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:

  • Academy Award: Nomination for Best Actress for Pride and Prejudice and Best Supporting Actress for The Imitation Game.
  • 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"!
  • 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: 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.
  • Fake Russian: Three times: she played Lara in 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.
  • I Am Very British: Sports this type of voice in a lot of her films, especially the period ones. Her real voice, not so much.
  • Jail Bait: 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: Has 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: Her character in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a perky, airheaded slacker in a modern day type setting. Likewise Everest2015 is a small role in an ensemble cast, where she plays the concerned wife.
    • Playing with Character Type: 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.
  • Romance on the Set: Rupert Friend (the one that looks like Orlando Bloom) on the set of Pride And Prejudice (2005).
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: 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 Really Can Act: 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.
  • Throw It In: During The Hole there's a scene where her character shoos a young boy away as she gets her phone out. Keira ad-libbed it.
  • Type Casting:
    • As the plucky, ahead-of-her-time girl in period films. Subverted in The Duchess, in which she begins appearing to play this, and was marketed as such, but swiftly runs head-first into the heinous values of the era. Hilarity does not ensue. Also tweaked slightly in Atonement at Keira's request. She had been approached to play Briony but chose to play Cecilia instead because she'd "had enough of Coming Of Age ladies"
    • In her non-period pieces she's either a Tsundere or a Kuudere and the deredere side gets revealed by her love interest. She's like this in a couple of her period films too like Princess of Thieves and Atonement.
  • Younger Than They Look: She was only seventeen in Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean and looked like she was in her mid twenties.