Friday, September 26, 2008

The British Invasion: Keira Knightley

I am seriously at a loss as to where to begin with a post on Keira Christina Knightley. I’ve gone out and done my research in terms of background and the info on her is vast. It’s very difficult to fathom how much this 23 year old young woman has accomplished since mbarking on her acting career back in 1993. I think I first need to express my admiration for this young woman who constantly strives to become a better actor, to keep her private life private and to earn the respect of her peers and fans. She has always been and upright upstanding individual and in a lot of ways fearless. She holds her own grown despite being a small-framed young woman with a meek personality. It has certainly been a pleasure to watch the progress that she has made over the years. Her early works and some that fell in between have fallen under sharp and direct critism and Knightley herself has been quoted as in Elle magazine as follows, “I always feel like I’m the one with everything to prove. The daughter of actor Will Knightley (English) and playwright Sharman Macdonald (Scottish) she began acting in stage plays at a very early age and was given a talent agent at the age of six by her mom as a reward for working hard in school despite being dyslexic. She starred in a number of British television series and had roles in a few movies. However her breakthrough role came in 2002 when she was cast in Bend It Like Beckam (yummy! Umm hmm). Honestly, I sat up and paid notice and I’m pretty sure that I was not the only one. She peaked my interest and I wanted to find out more; wanted to see more. Her most notable role to date came in 2003 wheen she was cast as Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl oppostie Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. With this role Knightley had arrived. Critics who often accused her of being just another pretty face were forced to acknowledge that she had established herself as an actress with talent that ought to be taken seriously. She went on to reprise her role in two more Pirate movies, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007). Knightley had embarked upon a quest to prove her worth and she has successfully done so as proven by the acclaim she has received for her roles in films such as Pride & Prejudice which earned the young aspiring actress both a Golden Globe as well as an Oscar nominations. She became the third-youngest performer ever nominated for an Academy Award. Her performance created quite a buzz and critics were rife with praise. Variety wrote: "Looking every bit a star, Knightley, who's shown more spirit than acting smarts so far in her career, really steps up to the plate here, holding her own against the more classically trained Matthew Macfadyen, as well as vets like Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Penelope Wilton, and Judi Dench with a luminous strength that recalls a young Audrey Hepburn. More than the older Jennifer Ehle in the TV series, she catches Elizabeth's essential skittishness and youthful braggadocio, making her final conversion all the more moving." She also receive critical acclaim for her role in Atonement (2007) as well as favorable reviews for her role in The Edge of Love (June 2008). The Duchess was released on 5 September 2008 in the UK and Knightley has received rave reviews. Once again critics were profoundly impresed. Cameron Bailey, Criticand Co-Chair of the Toronto International Film Festival stated that "The Duchess Of Devonshire, with Keira Knightley, which is a beautiful film and she gives a really mature performance. You're seeing her really turn into something beyond the kind of pretty face that we've seen her do already so well. But she's actually a very serious actress and she's turning into a great, great performer." And Critic Edward Douglas wrote "we were blown away by Keira Knightley's performance in the costume drama The Duchess...Knightley is even better in it than Atonement and Pride & Prejudice." New York Post critic Lou Lumenick with regard to Oscar nomination wrote that Knightley "seems a lock for The Duchess”. Knightley’s work has certainly paid off and she has reaped the rewards by having won 18 awards of various kinds and has had an additional 36 nominations. Her wins include 4 Teen Choice, 1 Camel, 1 Empire, 1 AFLS and 1 People’s Choice Awards. Also this year Forbes claims Knightley to be the second highest paid actress in Hollywood (behind Cameron Diaz), having reportedly earned $32 Million in 2007, making her the only non-American person on the list of highest paid actors or actresses. Knightley has since denied this figure. Of course she's had numerous ad campaigns. The hot and beautiful lists, heck yeah. She's definitley hot, she's undoubted sexy and she's gorgeous as hell. Check out the following:
Voted #1 in New Woman magazine's 50 Most Beautiful Celebs 2004. Voted The Sexiest Film Star of All Time by Empire magazine poll. [September 2004] Voted #18 in FHM 100 Sexiest Women 2005 Voted second sexiest voice, behind Sir Sean Connery, in a poll by the UK's Royal National Institute for the Blind, commissioned to celebrate 70 years of their Talking Books service. Named #53 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list. Named #11 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005 special supplement. (2005) Named #9 on MAXIM magazines Hot 100 list of 2006 Named #5 in FHM magazine's 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006 supplement. (2006). Ranked #20 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list. Named Most Beautiful Woman and Most Beautiful Face by Independent Critics (indiecritics.com).
Made her debut on the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Celebrities in June, 2007. She came in a #71 beating out other high profile actresses like Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon. Voted #15 in the AfterEllen Hot 100, a list of the hottest women in entertainment as voted by lesbian and bisexual women (June 2007). The face of Chanel's fragrance 'Mademoiselle' (September 2007). Was ranked #10 on Forbes List of The 20 Top-Earning Young Superstars.(2007). Was named Empire Magazine's #9 in the list of 100 Sexiest Stars. Was ranked #5 on Entertainment Weekly's '30 Under 30' the actress list. (2008). Ranked #87 on the 2008 Telegraph's list "the 100 most powerful people in British culture". Voted #10 in FHM 100 Sexiest 2008. Keira has two upcoming projects King Lear 2009 and My Fair Lady 2010 (rumored). She has been noted as saying that she would not encourage young people to be disillusioned by the movie industry and celebrity status and notes that she would not encourage any young person to be too eager to aspire to be in the industry. She has also expressed that she is becoming overworked and will be taking some time off to recuperate as well as concentrate on her personal life. Knightley has been (fittingly) compared to the likes of Audrey Hepburn. She has a lot of talent, she's got a lot to offer, she has unequivocally proven her worth over the years and her head and heart are definitely in the right place. Although the media has claimed that Knightley is one of the most open and cooperative celebs in the business she has been rather successfuly in keeping her personal life out of the spotlight. I am one who will be looking forward to seeing her build on her already accomplished career. She makes very smart choices, a trait that is too often lacking in other actors. She can be very proud of the trail that she has blazed thus far. I know that I am. And now some personal quotes from this fantastic young woman to take you out: Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh are my heroes. Not because of their ability, but because of their perseverance. When in doubt, faint. In this business, fame lasts for a second. You can be blown up and be blown down. People keep losing interest in faces because new ones come along every single second. I'm one at the moment. Tomorrow I won't be. That's cool. I'm not saying that when it does end, I'll be like, 'Yay! It's ending.' But I'll move on and do something else because that's what has to be done. It's about survival. If you're sad about it, then you're in the wrong job. (On actresses living in Hollywood) I take my hat off to actresses there, particularly the young ones, because the emphasis is on trying to find perfection. But I think it's the imperfections in people that make them perfect. I don't find perfect faces very interesting. I'm a bit of a tomboy so the action stuff was fantastic. I don't think about nutrition. The very thought of a diet makes me want chips and ice cream. And I just hate going to the gym. I cannot stand it. A newspaper here voted me one of the scruffiest people in Britain. I'm quite proud of that. It's completely true. I do remember, at six, thinking I should be earning my own living. My mum says I was born 45. source

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