Keira Knightley felt ‘stuck’ after Pirates of the Caribbean

Keira Knightly played Elizabeth Swann in the blockbuster franchise (Picture: Getty Images)

Keira Knightly has opened up about the impact of the perception of her Pirates of the Caribbean character on her acting career.

The Atonement star, 37, hit the big time after playing Elizabeth Swann in the films based on a Disney theme park ride and also starring Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp.

The Bend It Like Beckham actress starred in the first three movies from 2003 until 2007, which centered around Jack Sparrow (Depp) and Will Turner (Bloom) rescuing Elizabeth from pirates.

After appearing in the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Keira, who is married to the Klaxons’ James Righton, went on the star in hits such as Love Actually and Pride & Prejudice.

However, the mother-of-two confessed she felt ‘stuck’ after portraying Elizabeth due to the character’s beauty and desperately sought to broaden her career.

She explained: ‘She [Elizabeth Swann] was the object of everybody’s lust. Not that she doesn’t have a lot of fight in her. But it was interesting coming from being really tomboyish to getting projected as quite the opposite.’

Elizabeth Swann was Keira’s breakout role (Picture: Allstar/Cinetext/DISNEY)
Depp and Bloom also starred in Pirates of the Caribbean (Picture: Walt Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

The Colette actor continued to Harper’s Bazaar UK: ‘I felt very constrained. I felt very stuck. So the roles afterwards were about trying to break out of that.

‘I didn’t have a sense of how to articulate it. It very much felt like I was caged in a thing I didn’t understand.’

Keira also feared that Pirates of the Caribbean was going to be a massive box office flop, according to Love Actually director Richard Curtis.

Keira said she was conscious of the roles she picked after Elizabeth Swann (Picture: Harper’s Bazaar UK)
Keira went on to perform in films such as Pride & Prejudice (Picture: Working Title/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

‘I remember sitting down with Keira while we were shooting,’ he told ABC News, before asking the Anna Karenina star what her next project was.

The Notting Hill creator continued: ‘[Keira] said, “I don’t think it’s going to work. It’s a pirate film, and they always fail”.’

However, Keira’s fears were very much unfounded with the Pirates of the Caribbean taking the world by storm and becoming one of the biggest franchises in history.

The first film Curse of the Black Pearl ended up grossing $654million worldwide (£535m) before sequel Dead Man’s Chest topped $1billion (£817m) internationally.

Her final appearance in the franchise, 2006’s At World’s End, grossed $960m worldwide (£787m).

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