February 04, 2015

Women of Doubt: Keira Knightley wishes she weren't an atheist (but not seriously of course)

photo credit: IMDB

Perhaps this one isn't really fair.

I am sure most of us know that Keira Knightley is an atheist. She's been very open about that lack of belief.

But all the same, it's powerful, isn't it? Here's a high profile woman, an outspoken woman, one who is successful and widely acknowledged as talented, and she unabashedly admits that she's a nonbeliever.

I love it, and not just because I am a fan of Elizabeth Swann.

It would be easy for this to turn into just one big, long list of the movies Knightley has appeared in, but I'm going to resist and just do a brief bio and some quotes. Take a look.

Who is Keira Knightley?


Knightley is a British actress and singer.

She was born on March 26, 1985 to Will Knightley, an actor, and Sharman Macdonald, an actress turned playwright. On this both Wikipedia and her IMDB profile agree.

Supposedly, Knightley asked for her own agent at the age of three, but wasn't allowed to start working until she was six. Her first television appearance came as "Little Girl" in Screen One: Royal Celebration. That aired in 1993, when Knightley was seven years old.

The consensus seems to be that Knightley worked to overcome rather severe learning difficulties as a child, with one source (Wiki, admittedly) saying that she was diagnosed with dyslexia at age six. Her IMDB biography refutes this, however, saying she never sat the formal test necessary for the diagnosis itself. Either way, Knightley has said many times that while she loves words and reading, they still don't come easily to her, a truly fascinating admission from a woman who is admittedly quite eloquent at times.

Knightley continued to attend school and progress through a variety of television roles. As she transitioned to the big screen, perhaps her most notable role was one no one knew she played until afterward: Knightley started as Sabè, the decoy queen to Natalie Portman's Amidala/Padme in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (please don't hold that against her!).

She would go on to star in a variety of films. Love Actually allowed her the chance to share a screen with her childhood idol, Emma Thompson, while Bend It Like Beckham gained her relatively widespread recognition.

Her truly big breakthrough, however, came in a film she reputedly nearly missed out on due to traffic on the day of auditions: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. It was that movie that brought her to the attention of international audiences.

Indeed, the success of Pirates supposedly convinced the distributors of Bend It Like Beckham to take the unconventional move of re-releasing the film to US audiences. While it had enjoyed moderate success there before, Knightley's recognition flung it several spots higher on the charts.

Knightley's success has allowed her to take a variety of roles based on what she enjoys doing. She's become well-known for period pieces and independent films since, and it's truly lovely to see a performer who approaches her art in such a way.

Quotes

If only I wasn't an atheist, I could get away with anything. You'd just ask for forgiveness and then you'd be forgiven. It sounds much better than having to live with guilt.

Well, the thing about great fictional characters from literature, and the reason that they're constantly turned into characters in movies, is that they completely speak to what makes people human.

It's good to know that other people think differently, and that's what makes the characters interesting.

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