keiraweb.co.uk

Frequently-Asked Questions


 
Where and when was she born ?
Where did she grow up and go to school ?
What about college or university ?
Who are her parents ?
Does she have any brothers or sisters ?
What are her 'vital statistics' or general description ?
Where does she live ?
What talents does she have apart from acting ?
What is her favourite colour, lucky number etc. ?
What are her favourite bands, movies, etc. ?
Does she suffer from dyslexia ?
 

Where and when was she born ?
Keira Christina Knightley was born on Tuesday 26th March 1985 in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames, South West London. She should have been an April baby, but was born one month premature.

Where did she grow up and go to school ?
Keira grew up in the London suburb of Richmond, and attended Teddington Comprehensive School. She left in July 2001, aged 16, after sitting her GCSE exams, in which she gained 5 A* passes.

What about college or university ?
Keira started at Esher College in September 2001 studying for her A Levels in Art, Classics, History and English Literature but when she landed roles in Pure (filming for three months in East London), New Year's Eve, The Seasons Alter and, soon after, the major character of Lara in Doctor Zhivago (filming for three months in Slovakia) she decided to leave her further education and pursue acting full-time. Her director of English said: "When she left, there was an understanding that she could return if she needed to, but we all knew she'd make it big."

Who are her parents ?
Her father is theatre and TV actor Will Knightley. Her mother is actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald. They met in 1969 at Edinburgh University. Keira was the result of an agreement between Will and Sharman. If she could sell one more play, then they would try for a second child, as their first child Caleb, had just been born. The play, When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream And Shout, went on to win numerous awards, and Keira was born in 1985.

Does she have any brothers or sisters ?
Keira has one older brother, Caleb, who was born in 1979. He currently works as a technician with the BBC.

What are her 'vital statistics' or general description ?
Keira is reputed to be 5' 7" tall with brown eyes and a hair colour which has changed so many times even she can't remember its original colour! In her early roles it is a mousy brown colour, and we must assume this was her natural tone.

Where does she live ?
Keira bought a $1.5m flat in London's Mayfair district, near to Hyde Park, in 2005. It has been variously rumoured she has purchased additional properties in Dublin and Los Angeles, but no proof of this has been attained. The latter is likely as LA is often her workplace and she dislikes staying in hotels for long periods.

What talents does she have apart from acting ?
Keira trained in ballet for a time, and can play the flute and piano. She was the coach of a school football team and made it into the netball team at college, although she missed the first game as she was auditioning for Doctor Zhivago ! She is also quite a talented artist and painter, including her own footwear.

What is her favourite colour, lucky number etc. ?
No idea. I don't think anyone's ever thought to ask her such mundane questions ! If you see her, ask her.

What are her favourite bands, movies, etc. ?
She was until recently a self-confessed dunce when it came to popular music, but in May this year she gave an online music survey a huge mix of different artists and musical styles, including Pulp, The Polyphonic Spree, The Cure, The Smiths, Electric Six, Bjork, Coldplay, Oasis and Tori Amos !
As for movies, she watches Casablanca, La Reine Margot, City Of God and The Lion In Winter regularly. Her favourite book is Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Does she suffer from dyslexia ?
From a young age, it was determined that Keira had severe difficulty in reading and writing certain words. She worked hard, with the support of her family, to overcome this dyslexia and is now for the most part cured, although she still has trouble with certain long words. She never sat the tests of the British Dyslexia Association, so was never officially diagnosed as dyslexic.

Can she drive, and what does she drive ?
Which was her first performance ?
Has she only ever been a movie actress ?
Has she done any theatre ?
What was her 'big break' ?
What are her dream roles ?
How is she viewed by the public and press ?
 

Can she drive, and what does she drive ?
Keira learned to drive in January and February 2004 while in Glasgow filming The Jacket. The role required her to drive and so she had lessons with the British School of Motoring, BSM. As well as The Jacket she can also be seen driving in Domino. As of March 2006 she has yet to pass her test. She has said in interviews she wouldn't mind a new-style Mini Cooper if she had to buy one.

Which was her first performance ?
Her first credited performance was as 'Little Girl' in A Royal Celebration, directed by Ferdy Fairfax and broadcast as a one-off TV play in 1993 (see picture, right). It co-starred Minnie Driver and Rupert Graves and was set in July 1981 at the time of Charles and Diana's wedding.

Has she only ever been a movie actress ?
No. Most of her early work was as someone's daughter in TV roles such as A Village Affair, or as a tearaway in The Bill. She recorded a radio drama, Villette, in 1999 and has since filmed a number of short, independent films which have never been seen in the cinema. She has also been an interview subject in documentaries such as Mindscape and The South Bank Show. She has recorded voiceovers for three characters in an animation film, Gaijin, as well as voicework for the Pirates of the Caribbean computer game. She has recorded at least three hairstyling mousse commercials for Japanese TV. In July 2003 she presented the 'Top 5 Swashbuckling Movies' countdown on the MTV movie show Screenplay, and in March 2005 co-presented a compilation of comedy clips for Comic Relief.

Has she done any theatre ?
With her parents' background, Keira virtually grew up with 'the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd', as stage actors often say. It is likely she appeared on stage in small parts, perhaps crowd scenes, but none of them were credited, as far as is known. She has a passion to perform in a West End play.

What was her 'big break' ?
It is commonly held that Bend It Like Beckham was her big break, as this lead to Love Actually, which lead to other roles. However, her biggest exposure to date was as Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean. It was this role that lead directly to King Arthur (thanks to producer of both movies Jerry Bruckheimer), and indirectly to The Jacket and Domino. The US release of Bend It Like Beckham at around the same time as Pirates helped to give Keira continuous media coverage for most of 2003. You would expect the semi-major role she played in Star Wars Episode I to have given her her big break, but the revelation that Queen Amidala used a decoy was kept a big secret until after the film was released, and so Keira did not feature in any of its promotions.

What are her dream roles ?
She replies to this question without hesitation - Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion In Winter (played by Katherine Hepburn in the 1968 movie). She would also liked to have played Margot in La Reine Margot.

How is she viewed by the public and press ?
It has to be said that most 'column inches' (include in that web page inches) which have been written about Keira over the last couple of years concern either her beauty or her private life. Rarely is she described as a fantastic actress or even a natural actress. It is because of this that some people say she will not be around for very long and that she has only made so many Hollywood movies because of her looks. Most people who say this have only seen Keira in certain roles, such as Pirates, Bend It, Love Actually and King Arthur, in which, while giving excellent performances, she was hardly stretched as an actress. I would advise people to see Pure and Doctor Zhivago to see Keira in her greatest performances to date. The critical reviews so far for Pride and Prejudice have been the closest to 'rave reviews' that she's ever had, with comments such as "a career-making performance". Her nominations in many awards categories, notably Best Actress at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards have silenced many of her critics. 
We have yet to see Keira's greatest role. It may be this year, may be next, may be in ten years' time. She's only 20 years old - all the time in the world to continue developing as an actress, and for us to see what she has to offer.


 
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