TROUBLE CITY

INTERVIEW: KEIRA KNIGHTLEY

EditorialDave DavisComment

Keira Knightley looked like she could kick my ass on the set of Domino. Of course, she looked like she could’ve kicked my ass in Bend it Like Beckham too. Let’s just say in Beckham, she would have winded me and damaged my spleen, but now she’d rip my neck clean off.

Domino is based on a true story, so Knightley has to look like a real bounty hunter, even though she admits the real Domino Harvey looks nothing like her. But Harvey gave up Hollywood and modeling for the life of the hunt, and in the film version, she ends up on a reality TV series for it.

In between complicated setups (Tony Scott was configuring three cameras on the balcony of a hotel room), Knightley breezed by the press to discuss her latest kick-ass role. With cropped hair dyed blonde in the front and almost army-like costume, Knightley no longer looked like Natalie Portman. Now she looked like Natalie Portman and Linda Hamilton’s love child.

Q: Are you doing your own stunts in this movie?

Keira: Yeah. It's worked out that way. I thought that actually I wasn't going to do as many as I normally like to because I didn't have the chance beforehand to do as much training as I would because I came straight from another film. But as we've gone on, I've been doing more and more. So it's been great fun. It's been really good. I've got to tell you how I got this [wound] though. I was shooting two machine guns. It was fantastic. I had a machine gun in each hand, and one of the shells from the machine gun jumped out the
back and hit me right there. I didn't know until afterwards. I went home and had a shower and I had fake blood all over me and suddenly something wouldn't come off. It's a fabulous burn. I'm very proud of it because everyone looks at it and goes, “Wow, what happened?” I go, “A machine gun.”

Q: How do you like the look of this character?

Keira: I like it. I like it a lot. I'm very glad to wipe the tattoos off at the end of the day, but it's quite nice to have them. But no, I'm enjoying her. You mean the hair too, right?

Q: The hair, the outfit, everything.

Keira: Just everything. I really like it.

Q: Did you come right from doing Pride and Prejudice?

Keira: Yeah. I had four days in between. I didn't realize that it was going to be as difficult as it was to make the transition. But it was actually really, really, really strange. It was really strange. If I'd had a whole week, it might not have been. But just trying to change that quickly from one character to the other and them being so different was difficult, but good. That's what it's all about. So it was good.

dQ: What kind of weapons have you been training on?

Keira: Nun-chucks was the big one. Guns. I think that I do a couple of knife throws or one knife throw. And I'm just punching people in the face really.

Q: Have you gotten proficient with the nun-chucks?

Keira: I'm alright. I'm okay. I can't really do it with both hands. Like, my left hand isn't as good as I'm right, and if you're a proper nun-chuck person, you should be as good on both hands. I'm not. I'm okay. It could've been better, but it could've been a hell of a lot worse. So I'm quite proud of myself.

Q: What sold you on doing this movie?

Keira: Tony. I mean, I read the script. That must've been back in March, I think, and then I flew over to L.A. to meet Tony in April. I mean, the moment that I read the script, I thought, “This is so cool.” It's really a black comedy. It's a black, black, black comedy, really dark and nasty and all the rest of it. But there's something about it, you read it and you're just completely swept up in it. At that point I didn't know that I was doing Pride and Prejudice and I got a real kick out of the idea of going from Elizabeth Bennett to Domino. I think that the whole concept of the story, the whole idea of this girl who's from an extremely privileged background who completely turns her back on all of it and goes off on this wild path is an extraordinary idea in itself. Then there's the fact that a lot of it, it is based on reality. That's fascinating. So I just thought that the whole thing was amazing. Then I came out here and I met Tony Scott and he's just incredible, a total inspiration. You know that because most of his crew has been working with him for ten or fifteen years. And that doesn't happen unless they completely adore him and they do completely adore him. You walk on set and it's just such a great atmosphere and it's lovely to be a part of that.

Q: Did you get to meet her?

Keira: I did very briefly once way before we started filming. And originally, I kind of thought that it'd be really interesting to just play her totally and I'd do the voice and I'd do everything. Then I sort of met her and heard all her stories which were amazing, but although this is totally inspired by her and by her character, it isn't true to her story. So
I sort of thought, “Okay, well, seeing as we're not completely telling her story, it gives me a sort of freedom to actually do what I want.” So I met her once and she was an extraordinary woman, really amazing and it was fantastic meeting her. She's very intelligent and just incredible.

Q: Did you get anything from her that you’re using in the film?

fKeira: Well, because I didn't have much time before I started they really kindly gave me a lot of tapes and things like that. It was just of her speaking and everything and no, I haven't taken any of it. But it was just great to listen to it and be acquainted with it and have that in the back of my head. It was just fascinating to hear her talk about the
decisions that she made which was definitely what helped within the character as opposed to any physical resemblance or the voice being the same or something which it isn't. Actually, what was interesting, she's lived over here I think since she was about eight and she's totally English. I sort of expected right at the start that it would be an American accent because she's been over here so long. But it actually isn't. It's English.
So I thought, “Well, I'll keep my own accent.” That's fine.

Q: How different does she look from you physically?

Keira: Well, you know, we just don't look that similar. It's that simple. She's quite a bit taller than me.

Q: Are you working on a big stunt today?

Keira: No, we’re not. It’s just dialogue today.

Q: Are there any more big stunt days left?

Keira: I don't think so. Yes, okay, we’re flipping a Winnebago. We’ve done the interior of that already. Somebody drugs us with mescaline and then we’re riding in a Winnebago which is obviously not a good idea if you’re high on mescaline, so the thing flips, Winnebago flips, crashes. So I think we’ve got a lot to do with that. We’ve done most of the final shootout kind of thing, but I think we’ve still got a bit more of that to do so there’s little bits and pieces all over the place.

Q: What is it like working with Mickey Rourke?

Keira: I love him. He’s amazing. It’s been really good. He’s such a talented actor, so talented, so that’s been amazing just watching him. I think he’s great. We’ve had such a laugh. He’s been truly great so it’s been a lovely experience.

Q: Are you stuck in the Winnebago for long?

Keira: Well, they built the interior of the Winnebago on the stage at LA Center Studios on a gimble. So it basically means that it flips totally. And it was extraordinary because it did do 360 degrees. They did that with the stunt doubles. We didn’t do that. We only did 180 degrees and that was enough actually. It was great. It was like being on an extreme kind of ride. It was extraordinary, flipping around the place, so that was amazing but we did do a lot in a Winnebago. There’s a lot of scenes within this kind of crazy, painted amazing Winnebago. So we have been driving up and down the roads endlessly without getting to go to the toilet which has been quite interesting but good.

Q: Have you had a special workout for the film?

absKeira: No. No. No, not at all actually. I mean, because I was doing Pride and Prejudice, I did have a trainer towards the end of that to try and get me ready for this. But we were kind of working sort of 14 hour days straight and then I was trying to do a tiny bit of training either at the end of the day or before I went to work at about five thirty in the
morning. So I didn't really get to do very much at all. Then doing this, I haven't trained once. So, no. No, there hasn't been anything. There's been a lot of coffee I guess.

Q: You mentioned hearing some of Domino’s life stories?

Keira: Well, yeah, they'd done an interview with her and on the recording she talked about a lot of that.

Q: Are there things in the movie that people would be shocked to know were true?

Keira: I can't think of anything. I mean, the movie is shocking. It's a shocking film. It's going to, I mean, it's very violent. There is sex, violence, nudity and bad language. So I'm pretty sure that it gets you on all fronts. I don't know specifically what's true and what isn't. I can say that totally honestly. I think that a lot of it is inspired by truth with a lot of artistic license along the way. So who knows, and I think that's the beauty of film in general. It's a mystery.

Q: Where does the film’s sex appeal come from?

Keira: Sex appeal? There's nudity. We do a lot of stuff in strip clubs, right? Not particularly me, but yeah, I had my first strip club experience which was great. There's a lot of interesting things that you'll have to wait and see.

Q: What are you doing after Domino?

Keira: It's looking like a Pirates [of the Caribbean] sequel, I think. Yes.

Q: Can you talk about that?

Keira: You probably know way more than me. I know nothing.

kkQ: When will it start shooting?

Keira: I don't know actually, sometime in the spring.

Q: So you’ll have a break?

Keira: Probably not. [Publicist interjects, end of February start date,] The end of February it goes. There you go.

Q: But you’ve signed officially?

Keira: Have I signed officially? Yes.

Q: For one or two sequels?

Keira: I don't know. I’m not sure.