Keira Knightley Career and Filmography

Keira Knightley Career
1993–2004
After getting an agent at 6, she did work mostly on commercials and small TV roles. Her first role was "Little Girl" in Royal Celebration, a 1993 TV movie. A year later, she had a small role in the movie A Village Affair. She later starred in 1995's Innocent Lies and 1998's Coming Home. She was a princess in the 1996 movie The Treasure Seekers. Later in 1999, she appeared as Rose in Oliver Twist.

Keira Knightley appeared in several television films in the mid to late 1990s—as well as ITV1's The Bill—before being cast as Sabé, Padmé Amidala's decoy, in the 1999 science fiction blockbuster Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Sabé's dialogue was dubbed over with Natalie Portman's voice. This was to hide the fact that the handmaiden Padmé (played by Natalie Portman) was actually disclosed as the real Queen Amidala at the end of the film. Knightley was cast in the role due to her close resemblance to Portman; even the two actresses' mothers had difficulty telling their daughters apart when the girls were in full makeup. Knightley's first starring role followed in 2001, when she played the daughter of Robin Hood in the made-for-television Walt Disney Productions feature, Princess of Thieves. She trained for several weeks in archery, sword fighting, and horse riding. During this time, Knightley also appeared in The Hole, a thriller that received a direct-to-video release in the United States. She appeared in a miniseries adaptation of Doctor Zhivago which first aired in 2002 to mixed reviews but high ratings. In the same year, she also was in the movie Pure, in which she portrays a pregnant teenager who is a heroin addict and had a child taken by social services.

Knightley's breakthrough role was in the football-themed film, Bend It Like Beckham, which was a success in its August 2002 UK release, grossing $18 million, and in its March 2003 U.S. release, grossing $32 million. After Bend It Like Beckham's UK release raised her profile, she was cast in the big budget action film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (along with Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp) which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and opened in July 2003 to positive reviews and high box office grosses, becoming one of the biggest hits of summer 2003 and cementing Knightley as the new "It" girl.

Knightley had a role in the British romantic comedy Love Actually, which opened in November 2003, which co-starred her childhood idol Emma Thompson. Her next film, King Arthur, opened in July 2004 to negative reviews, however in preparation for the role she took boxing, fighting, archery, and horseback-riding lessons for four days a week for three months. In the same month, Knightley was voted by readers of Hello! magazine as the film industry's most promising teen star. Additionally, TIME magazine noted in a 2004 feature that Knightley seemed dedicated to developing herself as a serious actress rather than a film star.

2005–2008
She appeared in three films in 2005, the first of which was The Jacket, alongside Adrien Brody. She next appeared in Tony Scott's Domino, an action film based on the life of bounty hunter Domino Harvey. The film has been Knightley's greatest critical flop to date. Knightley's critics often suggested she was nothing more than a pretty face, which led the young starlet to comment to Elle magazine, "I always feel like I’m the one with everything to prove."

Pride & Prejudice rounded out 2005. Knightley loved the book since she was seven, and she with her first acting paycheck she bought a dollhouse of the hero's mansion. She said of her character, "The beauty of Elizabeth is that every woman who ever reads the book seems to recognize herself, with all her faults and imperfections. If you give an actress who is even remotely good the chance to play a fantastic character like that, they are going to revel in it." Variety wrote about her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet: "Looking every bit a star, Knightley, who's shown more spirit than acting smarts so far in her career, really steps up to the plate here, holding her own against the more classically trained Matthew Macfadyen, as well as vets like Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Penelope Wilton, and Judi Dench with a luminous strength that recalls a young Audrey Hepburn. More than the older Jennifer Ehle in the TV series, she catches Elizabeth's essential skittishness and youthful braggadocio, making her final conversion all the more moving." The film grossed more than $100 million worldwide, and Knightley earned a Golden Globe nomination and an Oscar nomination (the Oscar ultimately went to Reese Witherspoon). The Academy Award nomination made her the third-youngest performer ever nominated. BAFTA's decision not to nominate her drew criticism from Pride & Prejudice producer Tim Bevan.

In 2006, Knightley was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her biggest financial hit thus far, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, was released in July 2006.

Knightley starred in three major films in 2007: Silk, an adaptation of the novel by Alessandro Baricco, Atonement, a feature film adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel of the same name (co-starring James McAvoy, Vanessa Redgrave, and Brenda Blethyn), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which was released in May 2007. For her performance in Atonement, Knightley was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the Best Dramatic Actress category for the role, as well as a BAFTA Award. Critic Richard Roeper was puzzled by both Knightley's and McAvoy's Academy Award snubs, stating "I thought McAvoy and Knightley were superb."

In the late spring of 2007, Knightley shot The Edge of Love with Cillian Murphy as her husband, Matthew Rhys as her childhood sweetheart Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, and Sienna Miller as Thomas' wife Caitlin Macnamara. She received positive reviews for her role. The 2008 release was penned by Knightley's mother, Sharman Macdonald, and directed by John Maybury. She then filmed The Duchess, based on the best-selling biography, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman, in which she played Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; the film was released in cinemas on 5 September 2008 in the U.K.

2009–present
In 2009, Knightley made her West End debut in Martin Crimp's version of Molière's comedy, The Misanthrope, at the Comedy Theatre in London alongside Damian Lewis, Tara FitzGerald, and Dominic Rowan. in December 2009. Reviews for her portrayal of Jennifer in the play were generally positive. The Daily Telegraph described her performance as revealing "both power and poignancy" and The Independent called her performance "not only strikingly convincing but, at times, rather thrilling in its satiric aplomb" The Guardian, however, noted that due to the nature of the role "one could say that she is not unduly stretched" and The Daily Mail described her as "little better than adequate" and "dull" and the Daily Express stated that "Her lack of stage experience is sometimes painfully evident." Knightley has been nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award as Best Supporting Actress as Jennifer in The Misanthrope, recognising her theatre debut. Knightley also received an Evening Standard Award nomination for the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress.

In 2010, Knightley appeared in the drama Last Night, in which she co-starred with Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington, and Guillaume Canet; it was directed by Massy Tadjedin. The same year, Knightley completed work on an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's dystopian novel, Never Let Me Go with Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan. Filming took place in Norfolk and Clevedon in Somerset. Also in 2010, she starred in London Boulevard with Colin Farrell, written by William Monahan.

Knightley's only film of 2011 was David Cronenberg's historical drama A Dangerous Method, co-starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, and Vincent Cassel. Based on writer Christopher Hampton's 2002 stage play The Talking Cure and set on the eve of World War I, the film depicts the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, played by Knightley, the troubled but beautiful young psychoanalyst who comes between them. The costume film premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival to a positive reception, while Knightley, who had almost backed out of the movie due to its explicit scenes, earned generally favorable reviews by critics, with Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com noting her "the real star of this film."

Knightley is slated to appear in The Emperor's Children with Eric Bana and Richard Gere. The film, a dark comedy, will be directed by Noah Baumbach. In addition, she has reunited with director Joe Wright for the production of Anna Karenina (2012), in which she will star as the title character.

Keira Knightley Filmography
Feature films
YearTitleRoleNotes
1995Innocent LiesYoung Celia
1999Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceSabé (Decoy Queen)
2001DeflationJogger
2001Princess of ThievesGwyn
2001The HoleFrances 'Frankie' Almond SmithNominated – Empire Award for Best Debut
2002ThunderpantsMusic school studentUncredited
2002PureLouise
2002Bend It Like BeckhamJuliette "Jules" Paxton
  • Golden Wave Award for Best Actress
  • London Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Newcomer
  • Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actress
  • Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
2002New Year's EveLeah
2002The Seasons AlterHelena
2003Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black PearlElizabeth Swann
  • Audience Award for Best International Actress
  • Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Chemistry (shared with Orlando Bloom)
  • Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Liplock (shared with Orlando Bloom)
  • Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actress
  • Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
  • Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Breakout Performance on Screen
  • Nominated – Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male or Female Actor in an Effects Film
  • Nominated – Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award
  • Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Female Performance
  • Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout Movie Star - Female
2003Love ActuallyJuliet
  • Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
  • Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Breakout Performance on Screen
  • Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting
2004King ArthurGuinevere
  • Audience Award for Best International Actress
  • Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actress
  • Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress Action Adventure/Thriller
  • Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout Movie Star - Female
2005The JacketJackie
2005DominoDomino Harvey
2005Pride & PrejudiceElizabeth Bennet
  • Character and Morality in Entertainment Award
  • Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
  • Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
  • Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
  • Nominated – Empire Award for Best Actress
  • Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
  • Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
  • Nominated – London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actress of the Year
  • Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
  • Nominated – Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
  • Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress Drama/Action Adventure
2006Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestElizabeth Swann
  • People's Choice Award for Favorite On-Screen Match-Up (shared withJohnny Depp)
  • Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Liplock (shared with Orlando Bloom)
  • Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Scream
  • Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Hissy Fit
  • Nominated – Empire Awards for Best Actress
  • Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
  • Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress Drama/Action Adventure
2007Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndElizabeth Swann
  • People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Action Star
  • Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress Action Adventure
  • Nominated–National Movie Award for Best Performance by a Female
  • Nominated–MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
2007SilkHélène Joncour
2007AtonementCecilia Tallis
  • Empire Award for Best Actress
  • Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress Drama
  • Rembrandt Award for Best International Actress
  • Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
  • Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
  • Nominated – Audience Award for Best International Actress
  • Nominated – London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actress of the Year
2008The Edge of LoveVera Phillips
2008The DuchessGeorgiana Cavendish
  • Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
  • Nominated – People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Movie Star
2009The Continuing and Lamentable Saga of the Suicide BrothersThe FairyShort film
2010London BoulevardCharlotte
2010Never Let Me GoRuthNominated – Sarturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
2010Last NightJoanna Reed
2011A Dangerous MethodSabina Spielrein
2012SteveWomanShort film
2012Seeking A Friend for the End of the WorldPennyfilming
2012Anna KareninaAnna Kareninapre-production
Television appearances
YearTitleRole
1993Screen One Royal CelebrationLittle Girl
1995A Village AffairNatasha Jordan
1995The BillSheena Rose
1996The Treasure SeekersThe Princess
1998Coming HomeYoung Judith Dunbar
1999Oliver TwistRose Fleming
2001Princess of ThievesGwyn (daughter of Robin Hood)
2002Doctor ZhivagoLara Antipova
2003GaijinKate
2007Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd KindEm
Theatre appearances
YearProductionTheatreRoleAwards
2009/2010The MisanthropeComedy Theatre, LondonJennifer (Celimene)Nominated – Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress (The Natasha Richardson Award)
2011The Children's HourComedy Theatre, LondonKaren Wright

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