|Recap of 2003
Few would doubt that Keira Knightley truly 'arrived'
in 2003. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was the
live-action smash of the summer, raking in $305million in the US alone
and more than $650million worldwide. From the moment she started to appear
on talk shows and her appearance in a cropped white Valentino
top at the Disneyland premiere, all talk was of the unknown beauty
starring alongside big-hitters Depp, Rush, Pryce and Bloom. Earlier in
the year Bend It Like Beckham had been released in the US, and in August,
with Keira and Pirates dominating the box office, Bend It's distributors
took the unusual decision to re-screen the movie at 1,000 theatres across
the US. It became the 'sleeper hit' of the year. Love Actually's Christmas
success rounded off a busy year for Keira's new fans around the world,
and the three performances lead to many of the year's 'One To Watch'
and 'Breakthrough Star' accolades heading Keira's way. Keira herself had
spent June to November in the Irish countryside filming
King Arthur with Clive Owen and Ioan Gruffudd. It was to be Keira's
only release of 2004, but a year in which she recorded three more films
of very different genres.
- The year started much as 2003 had ended - with
an award nomination. The Empire Magazine Film Awards gave Keira a nomination
in the Best British Actress category alongside Helen Mirren, Julie Walters
and the eventual winner Emma Thompson (ceremony held on February 4th).
- The prospect of starring with Keira became a
reality for Scottish residents in early January when castng calls opened
in Livingston, West Lothian for parts in the new thriller The
Jacket. Keira had arrived in Scotland early in the New Year, staying
with her grandparents near Greenock. Immediately prior to filming, she
moved to the hotel One
Devonshire Gardens, home for the duration of cast and crew, including
co-producer George Clooney who caused a media frenzy when he flew in unexpectedly.
While in Glasgow, Keira had a very public
shoot for a British newspaper on January 17th - in a chip shop!
- Filming got underway at several locations around
the Livingston and Broxburn areas, but most notably at the disused
Hospital, which doubles as an asylum in the film.
- Rumours that Keira was dating her leading man
Adrien Brody spread as they were seen out on the town on a few occasions,
and even a rumour that she and Mikey Green from boyband Phixx had swapped
phone numbers at a White Stripes concert - neither of which were true.
Keira even started taking driving lessons on her days off from filming.
- Figures released at the beginning of February
put Keira at No.1 in the earnings league for 2003, based on global box
office. Pirates, Bend It and Love Actually raked in a total of £238.6m,
beating Carrie-Ann Moss and Halle Berry.
- The 10th became 'Black Tuesday' for British film-makers
when the British Government suddenly and without warning closed a number
of tax loopholes which up till then had encouraged films to be made in
the UK. One of those affected was Tulip Fever, which was due to start filming
in April, starring Keira and Jude Law. Producer Alison Owen lost one-third
of her budget for the movie overnight, and emergency talks with the government
- Mid-month came the announcement that Bend It
director Gurinder Chadha was to make a movie of I Dream Of Jeannie, and
Keira's name immediately topped the casting list rumour mill to play the
lead. By the end of the month another rumour was out - Keira would play
Alison Harbinson in a movie version of David Nicholls' novel Starter For
Ten, which had seen its rights bought by Tom Hanks' production company.
Away from films, it was rumoured that Keira had every intention of enrolling
at Oxford Brookes University in September - she hadn't. Meanwhile, Keira
was revealed as Glamour magazine's fifth best-dressed woman in the world,
and a dentists' survey valued the Knightley smile at $775,000.
- Another month, another rumour. Australian actor
Chris Egan said in an interview that he had just landed a part opposite
Keira in Casanova. It was premature casting, and the role eventually went
to Sienna Miller.
- Keira became a contender on Channel 4's A
Wife For William show, in which the public voted for people in five
categories to be a potential wife for Prince William. Keira won her round,
but came second in the final round.
- Filming of The Jacket ended in Scotland and moved
to the Montreal area of Canada.
- In mid-March, a hitherto unknown performance
from Keira surfaced on the environmental organisation Futerra's web site.
Called The Season's Alter,
it was an excerpt from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Keira played
- Keira celebrated her 19th birthday on the 22nd
of the month, although it was reported that a planned party in Canada had
to be cancelled as filming ran over till 2.30 in the morning. Filming wrapped
on The Jacket at the end of the month.
- April's issue of Vanity Fair magazine, published
this month, had Keira as cover
girl, with a set of photos inside by Mario Testino and an interview
conducted in Ireland back in October.
- Early April saw a report in London's Evening
Standard newspaper that Keira was living in fear of a stalker
who hangs around outside her house in Richmond.
It was also reported that Keira had made a £500,000 offer on a Thames-side
apartment in Chelsea, but later lost out to another bidder.
- FilmReview magazine named Keira as 'Most Likely
Hollywood Legend of the Future', beating Charlize Theron, Kate Beckinsale
and Rachel Weisz. She is also the highest-placed Brit in Maxim magazine's
'Hot 100' actresses for 2004.
- Keira was among several young celebrities who
appealed to younger voters to cast their vote at the European Elections
on June 10th. Keira said: "Voting is about getting powerful institutions
to listen to what the public thinks. Don't just complain, make yourself
- Probably the biggest storm of Keira's year was
caused by the publication of a photograph
on April 18th of Keira leaving a leading cosmetic surgery clinic in London
with apparently swollen lips. Her agent's denial that she was only visiting
a dermatologist in the same building fell on deaf ears as the story went
around the world that Keira had 'gilded the lily' and had collagen implants.
The fact that Keira had always had puffy lips was conveniently ignored,
as was the fact that she was photographed on
the town the following night with no signs of lip surgery whatsoever.
The rumour persists to this day, although Keira was forced to deny it herself
in subsequent interviews throughout the King Arthur promotions.
- Last-minute talks to save Tulip Fever from collapsing
failed, and the project was officially suspended. Sets which had been built
at Pinewood Studios were dismantled and 10,000 tulips planted the previous
winter to flower coincidentally with the filming schedule had to be destroyed.
- Within days of each other, a photograph appeared
in the Radio Times showing Keira in an early role in TV police drama The
Bill, and More
magazine unearthed a promotional family photo from Keira's first ever role,
- The Royal Shakespeare Company announced that
visitors to its web site had voted Keira and American 'Buffy' actor James
Marsters the best Romeo and Juliet. Keira said: "I am absolutely thrilled
to have come top of the poll, particularly as Juliet is a role I would
very much love to play in the future."
- April 26th saw the DVD release of Pure in the
UK, a powerful, hard-hitting drama from Gillies MacKinnon. Keira played
Barnstable, a pregnant, drug-addicted waitress who befriends the son
of a drug addict. Keira dominated the cover
of the DVD.
- The end of the month brought the news that Keira
would be playing Lizzie Bennett in Working Title's production of Pride
and Prejudice, the first big-screen adaptation for 60 years.
- Meanwhile, Keira had to resume her role as Guinevere
when new closing scenes for King Arthur had to be shot on the Brecon Beacons
in South Wales.
- In the middle of May, the King Arthur promotions
started in earnest when the poster
was released. It showed Keira front centre, albeit with her own 'front'
- It was also at this time that Disney executives
confirmed there would be two sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean, both
being released in 2006.
- On May 19th, Keira 'outed' boyfriend Jamie Dornan
by taking him along to an official engagement for the first time. The event
was the reopening of London's Asprey store, of which Keira is celebrity
- On a personal level, 2004 was important for Keira
as it was the year she 'fled the nest'. Keira had recently purchased a
flat in London's Mayfair district, and was seen buying furniture with Jamie
towards the end of the month, and buying
- Keira won Best Film Actress in Glamour Magazine's
'Women Of The Year' Awards, held in Berkeley Square, London on June 8th.
- More last-minute filming on King Arthur kept
Keira busy during June, just weeks away from its US opening. Meanwhile
Disney admitted that despite not being in the movie until halfway through,
they were centring the movie's promotional strategy around Keira's massive
popularity, concentrating on showing her scenes in the TV
spots, lining her up for a whirlwind tour of the talk show circuit
and ensuring 'cover girl' status on a number of magazines.
- On the 17th, the first filming location for Pride
and Prejudice was confirmed by the Stamford Today newspaper in Lincolnshire.
Stamford town and nearby Burghley House would be used during August.
- King Arthur's world
premiere was held on the 28th at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York,
attended by Keira and the rest of the cast. The event was slightly muted
for fans, however, as it was revealed the movie's promised 'R' rating had
been slashed to a PG-13 to appeal to a wider audience, after box office
disappointments for Disney earlier in the year. Keira's promotions got
into full swing, with magazine covers on Premiere,
plus most of the movie
magazines. TV appearances on David
Letterman and Jay
Leno rounded off a very busy month in the US.
- Keira helped to launch the BBC's Sport Relief
charity campaign on the 7th, with a photocall.
- Keira's massive promotional push for King Arthur
switched to the UK in early July, including the UK
premiere in Leicester Square, London on the 15th, and many newspaper
- Meanwhile, more cast news was released for Pride
and Prejudice: Dame Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland and Penelope Wilton.
And the first
stills from The Jacket appeared.
- King Arthur opened at No.3 at the US box office.
- The Sun newspaper reported on the 18th that Keira,
together with Love Actually co-star Andrew Lincoln and its director Richard
Curtis, had travelled to Ethiopia
on behalf of Comic Relief, to see how the money raised from previous charity
campaigns had been spent.
- On the 19th Keira started filming
Pride and Prejudice at Stamford in Lincolnshire.
- Domino was announced on the 2nd as Keira's new
movie when Pride finishes. It's not a biopic but is based on the true life
story of Domino
Harvey, a Hollywood model who became disillusioned with her glamorous
lifestyle and became a bounty hunter. Filming was scheduled to start in
- Despite a cool critical reception, King Arthur
opened at No.1 in the UK, taking £1.9m in its opening weekend. It
also debuted in the top spot across Europe, as well as Japan and Russia.
- New Woman magazine voted Keira 'World's Most
Beautiful Celebrity' and she graced the cover
of their September issue. She also won Best Chemistry and Best Liplock
awards (with Orlando Bloom for Pirates) at the Teen Choice Awards.
on Pride and Prejudice moved to Groombridge Place in Kent until the 22nd,
then moved to Wilton House in Wiltshire later in the month.
- On 31st it was announced the Hollywood Film Festival
will be presenting Keira with the Hollywood Breakthrough Award - Female
Performer on October 18th.
- Pride and Prejudice filming moved to Basildon
House in Berkshire on the 7th, then Chatsworth House in Derbyshire from
27th to 29th and out onto the wild moors of the Peak
- Around the 12th Keira had cropped
her long hair ready for her new role in Domino. The remaining Pride scenes
therefore saw her sporting a wig.
- Keira's Guinevere earned her a nomination as
Best International Actress at the Irish Film and Television Awards on October
- Empire magazine announced the results of their
poll to find the Sexiest Movie Star Ever - with Keira coming in at No.1.
- The Cambridge University Debating Union revealed
that Keira had been invited to give a lecture on celebrity next year.
- Keira started filming Domino on the 4th in Los
Angeles, opposite Mickey Rourke, Chris Walken, Lucy Liu and Mena Suvari
among others. First
photos showed Keira wearing gun belts, handcuffs, a tattoo and wielding
- On the 18th Keira was awarded
the Breakthrough Award - Female Performer at the Hollywood Film Awards
in Beverly Hills.
- An email to KeiraWeb from Tulip Fever producers
Ruby Films on the 22nd confirmed that the project was still active and
Keira was still contracted to play Sophia. No date was given for the filming
of the movie.
- The 22nd saw pre-production officially begin
on Pirates 2, although filming is not due to start until the end of February
- Keira won Best International Female at the Irish
Film & Television Awards in Dublin on the 31st.
- With the Phantom of the Opera hitting the big
screen, plans were announced for a movie version of stage hit Mamma Mia,
with Keira one of the names rumoured for a major role.
- Organisers of the Sundance Film Festival announced
their line-up for the 2005 event, including the first public screening
of The Jacket.
- After Thanksgiving on the 25th production of
Domino moved to Nevada, including major scenes at the Stratosphere Tower
hotel, and in the Valley of Fire State Park.
- Keira was slightly injured on the set of Domino
when one of the two guns she was simultaneously firing misfired a bullet,
causing minor burns. She was treated at the scene and resumed filming later
- On the 17th it was revealed that Keira's love
scenes were filmed by a body-double, topless dancer Roberta Lorincz.
- One more poll, out on the 22nd, revealed that
23% of British men would like to kiss Keira under the mistletoe.
- Keira was the fourth most searched-for name on
the Internet Movie Database, it was revealed on the 23rd - a database of
51,000 names and 20 million users.
- Filming on Domino wrapped on the 20th, and Keira
left for a family Christmas holiday.
- The future of Tulip Fever is still unclear. The
Autumn 2004 shoot never happened, and there has been no media talk of the
project since April. I was assured by Ruby Films that it was still active,
but the possibility is always present that Keira may no longer be available,
or any of the other originally-announced cast. If it happens in 2005 it
will be a double shoot for Keira, with Pirates taking up most of her year.
We just don't know. Films sometimes take years to get going again after
initial funding collapse, so maybe we should forget about it - for now.
- Both Pirates sequel scripts have been written,
but the cheque from Disney for two films has not. Even if Pirates 2 is
the only sequel, it will still take up a large part of Keira's 2005. With
remote islands used in the Caribbean and closed sets in LA, photographs
and information will be scarce, and we must brace ourselves for an onslaught
of false newsbites and pure conjecture. However, there will be far
more interest in the filming of this/these movie/s now that the first one
was such a surprise hit.
- Keira's Asprey contract expires in July, so you
can expect the media to use the words 'dumped by Asprey'' quite often,
as they always do when celebrity affiliations come to an end. I predict
a cosmetics company will not lose time to sign up Keira for commercials
and posters - but will it be Revlon, Maybelline or Estee Lauder ?
- If Pirates 2 and 3 does dominate Keira's
year, we will have to wait until 2006 to see what type of films she will
choose, if any, from the many scripts she receives every month. A varied
resume, covering many genres, is the best way to ensure her ever-increasing
fanbase will continue to grow and that we, as fans, can continue to watch
her grow as a talented actress.
(c) Paul Fisher 2004. Reproduction prohibited.