Tuesday 21 October 2014

Keira Knightley: Male directors have a ‘funny construction of femininity'

Sarah Knapton

Published 29/06/2014 | 18:51

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley, the actress, says she enjoys being directed by women because they do not pressure her to be ‘pink and fluffy.’

Knightley, 29, who achieved her first big break in the footballing hit Bend it Like Beckham, which was directed by Gurinder Chadha, said male directors have a ‘funny construction of femininity.’

“It’s nice working with women, because you don’t have to do this loveable, soft version of what the female sex has to be,” she told The Sunday Times’ Culture Magazine.

“It also allows men to understand women, as opposed to them being something pink and fluffy.

“There’s a weird view of femininity we put into our culture that has nothing to do with the experience of being a woman.”

Knightley has vowed to steer clear of period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina so that she does not have to waste so much time wriggling into corsets and being fitted for wigs.

"The bitch is the time spent getting ready," she said "It was the practicality of life that made me think, after Anna Karenina, how this would be nicer if I got two hours more sleep a day."

The Oscar-nominated actress said she had experienced rooms full of men who would not listen to her 'quite a lot.'

Knightley is currently starring in Begin Again, directed by John Carney, but has been working with Lynn Shelton on Laggies about a woman who lies to her fiancé about going on a retreat so she can spent more time with her girlfriends.

She claims Hollywood is too male-centric but admires Scandinavian productions like The Bridge and Borgen which have strong female leads.

“Women will go and see a male lead, but it’s difficult to get a guy to see a film that is seen as girly,” she said.

“My friend was saying that she loved 1970s movies, and we both realised that’s because we see ourselves as the main guys in them.

“When I watched The Godfather, I was Al Pacino. I wasn’t his f****** wife. So yes it’s nice working with women.”

However Knightley admitted that many may see her as a ‘complete hypocrite’ by reinforcing the stereotype through modelling and appearing on magazine covers. She is currently the face of Coco Mademoiselle for Chanel since 2006, toying with a string of infaturated men in a serious of seductive commercials.

The latest advert for the brand was directed by Anna Karenina's Joe Wright who encouraged her to pout 'as much as possible.'

But she claimed she had ‘no idea’ how to tackle the problem

“I think when you recognise it’s strange that half the population doesn’t have the same voice as the other half, it does make you go “Ha! This is interesting.

“What do you do? No idea I wish I knew. Keep on having conversations and somebody intelligent will go, Eureka!”

Begin Again, the story of a heartbroken musician attempting to make it in New York, is Knightley's first singing role and will be in cinemas from July 11th.

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