(January 14, 2008, New York, NY) Keira Knightley tells W magazine what it was like being accused publicly for having anorexia and breaking the heart of ex-boyfriend model Jamie Dornan: "It's like having piles of s--- put on your head. As a teenager you put enough on yourself. You're a spotty emotional wreck whose body is changing, and you're just not equipped to deal with that sort of thing."
ON BEING A STABLE AND CONFIDENT YOUNG ACTRESS..."From a very young age I realized that you didn't get parts if you acted like a child. So even at seven I remember picking a way to behave, a way that worked. Though in my personal life I don't think I'm particularly mature. I don't particularly want to be mature!"
ON DIRECTORS WIDELY UNDERESTIMATING HER AS AN ACTRESS UNTIL VERY RECENTLY..."I was already so aware that that was how everybody felt. I think if you're actually honest about it, then we can have a discussion, and I can actually do something. But if nothing is said, you're going to go away with the same opinion, and I'm going to go away feeling s--- about myself."
ON HAVING TROUBLE CONVINCING DIRECTOR JOHN MAYBERRY TO LET HER AUDITION FOR THE LEAD IN "THE JACKET" (2005) WHICH SHE EVENTUALLY GOT..."He said to me very plainly, 'I don't think you can act. I don't want you in this film."
ON PARYTING THE NIGHT BEFORE HER W INTERVIEW..."I tried to get pissed so I could sleep in, but I still woke up at eight. I'm so hungover."
ON TAKING SIX MONTHS OFF IN EARLY 2007..."It got to the point where you just get tired, and then you start to forget what you love about what you do. I wanted to be able to say to my friends, 'Yes, I will be there for your birthday.' I was having that discombobulated feeling of being homesick but not knowing what I was homesick for."
ON OSCAR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE FILM ATONEMENT..."If the film gets awards or anything, great, but if it doesn't, it certainly doesn't devalue the project."
ON FEELING PRESSURE TO WIN AWARDS..."I won't lie and say that I'm completely unfazed by it all. I am fazed by it all. I want the movie to do really well, and I want it to win lots of Oscars and BAFTAs, and I want it to win the adulation of every single member of the human race. But at the same time I would hate to think that any of us should feel any less proud simply because it didn't garner lots of awards. So it's a strange conflict. There's a part of me that wants to forget all of these things, and there's a part of me that can't." It doesn't help, he says, that he's spent the past two and a half weeks being asked how it feels to be an Oscar hopeful. "Journalists keep telling you, 'Sooo, I hear Oscar!' And you're like, 'Oh, really? Great.'"
ON WORKING WITH KEIRA KNIGHTLEY..."She has smelly feet! I'm just kidding. Please don't put that in."
ON DOING MAGAZINE SHOOTS..."I do find it strange, doing magazine shoots. Photographers always go, 'Why don't you like to have your picture taken? That's what you do for a living anyway. Just pretend you're acting. It's the same thing!' And I'm like, 'No it's f---ing not! Give me a script then. Or tell you what, how about if I just stand here, and you pretend I'm acting? Would that make it easier for you?'"
ON PARTYING THE NIGHT BEFORE THE W INTERVIEW..."I didn't get in till five. There was really good dancing. We dominated the dance floor. And I lost my phone. Some woman named Stephanie picked it up in a car. I've been spending the whole morning on the phone going, 'Stephanie? Stephanie? Can you hear me? It's a bad connection but don't hang up!'"
ON JOURNALISTS..."I had one guy, and I'm not going to tell you who it was because he's quite well known, say, in a TV segment, 'So, Atonement, it's about as hot as a bucket of chicken with biscuits on the side!' I don't even know what that means. But I'm not going to moan on about journalists anymore. Sorry about that."
Please credit the February issue of W for the above. For additional information or to schedule an interview with a W editor, please contact Engelman & Co. at 212.645.9222. Thank you.