Keira Knightley Was Sure One Of Her Blockbusters Would Be A Big Mistake

By Charlene Badasie | Published

keira knightley

Before she became a household name, Keira Knightley was sure Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl would be a complete failure. The revelation was made during The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later – A Diane Sawyer Special, which recently aired on ABC. The romantic comedy filmmaker, Richard Curtis, recalled a conversation with the young actress who didn’t have too much hope for her next project.

“I remember sitting down with Keira while we were shooting and saying, ‘What are you doing next?’” Curtis said via Entertainment Tonight. “And she said, ‘I don’t think it’s going to work. It’s a pirate film and they always fail.’” The director laughed at the memory since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which featured Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann, earned more than $650 million and resulted in four sequels.

Despite her doubts, Pirates of the Caribbean went on to become one of the most successful franchises of all time, with Johnny Depp leading the cast since the first outing in 2003. Based on the Walt Disney World ride, the story follows Captain Jack Sparrow who attempts to retrieve his ship from a group of enemy pirates. Keira Knightley’s character gets wrapped up in the tale when the same pirates kidnap her, which prompts Will Turner to rescue her.

This isn’t the first time Keira Knightley’s doubts about Pirates of the Caribbean were mentioned. In a 2013 interview with The Daily Beast, the Love Actually director recalled the same conversation with the actress. But this time he revealed her reasons for joining the project. Curtis said that although she wasn’t enthusiastic about the movie, the English actress said she was looking forward to “a few fun months in the sun.”

Following the success of the 2003 Pirates movie, Keira Knightley earned a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice. The actress went on to star in several other period pieces, playing a complex love interest in 2007’s Atonement, and Georgiana Cavendish in 2008’s The Duchess. She also starred as the titular socialite in 2012’s Anna Karenina.

After a brief foray into contemporary dramas, Keira Knightley returned to historical films in 2014 when she portrayed Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game. Her performance earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Most recently, the 37-year-old starred as Nell in the 2021 apocalyptic Christmas horror comedy Silent Night.  

Written and directed by Camille Griffin, the story features a group of friends who reunite for one final Christmas before an ambiguous apocalypse wipes out humanity. Keira Knightley will next be seen in the upcoming crime drama, Boston Strangler. Written and directed by Matt Ruskin, the movie is based on the true story of the Boston Strangler, who killed 13 women in 1960s Massachusetts.

Keira Knightley stars as Loretta McLaughlin, the reporter who broke the story. The film also features Carrie Coon, Alessandro Nivola, David Dastmalchian, and Chris Cooper. Production took place in the Boston area from December 2021 to March 2022. The movie will be released on Hulu by 20th Century Studios.