RT Interview: Keira Knightley on Welsh Accents and Life After Pirates
Britain's hottest young actress tells RT why supporting homegrown film is important.
Keira Knightley's star seems ever on the rise as early success with audiences in films like Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean have segued into multi-award-winning roles in the likes of Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. In The Edge of Love, Knightley stars alongside Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys in a film about the fiery relationship between Dylan Thomas (Rhys) and three of his friends. Already attracting talk of another Oscar nomination, Knightley's performance is being described as one of her best. The script has been penned by Sharman MacDonald, Knightley's mother.
You're an actor who enjoys a challenge; what was the challenge of this film for you?
Keira Knightley: You know, it's really funny, it's actually really lovely to work on something that was so intimate, and small. And I think that it's very rare to get a film script that has such good dialogue. So it was a real joy, because a lot of the time you spend on film sets, you spend it really fighting to find out how to say the words. With this one we were already at another level, because it just flowed so easily.
Did it help to have friendships with the cast before you started?
KK: It really helped. I don't think that you can fake warmth. You can fake lust, jealousy, anger; those are all quite easy. But actual, genuine warmth? I don't think you can fake it. And it was really great that we did all get on. We had a great time all living in the same house, and we felt like a proper unit. So it means that when you're doing something that's incredibly intimate, you're safe to try things out and you don't feel like a complete dickhead!
How did you wrap your tongue around the Welsh accent?
KK: We had a really good voice coach. Half my mum's family is Welsh, and I remember when I was a kid, she used to read to me, and wizards and characters like that always had a Welsh accent.
Did it feel strange working on her script for this film, as well?
KK: It actually felt very natural. If you live with a writer, you do grow up with their words and with their fantasies. And I've pretty -much seen every single one of her plays, so I've been in a lot of rehearsal rooms, and all the rest of it. It felt very natural and very easy, and lovely to do that professionally, as well.
Were you looking for something of hers that you'd be able to collaborate on?
KK: Not at all, it was a complete fluke and accident. It was literally just that she said, "will you give me some notes," and I thought it was beautiful and an amazing story, and just really interesting. So I was working on The Jacket, and I just gave it to one of the producers, thinking he may be able to give notes on it, or something. He said, "is this something you're thinking about?" And I only really said yes cause he'd read it, I didn't think anything would come of it at all. So yes, it was fantastically accidental.
Dylan Thomas is not that likeable in the movie, is he?
KK: Some people really just go, "Oh, he's mischievous," and other people go, "wow, he's quite demonic, and dark." So I think it's wonderful that it says a lot about the people that are going to see the film. I don't feel we should dictate about him, I think if that's your view of him, then that's wonderful. It's good to know that other people think differently, and that's what makes the characters interesting.