Keira Knightley sounds off on feminism and women in Hollywood

Keira Knightley is Harper's Bazaar UK's February 2014 cover star.
(Harper’s Bazaar UK)

Keira Knightley may be married, but she’s still sounding the feminist horn for women in Hollywood.

The English actress covers Harper’s Bazaar UK’s February issue and opened up about the male-dominated field she works in.

The 28-year-old said she thinks “it’s great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had” about feminism.

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“Somehow, it [feminism] became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it’s great that we’re coming out of that,” the “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” star said.

The actress stars in Kenneth Branagh’s latest adaptation of Tom Clancy’s CIA thriller and spoke candidly about what it was like to work on a male-dominated cast.

She often found herself “walking into a room and talking about why my character is saying this, but I’ll be talking about it to a room of five guys. I’ve lost most of the arguments.”

“I go to work at 5:30 in the morning; I wouldn’t get back probably until 9 o’clock at night,” she said. “Most of the guys that I talk to — and I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about it — they say [whispers], ‘My wife does everything.’ You think, ‘Why wasn’t I thinking about this five years ago?’ ”

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Five years ago, she was “worrying about a boyfriend,” she said, but now, she’s eyeing directing, saying that real change can come about only when women are in genuine roles of power.

“Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don’t think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles… they’re still pretty few and far between,” she said. “As I get older I get more interested by it.… There is a lot of ‘You do what you’re told’ [as an actor]. After watching it and being part of it for so long, you start going, ‘I wonder if there is a journey to the other side.’ I don’t know if there is, but I’m interested in seeing people who have done it.”

In May, Knightley married Klaxons musician James Righton. She admits she never thought of herself as the marrying type but now likes its consistency.

“These words that you think beforehand, ‘That’s the reason I’ll never do it'… those words that you see as completely negative, and you suddenly see them as being incredibly positive, and that’s actually quite liberating and quite nice.”

But the actress keeps her personal life guarded, even at the risk of people seeing her as posh” or “haughty.”

“No, I think that’s fine… I like being private,” she admitted. “I haven’t asked a lot of the actresses who I really admire, ‘How do you do it?’ because I don’t want to know. Maybe I’m childish in that way; I just don’t want to know about your life.”

Still, that didn’t stop her from joining Twitter under a false name for 12 hours — only to realize she couldn’t stand it.

“It made me feel a little bit like being in a school playground and not being popular and standing on the sidelines kind of going, ‘Argh,’ ” she said.


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