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Keira Knightley's 2004 - KeiraWeb's multimedia Review of the Year

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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.
 
 

January
- 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 photo 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 Bangour 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.

February
- 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 were planned.
- 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.

March
- 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 Helena.
- 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.

April
- 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 heard!"
- 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, A Royal Celebration.
- 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 Louise 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.

May
- 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' digitally enhanced.
- 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 face.
- 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 groceries.

June
- 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, Arena, Vogue and Cosmopolitan, plus most of the movie magazines. TV appearances on David Letterman and Jay Leno rounded off a very busy month in the US.

July
- 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 and magazine interviews.
- 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.

August
- 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 October.
- 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.
- Filming 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.

September
- 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 District.
- 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 30th.

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 mean-looking rifles.
- 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 2005.
- Keira won Best International Female at the Irish Film & Television Awards in Dublin on the 31st.

November
- 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.

December
- 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 that day.
- 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.
 

Looking Ahead
- 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.

 

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