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Keira Knightley covers Variety with New Interview!

Keira Knightley covers the Sundance 2018 (January 2018) issue of Variety as she promotes her upcoming film Colette, in which she stars with Dominic West. Keira plays the title role as a French novelist, Colette, overcomes an abusive marriage to emerge as a leading writer in her country and a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. The film will world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 20th, 2018.

Keira did a Variety photo shoot (including a cover shoot above; CREDIT: Nadav Kander for Variety) and was interviewed by Brent Lang for Variety. Great interview, which you can read an excerpt below...

Keira Knightley on ‘Colette,’ Pushing for Social Change, and if She’ll Ever Direct

[CREDIT: Nadav Kander for Variety]

Colette” is one of four films she’s appearing in this year, the others being the historical drama “The Aftermath,” the anthology entry “Berlin, I Love You,” and the Disney fantasy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” The actress says she was motivated to throw herself back into work after taking more than a year off to give birth to and bond with her daughter, Edie.

Before heading to the mountains of Park City, Knightley sat down with Variety to talk about Hollywood’s sexual harassment crisis, the downside of celebrity and why it was “traumatic” becoming a star in “Pirates of the Caribbean” at age 18.

Why did you want to portray Colette? 
It’s wonderful to play inspiring women and to get their stories and their voices out there. Within her writing, Colette was questioning the idea of gender and the idea of what was naturally feminine as opposed to society’s take on being feminine. The 1890s in France, the belle époque, is interesting to look back on because there was a lot of sexual freedom. Colette had female lovers and had what I suppose we would call a transgender lover. She felt that it was her right to experience pleasure and to give pleasure. That’s still a revolutionary idea for women.

A Behind The Scene photo of Keira with director Wash Westmoreland in Colette (via Variety)...

When you’re playing a role, do you mind being the center of attention?
There’s always a wall that I have to try to smash through to get over what is basically stage fright. I’m never totally at ease putting on somebody else’s skin, because I know that I’m being watched doing it. But there’s a joy in the bravado once you’re doing it. You don’t always get there. Sometimes you’re very aware that it’s you out there and lots of people are looking at you and you’re doing something quite strange, but there are moments where you do get lost in the character.

 [CREDIT: Nadav Kander for Variety]

Would you ever direct?
I have thought about directing. Right now there’s that classic female thing of being too terrified of it not being perfect. It’s a terrible affliction, because really what you should just do is dive in and give it a go. Maybe one day I’ll get over my fear and just do it. I hope there are many more courageous women than me who actually will.

You have four films coming out this year. Are you a workaholic? 
It’s been busy. I took a year off when I was pregnant and after I had my kid. It was interesting, because when you have a child it’s amazing and fulfilling, but you feel like your identity can in some way be subsumed by being a mother. I had a real feeling of needing to feel like I am still me, so I attached myself to an awful lot of projects, and I got to the last one, which was actually “Colette,” and realized I was absolutely knackered, so I’ve taken the last six months off.

I was the daughter of a working mother, and I know how important it was to me and my sense of self to see my mom working. I want my daughter to see that I’m doing something that I love. I want her to know that whatever field she chooses, she can have a kid and she can still pursue a career.

 [CREDIT: Nadav Kander for Variety]

Why did you want to do “The Nutcracker”?
You can’t say no to playing the Sugar Plum Fairy. I’d been doing a lot of work that was quite subtle, and I wanted something that was totally off the wall.

You have a really outrageous hairdo in the film. What inspired the Sugar Plum Fairy?
The candy cane hair is because she was a sweetie, but there were also a couple of Tory female politicians that I thought of. She’s Margaret Thatcher meets Marilyn Monroe.

Are you going to do more family films?
No. My taste is always going to be darker. I love strange, complex characters, and what’s great about my job is I get to try to understand people that I wouldn’t necessarily like.

Would you make the leap to television?
I intend to. I’ve been sent a lot of pilots. It’s a different way of reading scripts because quite often you’re only sent the first script and you’re not sent the rest of the series. Maybe they haven’t written them, but I find it to be a difficult concept. At some point, I’m just going to have to dive in and give it a go. I’m going to go wherever the great roles are.

You do a lot of period films like “The Duchess” or “Anna Karenina.” Do you like corset roles? 
For years I felt quite guilty about it, like it was something that I should try to shake off. Then I realized that these were the films I’ve always loved watching. I think some people find escapism through science fiction or fantasy, and I suppose my escapism into another world has always been through period drama. It’s nice that in my 30s I can finally admit that.

You can read Keira's full Variety Interview here.



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