Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Repugnant Religion of Amazon's 'Hand of God' The Repugnant Religion of Amazon's 'Hand of God' Martin Scorsese's Venice Film Festival Short Cancelled Martin Scorsese's Venice Film Festival Short Cancelled Top 10 Takeaways: Two African-American Movies Draw Crowds as 'We Are Your Friends' Plays in Empty Theaters Top 10 Takeaways: Two African-American Movies Draw Crowds as 'We Are Your Friends' Plays in Empty Theaters Welles Whiz Peter Bogdanovich Says 'Other Side of the Wind' Will Start Editing This Fall Welles Whiz Peter Bogdanovich Says 'Other Side of the Wind' Will Start Editing This Fall With 'A Sinner in Mecca,' Parvez Sharma Puts His Soul and More on the Line (Exclusive Clips and Poster) With 'A Sinner in Mecca,' Parvez Sharma Puts His Soul and More on the Line (Exclusive Clips and Poster) Laura Poitras' Work Isn't Finished: Talking Her Whitney Exhibit, Lawsuit, and Why It's "Kafkaesque" Laura Poitras' Work Isn't Finished: Talking Her Whitney Exhibit, Lawsuit, and Why It's "Kafkaesque" Christopher Nolan to Address Film Preservation at London Film Fest Christopher Nolan to Address Film Preservation at London Film Fest Stream the Nightmarish 'Queen of Earth' Score Composed by Keegan DeWitt (Exclusive) Stream the Nightmarish 'Queen of Earth' Score Composed by Keegan DeWitt (Exclusive) Angelina Jolie's 'By the Sea' to Open AFI Fest (Trailer) Angelina Jolie's 'By the Sea' to Open AFI Fest (Trailer) Germany Submits 'Labyrinth of Lies' as More Foreign Oscar Picks Emerge (Exclusive Trailer) Germany Submits 'Labyrinth of Lies' as More Foreign Oscar Picks Emerge (Exclusive Trailer) Listen to 'Crimson Peak' Sound Artist Randy Thom Talk Dolby, Influence of 'Apocalypse Now' Listen to 'Crimson Peak' Sound Artist Randy Thom Talk Dolby, Influence of 'Apocalypse Now' What Happened to 'Lewis And Clark'? HBO Miniseries Resumes Production in Spring What Happened to 'Lewis And Clark'? HBO Miniseries Resumes Production in Spring Elisabeth Moss Goes Next-Level Insane in Alex Ross Perry's 'Queen of Earth' (Review) Elisabeth Moss Goes Next-Level Insane in Alex Ross Perry's 'Queen of Earth' (Review) TIFF First Look: David Oyelowo and Dianne Wiest Lead 'Five Nights in Maine' TIFF First Look: David Oyelowo and Dianne Wiest Lead 'Five Nights in Maine' Tarantino Opens Up about 'Hateful Eight,' Disses Cate Blanchett and 'True Detective,' and More Tarantino Opens Up about 'Hateful Eight,' Disses Cate Blanchett and 'True Detective,' and More Lynch, Fincher, 'True Detective' and the Unknowable Future of Auteur TV Lynch, Fincher, 'True Detective' and the Unknowable Future of Auteur TV 10 Things You Might Not Know About Pixar's 'Inside Out' 10 Things You Might Not Know About Pixar's 'Inside Out' Who Will Be the Next James Bond? Take Our Poll Who Will Be the Next James Bond? Take Our Poll Ten Hot Movie Pairings to Look Forward to in 2015 (Trailers) Ten Hot Movie Pairings to Look Forward to in 2015 (Trailers) 'Top of the Lake' Finale Recap: State of Emergency 'Top of the Lake' Finale Recap: State of Emergency

Career Watch: Keira Knightley Skids Without Joe Wright, Luckily "Anna Karenina" Is Next

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 25, 2012 at 8:08PM

With a face like hers, stardom was probably inevitable for Keira Knightley. At 27 and with over a decade on the A-list, she's already had hits and misses, a handful of Oscar and Golden Globes nominations and a beauty endorsement with Chanel. She is adored by many of both sexes, but has suffered a string of disappointments since 2007's "Atonement."
1
Keira Knightley

With a face like hers, stardom was probably inevitable for Keira Knightley. At 27 and with over a decade on the A-list, she's already had hits and misses, a handful of Oscar and Golden Globes nominations and a Chanel beauty endorsement. She is adored by many of both sexes, but has suffered a string of disappointments since 2007's "Atonement."

With franchise "Pirates of the Caribbean" long behind her, last weekend's low-budget entry "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" was no comeback from "The Duchess" and "Silk." But with Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina," due November 9, she's primed to return to the spotlight in the dramatic period formula that works for her. Knightley is currently shooting "Can A Song Save Your Life?"

SIGNATURE QUOTE: "And those are the words of a gentleman? From the moment I met you your arrogance and conceit and your selfish disdain for the feelings of other made me realize that you are the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry." - To Mr. Darcy in "Pride & Prejudice"

THE START: South London-born Knightley, the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress-playwright Sharman Macdonald, made a name for herself as a tomboy athlete in "Bend it Like Beckham" in 2002 and landed the role of Elizabeth Swan in the original "Pirates of the Caribbean." She would go on to star in two consecutive sequels before abandoning ship. Christmas omnibus "Love, Actually" further exposed Knightley to a worldwide audience of admirers.

BIGGEST ASSET: Self-assurance to match her high cheekbones made people take her seriously immediately and established her as Joe Wright's go-to star for period dramas. A feisty personality and occasional edginess led Knightley to play some I'm-more-than-a-pretty-face emotional dynamos.

CAREER HIGHTLIGHTS: Her collaborations with Wright, "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement" ("Anna Karenina" arrives in November) rank as her best ("Pride" earned her an Oscar nomination; Golden Globe nominations came for both), while Tony Scott's "Domino" subverted her sweet persona and amped up her sex appeal. 2010's "Never Let Me Go" was underappreciated and utilized Knightley's darker side, foreshadowing her divisive performance in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method"...

MISFIRES: There have been a few. Without Wright directing her, period pieces "The Duchess," "Silk" and "The Edge of Love" proved stifling, and weak contemporary relationship dramas "Last Night" and "London Boulevard" did not take advantage of her emotive close-ups. Her performance in "A Dangerous Method" provoked debate; she deserves credit for her audacity if not for her performance. "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is a career low, a combination of bad directing, tonal confusion and sheer mugging.

CAREER ADVICE: Stick with Wright for the period dramas and find a way to relax into edgier characters without trying so hard.

This article is related to: Keira Knightley, Keira Knightley, Career Watch, Features, Trailers, Video, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Anna Karenina, A Dangerous Method


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.