Keira Knightley is speaking out about the poor portrayal of women in modern-day movies.
The actress, who stars in the upcoming historical drama Colette, admitted to Variety that she purposefully seeks roles in period pieces due to the way present-day female characters are mistreated.
“I don’t really do films set in the modern-day because the female characters nearly always get raped,” she told Variety. “I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces.”
Knightley, 32, notes that along with the recent harassment scandal surrounding Hollywood, she has seen “some improvement” in how modern-day women are represented.
“I’m suddenly being sent scripts with present-day women who aren’t raped in the first five pages and aren’t simply there to be the loving girlfriend or wife,” she added.
Colette follows the legendary French author as she battles her husband who is taking credit for her hard work. Knightley stated that there “certainly are parallels” between the film and the current climate in Hollywood.
“The fact that the movie is coming out right now isn’t a surprise,” she said. “Wash, the director, and his late partner [the writer and director Richard Glatzer] were trying to get this movie made for about 15 years. I don’t think it’s a surprise that it managed to get funding in the last few years when it had never managed to get funding before. Women’s stories are suddenly viewed as important.”
The Academy Award nominee also admitted that she found the anti-harassment #MeToo movement “fascinating,” adding that it goes far beyond the entertainment industry.
“I was aware of the culture of silencing women and the culture of bullying them, and I knew that men in the industry were allowed to behave in very different ways than women,” Knightley said. “That was obvious. What was fascinating about the #MeToo movement was I was sitting with friends who weren’t in the industry, and there wasn’t one of us who hadn’t been assaulted at some point. We’d never had that conversation before. That was an eye-opener.”
While the actress does recall being assaulted “in a minor way” in her personal life, she described her experience with disgraced filmmaker Harvey Weinstein as “very professional” while filming Begin Again and The Imitation Game.
“He was very good on the films we made,” she said. “I was aware of his reputation of being a bully. He was famous for phoning people in the middle of the night and screaming at them. He didn’t do that to me, and he certainly never asked me for massages or anything like that. I wasn’t aware of any allegations of rape or sexual assault against him.”
The Pirates of the Caribbean star continued, “For the first time, people are sharing their stories. People have been absolutely terrified to talk about it and were scared of retribution, so I don’t think everybody knew the extent of what was going on.”
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