betrayal worse and men would consider a physical betrayal worse. But the number of guys I asked said it was the other way round. For them, to love another woman emotionally and not be physical was much worse.
I didn’t think men could do emotional betrayal.
Oh no, I think they can! But I really do think it depends on the couple. It’s a both interesting and terrifying discussion, and it’s why there are so many stories about infidelity because there’s no clear answer as to why.
What about sexting?
I’m sorry. What about what?
Sexting. Sexy texting.
What is that?
Texting flirtatiously to someone who isn’t your significant other. Have you not heard of it?
No! Is it flirting or cheating? Oh my God. I don’t have an answer for that. I didn’t even know what it was! Is that an American thing?
I don’t think so. It’s a boy and girl thing.
Well, I’ve just gotten an education.
Are you a girls’ girl or a guys’ girl? (what are these stupid ass 6th grade questions i can't even)
I have a mix of both great “guy” friends and “girl” friends. I have one girly girlfriend, but I’d say my girlfriends are more boyish. And I suppose the guys aren’t great jocks; they are all sort of artistic and tend to be directors or writers or musicians or actors. The boys have a sensitive side.
If you had one day without being recognised, what would you do?
Oh, that’s easy. I’d go on the subway. I love the subway. It’s great people watching.
this was a shitty interview and i didn't even post all of it but the photos are so perf :')
there are scans here