Born to actor/playwright parents in Teddington, London,
England, Keira (who is also sometimes credited as Kiera) Knightley
was born on March 22, 1985. At three years old, she asked
her mother for an agent, feeling jealous that she never received
the same amount of calls that mum and dad did. At age six,
the Knightleys agreed to let their daughter have an agent,
provided that she'd study every day during summer holidays.
This was no small feat for little Keira, who is dyslexic;
however, she came through. Although her parents had envisioned
a more secure career for their daughter, Keira started to
get various acting jobs. Schooling at a nearby comprehensive
establishment remained her focal point, but, little by little,
acting as a career started to become a reality.
Pursuing artistic integrity and the satisfaction derived
from playing different characters, Knightley's hard work paid
off at an early age. European made-for-TV movies and shows
started to dot her resume by the age of 11, but it was a stroke
of luck that helped her along the way.
Thanks to hard work, and a close resemblance to star Natalie
Portman, Knightley was cast as Portman's handmaiden in Star
Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. Her small but memorable
performance garnered her attention in Britain and the U.S.
After the release of the film in 1999, Knightley landed a
role in an Oliver Twist TV miniseries, portraying Rose Fleming.
After Star Wars and Oliver Twist, things got even better.
In 2001, she starred in the successful British film The Hole,
and spent three months in Slovakia and Prague filming a 2002
TV version of Dr. Zhivago, in which she played Lara, the same
character Julie Christie played in the famous 1965 version.
And this was all before her 18th birthday.
But is was her other project in 2002 that served as her breakthrough
role. Knightley starred in Bend It Like Beckham, a hugely
popular British comedy whose unexpected success has been likened
to that of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. No longer an underground
hit, the film is making it big in American box offices, thanks
in large part to Knightley's fine acting.
The summer of 2003 will usher in the release of the Hollywood
blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black
Pearl, with Knightley as the romantic lead. The romantic comedy
Love Actually is slated to be released in November 2003 while
King Arthur is set for a Christmas 2004 release -- which means
Knightley will be stealing the spotlight for some time to
Barely into adulthood, this hot UK export has already won
over fans across the Atlantic. The many diverse projects she
has lined up prove that she is ready to take the world by
storm, and we're waiting with open arms. For now, she keeps
a level head and lives with her parents in Richmond, England.