Creator / Keira Knightley

"Apparently on the Internet I'm a tomboy beanpole? I can't use a computer, so maybe I'm a bit out of the loop. I don't know whether to be flattered or not flattered. The beanpole bit, is that good? Can you be a sexy beanpole?"

Keira Christina Knightley (born March 26, 1985) is a British actress who became subject to international recognition for her roles in Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), followed by two sequels. She has since starred in a number of feature films, theater productions, and modeling campaigns.

Knightley's first role was in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace playing Natalie Portman's character's decoy/body double, and they continue to share a strong resemblance.

Knightley oftentimes stars in period pieces playing a young woman approaching adulthood, usually the Spirited Young Lady or Rebellious Princess. She married James Righton of the London-based band Klaxons in May 2013, and gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Edie, in 2015.

Roles Of Note:

Associated Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: In two films - The Hole and Atonement - she has a weird fate. She's Dead All Along but the one responsible for this lies and writes a happy ending for her.
  • Casting Gag: She and Mathew Macfayden play brother and sister in Anna Karenina. They had played Lizzie and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, also directed by Joe Wright.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: To Natalie Portman. At age twelve a then unknown Knightley was cast as Sabé, Queen Amidala's decoy in The Phantom Menace (1999), due to the strong resemblance between her and Portman, and it has persisted as they aged. Observers have also pointed out her similarity to Winona Ryder (Keira added there are rare instances of being mistaken for Kate Winslet or Britney Spears). On The Graham Norton Show, Norton thought that her resemblance to Portman would have ruined her career because "We've got one of those already!" and Keira joked the reason it didn't was because she "grew two feet taller" and became the "stretched version"!
    • A director once described her as the younger version of Julie Christie.
  • Character Tics: A pout as an unconscious gesture of concentration. ''Pride and Prejudice" director Joe Wright had to ban Keira from pouting during the movie. She does it once but it's only because it was filmed by a second unit!
  • Contractual Purity: invoked Avoided. Despite starring in the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, she never ran into this. Possibly because in her previous projects she had already bared her breasts (at fifteen!) or been Mistaken For Gay. Notably after Pirates she did two films with sex scenes and then played a bounty hunter for Domino (where she also appeared topless).
  • Creator Backlash: invoked She only did Never Let Me Go because her friend Carey Mulligan asked her to, and said she couldn't relate to Ruth at all.
  • Dawson Casting: invoked Inverted. Early on in her career, due to being Younger Than They Look, she played characters who were older than she was. In Love Actually for example, she was eighteen, playing the love interest of the twenty-nine-year-old Chiwetel Ejiofor and the thirty-three-year-old Andrew Lincoln. Even in The Hole she was fifteen playing someone a couple of years older than she was.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: invoked
    • She's dyed her hair a lot for various films, alternating between varying shades of blonde and brown. She eventually confessed that constant dyeing ruined her hair and she opted to wear wigs afterwards.
    • She also cut her hair completely short to play the titular heroine in Domino.
  • Enforced Method Acting: invoked Keira joked that having food poisoning right before her audition for The Jacket helped land her the part of a sickly alcoholic.
  • Fake American: invoked In The Jacket, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Laggies.
  • Fake Nationality: invoked She plays a New Zealander in Everest2015.
  • Fake Russian: invoked Three times: she played Lara in the 2002 TV adaptation of Doctor Zhivago, the Russian Jewish psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein in the 2011 movie A Dangerous Method, and the most famous example in Anna Karenina.
  • Funny Character, Boring Actor: invoked Inverted. She has a recognisable image as a pouting Tsundere in various Costume Dramas. In real life she's "a real scruff" and hilarious in interviews. On The Graham Norton Show she and Samuel L Jackson compared sex scenes, and on one of the Pirates commentaries she happily points out the one scene where her bra wasn't padded.
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: After the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the hype machine got behind Keira big time. Her initial blockbuster roles didn't amount to much— King Arthur, The Jacket, Domino. But she won critical acclaim for Pride and Prejudice and managed to earn respect through more Joe Wright collaborations. While she does get typecast in period films, she's usually well-received and working steadily.
  • I Am Very British: She sports this type of voice in a lot of her films, especially the period ones. Her real voice, not so much.
  • Jail Bait: Keira bared her breasts at fifteen years old for the British thriller The Hole.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Has had a tendency post-Pirates to go topless in just about everything. Though when she was cast in Domino, she explicitly refused to bare her butt on screen.
  • The Muse: To director Joe Wright. They've done three films together. Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina.
  • Period Piece: She's appeared in many, to the point where she might even be typecast in such films. Most of her movies are set at various points in the past, ranging from 400 A.D. to the 1990s, but are usually around the 1700s or 1800s. She says she was worried about her typecasting at first, but has come to embrace it, saying she enjoys learning about history, and that there are worse things to be typecast in.
  • Petite Pride: One of the most famous. A few of her films, like Pirates and King Arthur - as well as some of her modelling photoshoots - had some doctoring done to give a larger appearance. Her reaction is usually some variation of exasperation. A hefty portion of her commentary for the first Pirates movie consists of Keira commenting on how impressive her boobs look with an almost gleeful self-deprecation. She also cheerfully points out the one scene where she wasn't padded. Later on, for her photoshoot in Interview Magazine, she agreed to a topless shot if the picture wasn't edited in any way, "because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.”
    Jack Sparrow: So unless you've got a rudder and a lot of sails hidden in that bodice— (scans her briefly) — unlikely...
  • Playing Against Type: invoked Her character in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a perky, airheaded slacker in a modern day type setting. Likewise Everest (2015) is a small role in an ensemble cast, where she plays the concerned wife.
  • Playing Gertrude: In the latter part of Atonement she's actually younger than Romola Garai, who plays the adult Briony. Keira plays Cecilia in both the 1930s and 40s portions, while Briony is played by Saoirse Ronan in the 30s part. This is slightly justified by The Reveal that Cecilia is Dead All Along in the 1940s; the one scene she has with Romola Garai is Briony's imagination, with the Fridge Brilliance that Briony still sees her sister as she was when she was growing up.
  • Playing with Character Type: invoked
    • For a long time she was typecast as a Plucky Girl ahead of her time in various period pieces. In The Duchess she starts off as this type... and then runs into the sexist and oppressive laws of the time.
    • She invoked this in Atonement too, as Joe Wright had wanted her to play the adult Briony. Having had enough of "coming of age ladies", Keira chose to play Cecilia instead.
  • Production Posse: invoked She starred in three Joe Wright films - Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and Anna Karenina. Amusingly she doesn't star in Pan - but she had played Tinker Bell in Neverland.
  • Romance on the Set: invoked Her and Rupert Friend while on the set of Pride And Prejudice (2005).
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: invoked She played Natalie Portman's decoy bodyguard in The Phantom Menace. Reportedly, when both actresses were in full makeup, not even their mothers could tell which was which. In fairness, a lot of those scenes involved Impossibly Cool Clothes and Uncanny Valley Makeup for whichever one was dressed up as queen; still, you be the judge. She also apparently doubled for Padme in some scenes where Natalie wasn't available.
  • She Really Can Act: invoked While often seen as good for her roles, The Imitation Game is where a lot of people took a step back and realized she could hold her own.
  • Star-Making Role: invoked Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl got her an instant amount of fame, and Pride and Prejudice made her a critical darling.
  • Typecasting: invoked Need a Spirited Young Lady ahead of her time in a costume drama? Keira is your girl. If it's not a period drama, she's normally a Type A Tsundere.
  • Younger Than They Look: She was only seventeen in Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and looked like she was in her mid twenties.