The two-time Oscar nominee discussed with The Telegraph regarding the pressure that came with the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and how it forced her to stay away from the limelight.
Keira Knightley wasn’t able to properly handle the fame and attention that came after the release of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean back in 2003, which she starred as Elizabeth Swann alongside Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. Speaking with The Telegraph in a recent interview, Knightley said that she suffered a mental breakdown in the wake of having King Arthur, Atonement, and Love, Actually in her credentials while just being 22 years old. She added that the paparazzi following her everywhere just made things worse.
She told Robbie Collin, “The value of photographs of any famous young women at the time went up if they were of a very negative nature,” referring to the crazy media antics at that time with the likes of Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse getting a lot of attention for the wrong reasons.
“So if you weren’t already having a mental breakdown, they were trying to push you into doing things that kept your value as high as those who were.” she added.
The actress further stated that she remembered the time when Scarlett Johansson was forced off the road by paparazzi and that a similar incident happened to her in a Kentish Town in England.
“I told them I was going to kill somebody; they said they’d get more money if I did…I don’t know how things are now…but it was definitely a moment I wanted to run away from. It did not feel like it would end anywhere well.”
Knightley said that after having a two year break, she has come back into acting but made the decision to stay away from doing big-budget movies. She further elaborated that she could not handle the fame that comes with them. The actress has gravitated towards more indie and art house films like Never Let Me Go, The Edge of Love, and A Dangerous Method. She is currently featured in the 2019 docu-drama Official Secrets as Katharine Gun, a post-911 whistleblower.
“Looking back, I think Katharine’s story just got swallowed up by the actual invasion of Iraq itself,” The actress explained. “Yet now it feels like an important piece of that puzzle. We’re still living with the legacy of that war, so trying to understand the lead up to it made this feel like an important story to tell.” Knightley added.
Official Secrets stars Knightley alongside Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, and Ralph Fiennes.