Keira Knightley says she doesn’t do modern-day films because “female characters nearly always get raped”

The actress will play the titular character in the forthcoming biographical drama 'Colette', which is mostly set in the early twentieth century

Keira Knightley has said that she chooses not to act in films set in the present-day “because the female characters nearly always get raped.”

Knightley’s – who has starred in such films as The Duchess, Anna Karenina and Atonement – next project will see her take on the role of the French novelist Colette in an upcoming biographical film of the same name, which also stars Dominic West.

Specifically referring to recent films set in the present-day, Knightley said that she found “something distasteful” about the way many female characters are being portrayed in modern-day cinema.


Keira Knightley

“With the rise of Netflix and Amazon we’re seeing some strong female characters and female stories on streaming services,” she told Variety. “I don’t know about films as much. I don’t really do films set in the modern day because the female characters nearly always get raped.

“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,” she continued, before adding that she’d only recently started to see some progress in the portrayal of present-day women in upcoming film projects.

“There’s been some improvement. 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.”

Back in May, Love Actually director Richard Curtis revealed that Knightley had initially believed that Pirates of the Caribbean would “probably be a disaster”.