Coming Soon chat to Keira Knightley:
In 2003, 19-year-old Brit Keira Knightley found her career raised to a new level when she starred in Disney's action film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Since then, she's kept busy, especially this fall, when she's headlining two new movies, director Tony Scott's Domino (opening next week) and a new version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
In the latter, she actually shares a first name with the character she made famous in "Pirates," one that she's spent a lot of time as this year while filming two back-to-back sequels. While in New York to promote Pride and Prejudice, Miss Knightley talked to ComingSoon.net about the sequels, as well as expounding on the popularity of the original film
"It is my life now. There is nothing else," she joked. "We're doing them both at the same time, and we were halfway through as of yesterday. We were at 100 days yesterday, and we have at least another 100 to go. We've been going since February, but we've had about a month and a half off for hiatus because it's hurricane season."
We asked Knightley why she thought the first movie was such a hugely popular hit. "I have no idea. It's still a mystery," she admitted. "What's amazing is that there's such a wealth of stories there--you know, the pirating stories--and if you can tap into it and if you can do it well then it's just that spark of imagination. There's all those films when you're a kid that you kind of remember as part of your childhood that you've sort of lived through. I'm thinking like a "Wizard of Oz" or something like that so many people go 'Yes, that was me when I was 7 or 11,' and I think, in a funny kind of way, with a lot of kids, Pirates has managed to do that. What's clever about it is that it's got that thing where it's got humor for adults and it's got humor for kids,and the kids won't get the stuff that the adults are laughing at. I think in a funny way, that makes the best kind of kids' movie."
On suggesting that the popularity of Johnny Depp's outlandish performance as Captain Jack Sparrow might have a lot to do with the first film's success, she agreed, "Oh, absolutely. It wasn't written like that. The character, as it was written, was completely straight, so that character is entirely his and Gore Verbinski's. They totally came up with that and none of us knew if it would work when we were doing it, because it was so off-the-wall and so not what was on the page. It's daring, and talk about risks, a.) you're making a pirate movie, that hasn't worked in God knows how long, b.) you're making a film based on a Disney theme park ride and c.) you got Johnny Depp going mental over there, and you're just thinking, 'How is this going to work?' I think you've got to take the risks. There's no point playing it safe, because either you'll get bored or the audiences will get bored. Sometimes, you're going to make mistakes, and that's fine, but you have to take the risks. I think Pirates is one of the prime examples of that with Johnny Depp's performance, and part of the reason that people love it so much is that you watch it and go 'Gutsy, really gutsy'"
Of course, we wondered how it's been for her to return to the ships and swords and corsets again, especially since so much has changed in the three years since making the first movie. "It's very strange," she told us. "It's the first time I've ever had to go back to a role. It's weird because I'm my biggest critic by a mile. You give me my worst review ever and times it by about ten, that's where I put myself. And it's a huge fault. So therefore, I possibly hate every performance I've done and I would like to completely change it, so it's really difficult therefore to go back to a performance that I'd like to do completely differently and try to keep that continuity with it 'cause you suddenly go 'Oh, but I wish I hadn't done that, and I wish she had been like this.' What's kind of nice is that it's three years on, so she's grown up a bit, so I can perhaps fix some of those things."
"It's a totally different beast [than Pride and Prejudice]," she continued. "It's a spectacle, and it's a totally different headspace, because it's a marathon and you've got to keep going. Sometimes you feel yourself slipping out of it, and you have to keep going again. It kind of makes it exciting, as well."
And as far as any skepticism people might have about them making a sequel to such a terrific movie, Knightley slyly said, "You have no idea what's going to happen in the second one, and I promise you, it will surprise you."
In the meantime, you can see Knightley in Pride and Prejudice, which opens in select cities on November 18. You'll have to wait until next summer for the first sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.