'Female characters nearly always get raped - it's distasteful'

Keira Knightley opens up about why she prefers to film historic dramas...

hairstyles for fine hair Keira Knightley
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Rex)

Keira Knightley opens up about why she prefers to film historic dramas...

Keira Knightley is the Queen of period dramas, with Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, Atonement, The Duchess and most recently Colette under her corset.

While you would be forgiven for assuming her prevalence in historic pieces is down to her killer pout, corset-friendly figure and Jane Austen-esque accent, you would be wrong.

It turns out the 32-year-old actress actively seeks out period roles - and for the most surprising reason.

In a recent interview with Variety, Keira opened up about Hollywood rape culture, explaining how she prefers to be involved in historic pieces as they feature less sexual violence.

‘I don’t really do films set in the modern day because the female characters nearly always get raped,’ she explained to Variety. ‘I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed. Whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces.’

This might be about to change however, with the 32-year-old actress explaining how the recent awareness around the subject is undoubtedly leading to improvements.

‘With the rise of Netflix and Amazon we’re seeing some strong female characters and female stories on streaming services. I don’t know about films as much,’ she explained. ‘But I’m suddenly being sent scripts with present-day women who aren’t raped in the first five pages and aren’t simply there to be the loving girlfriend or wife.’

‘When there are female writers and directors and producers, the parts for women are better, and so the way that society views women through drama is much better and much more well rounded.’

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.