Keira Knightley discusses the negative aspects of starring in Knightley debuted her role of Elizabeth Swann in 2003’s Though introduced as a largely sheltered character, Elizabeth went on to have a more active role in the franchise and even became Pirate King.
While speaking to , Knightley revealed the role was a double-edged sword. Despite the career benefits of , the actor discussed her concerns she would be typecast as “” in roles after playing Elizabeth. Check out Knightley’s full explanation below:
I had quite an entrance into adult life, an extreme landing because of the experience of fame at a very early age. There’s a funny place where women are meant to sit, publicly, and I never felt comfortable with that. It was a big jolt. I was being judged on what I was projecting. [Elizabeth] was the object of everybody’s lust. Not that she doesn’t have a lot of fight in her. But it was interesting coming from being really tomboyish to getting projected as quite the opposite. I felt very constrained. I felt very stuck. So the roles afterwards were about trying to break out of that.
At the time of the first 18 years old. Prior to playing Elizabeth, Knightley had acted primarily in TV episodes and made-for-TV movies, with a standout role in 2002’s . was a huge opportunity for her as a breakout star, giving her the chance to take on a leading role in a blockbuster film that would become a franchise.
Given how much of a launching point was for her career, it is interesting to see Knightley’s cautious early reaction. As one of her biggest roles to date, Knightley had every right to be worried about what Elizabeth would do to her career. Her next film role, in also saw the actor playing a love interest caught between two men, not unlike Elizabeth's dynamic with Will Turner and Jack Sparrow. Though not nearly as sexualized as in , Knightley’s worries about typecasting did hold some validity.
Luckily, Knightley did find a way to “” the lust-inspiring, sought-after young woman in her later roles. She is now a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor, for and . Though she continued to play Elizabeth in the for the next two films, her filmography now expands far beyond that.