In some families, one is not always expected to follow the footsteps of what the parents have taken as their profession, and this unexpectedly had occurred in the life of Keira Knightley. Even though she is the daughter of British actor William Knightley and a playwright named Sharman McDonald, this enchanting brunette at first was discouraged to enter the entertainment industry when she revealed her intention to be an actress at a very young age. After she kept repeating her desire for the next several years, her mother eventually gave in with one condition. The six-years-old girl had to study during the school holidays and was obliged to put education on her priority before acting. This was a difficult task due to her struggle with dyslexia, yet she tried hard to finally excel at school.
Born on March 26, 1985 in Teddington, Middlesex, England as Keira Christina Knightley, she earned her first appearance at the age of seven through a TV movie entitled "Royal Celebration" (1993). In the following year, she had already made her big screen debut playing a minor role in "A Village Affair." Continuing her study at Teddington Comprehensive School, she starred in "Innocent Lies" (1995), "Treasure Seekers" (1996), while getting an "introducing..." title in an adaptation of Rosamunde Pilcher's novel, "Coming Home" (1998). A promising chance approached when she joined the cast of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999) to portray Sabe, the handmaiden and decoy of Queen Amidala played by Natalie Portman. Apparently she was selected because of her close resemblance to the beautiful actress.
Although her role in that first part of Star Wars saga was a small one, Keira successfully displayed a memorable performance that brought attention both in U.S. and U.K. This, without doubt, directed her to gain more important roles as seen in British TV miniseries "Oliver Twist" (1999) and a short film called "Deflation" (2001). Things unmistakably ran better by the time she secured a major role in Disney's "Princess of Thieves" (2001). Not only made a development in her career, she also found love in Del Synnott who was her opposite in this TV movie. Next, she starred in a British horror flick, "The Hole" (2001), alongside another teen star, Thora Birch. Despite the failure to be a hit movie, the film had shown her amazing talent which people began to take notice of. However, it was through "Bend It Like Beckham" (2002) that she ultimately created a sensation.
Playing a soccer-obsessed teenager named Juliette 'Jules' Paxton, Keira received broader recognition and critical acclaim as "Bend It Like Beckham" scored box office in U.K. while also became a sleeper hit in U.S.. Her rough soccer training of three months length with famous coach, Simon Clifford, was indeed proven worthy. She went on by taking more serious roles in several projects, such as "Pure" (2002) and a mini TV series of "Doctor Zhivago" (2002). Wanting to focus her attention in these two productions, she then decided to quit her study on Art, English Literature, History and Classical Civilisations at Esher College. Keira ended the year by passing an audition to be included in the cast of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (2003). A Jerry Bruckheimer's production, the action-adventure flick was also starred by notable actors, like Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.
Amid people's skepticism of whether it could be a success, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" rapidly collected over $46 million in its first week. This amount kept increasing until almost $654 million worldwide, making the film get placed in the top 30 of all time worldwide blockbuster movie charts. This tremendous attainment unquestionably boosted Keira's career, catapulting the slender actress to be the new rising star of Hollywood. Huge praise was addressed as a result of her excellent portrayal, including from Bruckheimer. "Obviously we were looking for a beautiful young woman, but beauty alone is not enough," he said. "Keira is truly gifted and it is wonderful to watch her work. It seems so effortless. She's going to be a big star."
As her popularity flourished, Keira got busier throughout the year, filming "Love Actually" (2003) while also becoming the spokesperson of both luxury goods firm Asprey and the British Dyslexia Association. In the same year her relationship with Del Synnott sadly had come to an end. However, she did not have to wait long enough for a new love as she met an Irish model named Jamie Dornan by August. Meanwhile, looking upon her success in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," it was no surprise then when Bruckheimer once again offered her another opportunity to star in his next production, "King Arthur" (2004) together with Clive Owen and Ioan Gruffudd. The movie turned out very well, garnering more than $203 million globally. In early 2004, Keira spent her time in Scotland and Canada filming John Maybury's time-traveling thriller, "The Jacket" (2005), in which Oscar-winner Adrien Brody portrayed a Gulf War veteran charged with murder and locked in a mental institution awaiting execution.
Keira's next project was a movie of Deborah Moggach's novel "Tulip Fever", about forbidden love in the 17th Century Amsterdam. However, the movie was canceled in February 2005 after the British government suddenly closed tax breaks available to British filmmakers. Nevertheless, she quickly moved to other features of "Domino" and "Pride and Prejudice" that year, the former spotting her delivering an against-type performance as the titular character while the latter, an adaptation of the Jane Austen classic novel, casting her opposite Rupert Friend whom she later gave her heart to after her separation from Dornan. Much to her delight, praise and accolades poured in heavily for her performance in the latter one, in turn leading her to receive both Golden Globes and Academy Award nomination for best actress in leading role by the following year.
The chain of success wonderfully continued for Keira as her subsequent starring vehicles of the last two installments of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End" (2007) delightfully became massive commercial success with each scoring no less than $300 million domestically. The same year in which "Worlds End" got released also saw the actress take female lead in dramatic features "Silk" and "Atonement" before moviegoers could spot her in those of "The Duchess" (2008) and "The Edge of Love" (2008), formerly titled "The Best Time of Our Lives", alongside other rising stars Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller.