Keira Knightley stars in the new thriller “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” and is Harper’s Bazaar’s February cover star, where she talks about the rocky relationship between the film industry and feminism.
“I think it’s great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had [about feminism], as opposed to anybody mentioning feminism and everybody going, ‘Oh, f—ng shut up,’” she told the magazine. The 28-year-old actress says that her recent marriage to Klaxons musician James Righton has allowed her to embrace her inner feminist, and allowed her to see things in a new light. She’s come to realize how much so many of the men in her industry come to depend on their wives—how their wives are the silent supports of the family.
“I go to work at 5.30 in the morning; I wouldn’t get back probably until nine o’clock at night,” she said. “Most of the guys that I talk to—and I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about it—they say [whispers], ‘My wife does everything.’ You think, ‘Why wasn’t I thinking about this five years ago?'” Instead, she admits, she was “worrying about a boyfriend and shit…”
“Somehow, [feminism] became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it’s great that we’re coming out of that,” she told the magazine. Knightley said she was disappointed by how often women were absent from positions of power, and left out of important conversations.
Knightley said she frequently found herself “walking into a room, and talking about why my character is saying this, but I’ll be talking about it to a room of five guys. I’ve lost most of the arguments.” Which is why she’s pondering directing. “As I get older I get more interested by it… There is a lot of ‘You do what you’re told’ [as an actor]. After watching it and being part of it for so long, you start going, ‘I wonder if there is a journey to the other side.’
Either way, she believes that “Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don’t think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles… they’re still pretty few and far between.”