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Keira Knightley Reveals Her Favorite Sex Scene — and What Made It ‘Utterly Comfortable’

Joe Wright choreographed the "Atonement" scene "within an inch of its life."

Keira Knightley and James McAvoy Atonement

Few actors seem to enjoy shooting sex scenes, but some go more smoothly than others. With her latest romantic drama soon to arrive in theaters, Keira Knightley spoke to Vulture about the most comfortable such experience she’s had on a film set. “The best sex scene I’ve done onscreen is the one in ‘Atonement,’ on the bookshelf,” said Knightley. “It was both the best sex scene, but also [the best] to shoot.”

Credit for that goes to director Joe Wright, who “choreographed the scene within an inch of its life. It was absolutely, ‘Foot goes up there, hand goes up there. So both me and James [McAvoy] felt utterly comfortable and not exposed, and like we could deal with it. It’s never gonna be fun, but we could deal with it.”

Knightley’s latest film is “The Aftermath,” which was directed by James Kent and called upon the actress to once again shoot a love scene. With her past experience, she also knows what she doesn’t want a filmmaker to do.

“What never helps is when a director goes, ‘Oh, you guys know what you’re doing.’ [And you’re like], ‘Uh, I’ve never met this person, I have no idea what I’m doing in this room full of men,’” she said. “With sex scenes in particular, it always has to be choreographed like a dance. So with James [Kent], I was like, ‘You’re the director, you know what you want from this, so you have to just tell us. And everyone will feel comfortable.’”

Alexander Skarsgård stars alongside Knightley in “The Aftermath,” which, like “Atonement,” is a World War II drama based on a novel. Fox Searchlight will release the film tomorrow, March 15.

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