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Joanne Soh
Friday, Oct 10, 2014

Showbiz

Rock it like Keira

The New Paper | Joanne Soh | Friday, Oct 10, 2014

Actress Keira Knightley

There's no escape from Keira Knightley.

In this year alone, we will have seen the gorgeous 29-year-old British actress four times on the big screen in very different roles.

There was Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, her comeback of sorts to the Hollywood blockbuster arena; followed by Begin Again, where she showed us she could quite easily have a sideline as a singer.

Now there's indie rom-com Laggies, which opens here tomorrow, followed by The Imitation Game, which could get her some Oscar buzz.

Laggies also stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell as daughter and father who take in Knightley's aimless Megan, who's suffering from a quarter-life crisis.

Thankfully Knightley's real life is anything but directionless.

Since her breakout in Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Knightley has barely been out of the public eye.

Indeed, in our book, this English rose is pretty darn awesome.

SHE'S MULTIFACETED

It's getting harder to pigeon-hole Knightley. She's proving herself equally capable in period dramas or action films.

With Laggies, another side of her is on display - improvisational comedy. The film offered a "vibe of fresh air", she told Indiewire.

"(It's) very optimistic as opposed to the very neurotic, very dark pieces that had previously been interesting to me."

She added: "I've gone from very stylised dialogue to something where there's quite a bit of improvisation, where you can be quite loose and playful."

SHE'S A CHAMELEON

Seldom do you see one actress sport so many looks.

Her tomboy role in Bend It In Beckham so impressed Jerry Bruckheimer that the producer decided to put Knightley in gowns and corsets as the female lead in Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003).

In 2005, she played kick-ass modern day LA bounty hunter in Domino before turning into a Jane Austen heroine in Pride & Prejudice.

The Austen role led to an Oscar nomination.

Oh, and let's not forget that in 2004, she was also a blue Woad warrior princess in Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur.

SHE'S WILLING TO EXPERIMENT

Her resume is littered with blockbusters and Oscar-bait, but Knightley yearns for smaller, stranger pieces such as Scarlett Johansson's Under The Skin.

She told The Guardian: "The majority of my work is still commercial. It hasn't gone hugely experimental, which I would really like to do."

SHE'S TAKES THINGS IN HER STRIDE

While fans loved her, the critics were less friendly.

One wag even dubbed her "Ikea Knightley" because of her wooden performances. He has since relented, and not because he was punched by English actor Benedict Cumberbatch over the comment.

Knightley admitted to The Guardian that the criticisms hurled at her were hard to swallow.

She said: "At school, drama was always something I'd been good at. And then all of a sudden people are saying: 'No, you're ****.'"

Acting abilities aside, she was also under fire with some tabloids claiming she was anorexic.

While once disturbed by the comments, Knightley told the Daily Mail recently she has since adopted a more philosophical stance and steers clear of Googling herself.

SHE'S COMFORTABLE IN HER OWN SKIN

She may not have a va-va-voom figure - in fact, she's proud of her small breasts and had openly criticised Hollywood for digitally enlarging her assets - yet she has managed to make it onto various lads mags' sexiest woman lists.

She even posed topless for the September issue of Interview Magazine - naked save for a pair of trousers and three-quarter-length lacy gloves.

She also acknowledges that in Hollywood, ability only takes you so far. She told the Daily Mirror:"Have I got parts because of the way I look? Yes. What can you do about it? I look the way I look."

joannes@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 8, 2014.
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