Talented Actually: Keira Knightley on her acting inspirations…

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Keira Knightley reveals one of the real reasons she got into acting…

Actress Keira Knightley can turn her hand to anything it seems. She has starred in Bend ILike Beckham, Love Actually, King Arthur, Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, and played Elizabeth Swann in three Pirates of the Caribbean films, and now she’s playing Cathy in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

The 28-year-old said she jumped at the chance to work with director Kenneth Branagh on the film (she even says one of his earlier films, Much Ado About Nothing, inspired her to take up acting in the first place). But she also wanted to have some fun after years of playing a series of heavy duty roles in films like Anna Karenina, A Dangerous Method and Never Let Me Go.

She explained: “For a couple of years now I’ve wanted to do either something that is complete popcorn or something that is incredibly positive because I got to the end of about five or six years work having died in pretty much everything. “Everything was doom and gloom and I just wanted to lighten it up a bit so this was part of it. This is my popcorn, very Hollywood thriller that I wanted to do for fun, that sort of thing. “But the main reason was really Ken because I was really interested to see what it was like being directed by an actor when he was acting in the scenes as well. I was fascinated to watch his process. So the main thing was Ken for me,” she added. And she said was one of the reasons she got into acting in the first place. She first auditioned for him when she was a young girl. Keira explained: “I met him once when I was about 11 years old and I went up for Hamlet and I remember him being absolutely lovely to me. I remember knowing that I hadn’t got the job. “It was for one of the Players in his fi lm version of Hamlet and I knew I hadn’t got the job pretty much from the get go but he still took the time to show me models of all the sets and he was absolutely lovely to me and he sat there and talked about what he was going to do. “I’ve been a huge fan of his because one of the films I got obsessed by when I was growing up was Much Ado About Nothing. It’s a great version and I used to know it off by heart – I wish I still did because that might be quite helpful one day but I don’t. “I watched it until my video copy of it broke – I watched it that often. I completely fell in love with it and for me that fi lm was such a huge part of me wanting to become an actress. He was always somebody I had wanted to work with because how can you not when he has created a film that you love so much,” Keira explained.