Keira Knightley says “female characters nearly always get raped” in modern day films

The star says she finds something "distasteful" about the way women are portrayed

Keira Knightley (Getty)

Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley has explained that the reason she tends to do period films is because “the female characters nearly always get raped” in films set in the present day.


The actress has spent the majority of her career donning retro garb in literary adaptations such as Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina and Atonement, and she confirmed to Variety in a recent interview that this was no accident.

“With the rise of Netflix and Amazon we’re seeing some strong female characters and female stories on streaming services,” she said. “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 said, before adding that the tides are beginning to turn. “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.”


Knightley’s next project sees her take on the lead role in a biopic about French novelist Colette – best known for novella Gigi – opposite Dominic West and Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson.