Keira Christina Knightley was born to Will Knightley (also an actor) and Sharman MacDonald (actor-turned-playwright) on the 26th of March, 1985.
She first asked her parents for an agent at the tender age of three, but they refused, not wanting their daughter to follow them onto the stage. Keira kept at them, and they finally gave in when she was six. However, her parents still had a few tricks up their sleeves. As part of the deal, Keira, who is dyslexic, had to study through the school holidays, and she was only permitted to work on productions if they didn’t interfere with her education.
In 1994, at the age of nine, she completed her first movie, starring as Natasha Jordan in Moira Armstrong’s ‘A Village Affair’. Following this, she played a number of small roles in other productions.
Her first high profile role came in 1999, when she played the part of Sabe, the decoy queen in Star Wars Episode I. Her part in the film was kept secret in the lead up to the much anticipated release, and Natalie Portman was promoted as having played the roles of both the real and decoy queens so as not to spoil the surprise. A lot of fans still think Portman played both roles.
Since then, she has completed an impressive array of films, including the made-for-TV movie ‘Princess of Thieves’, the series ‘Oliver Twist’, and the thriller ‘The Hole’. She also played a small role in ‘Deflation’.
Keira’s ‘breakthrough’ role came with Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, which was an unexpected hit worldwide. In order to play the part, she endured 20 weeks of tough football practice – her coach, who had trained top players, declared her more naturally talented than Michael Owen.
With the success of Bend It Like Beckham came a flurry of roles. She stepped into Julie Christie’s shoes for the controversial remake of the classic ‘Dr. Zhivago’, played Louise in ‘Pure’, and filmed ‘Love, Actually’ alongside Liam Neeson and Hugh Grant.
Soon after, Disney snapped her up to fill the corset of Elizabeth Swann in the summer box office hit ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. Keira’s latest role sees her breathe life into King Arthur’s Guinevere in the July 2004 release of the same name.
The good news for Keira’s fans is that her roles just keep getting bigger and bigger, and her star brighter and brighter. Rest assured that we will be seeing a lot more of Keira in the future.