Keira Knightley felt “caged” after being in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. In a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, the actress said her character Elizabeth Swann “was the object of everybody’s lust.”
The Oscar-nominated actress found it interesting that her character, started off as “tomboyish.”But she was portrayed as the opposite in the following sequels. “I felt very constrained, I felt very stuck. So the roles afterwards were about trying to break out of that,” she told the publication. Knightley, 37, didn’t know how to articulate it and felt “caged in a thing I didn’t understand.”
She got her big break at just 17 when she landed the role for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. “I had quite an entrance into adult life. An extreme landing because of the experience of fame at a very early age.” She said never felt comfortable with that.
Though she appeared in period films like Pride & Prejudice and Atonement afterward, her experience of feeling trapped made her feel “quite powerless.” The English actress then became incredibly hard on herself, never feeling good enough. She was “always trying to get better and better and improve, which is an exhausting way to live.”
The result of that was burnout. She took two years off after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Elsewhere in the interview, Knightley commented on the way women are perceived as they grow older. In the upcoming true crime thriller, The Boston Strangler, Knightley stars as reporter Loretta McLaughlin. McLaughlin was the first person to connect a series of murders. She broke the story of the city’s most notorious serial killer.
As many of the victims were in their fifties, Knightley exclaims the women “were referred to as elderly! They were victims of these horrific crimes, yet they weren’t looked at. They were invisible to the public.” Turning 38 later this month, the actress says that a lot of the conversations she has with her girlfriends are, “‘Oh my God, I’ve got a line [wrinkle]. Oh God!'” To which she raises her eyebrows in mock horror.
“Change is always tricky. We’re taught that it’s bad. We’re taught that we don’t want grey hair,” she said. The Boston Strangler is streaming on March 17 on Hulu.