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Hollywood Feminist of the Day: Keira Knightley (Again)

Hollywood Feminist of the Day: Keira Knightley (Again)

In the past few months, Keira Knightley has proven herself a thoughtful and engaged actress by using her press tours for Lynn Shelton’s Laggies and the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game to speak out on behalf of women in the film industry. 

Earlier this summer, Knightley told the UK’s Sunday Times that she loves working with female filmmakers because “you don’t have to do this loveable, soft version of what the female sex has to be.” She added, “There’s a weird view of femininity we put into our culture that has nothing to do with the experience of being a woman.”

And then she posed nude for Interview magazine a few weeks ago as a protest against the media manipulation of women’s bodies. She revealed, “I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters.” The actress posed nude to show what a relatively untouched image of her looks like — and how her body has been distorted (some might say “enhanced”) in the past. “I said: ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.”

Then just this week, Knightley embarked on another front in the fight for feminism by asking where the biopics about female geniuses are. “You’re asking if I’ve ever been offered a biopic about a female genius?” she asked an interviewer from the UK’s Telegraph. “No! What is up with that! Go on, you’re a writer, write one. Do it! I would love to play a genius.” As a loyal Knightley fan, I’d point out that she did play psychoanalysis pioneer Sabina Spielrein in A Dangerous Method, but that film was admittedly focused mostly on the professional rivalry between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Knightley’s character in The Imitation Game, the code-breaker Joan Clarke, could also be considered a genius, but of course she’s not the protagonist here, either. 

Knightley seems to have relished playing Clarke, noting that the cryptanalyst’s voice “made me laugh” in surprise and delight. “Not that I thought she was funny,” she explained, “but she was incredibly feminine. I liked the idea that you have a character who is trying to break down doors and get into places, but she’s not doing it like a bull in a china shop. I’m coming at you from a side angle, and suddenly I’m allowed in the room and allowed to do the job I want to do. That was a very smart move.”

READ NEXT: The Big O: Will Keira Knightley’s Image Switch Convince Oscar She’s Worthy?

[via The Telegraph]

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