Knightley: Focus on films, not my figure

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VENICE, Italy -- British actress Keira Knightley has had enough of the media's fixation with her looks, weight and figure, and urged people to focus on her films instead.

In Venice to promote her latest movie "Atonement," the 22-year-old star of the hit "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise had to field questions about her curves during a news conference this week.

"It's really frustrating, and particularly when you come to Venice film festival with a film that is an intelligent film," she told Reuters in an interview. "It's a thought-provoking film you can have a really good discussion about.

"I think it was just a shame that that had to be brought up then, and the fact that we all knew that it was going to be brought up," she added, referring to the cast and crew of "Atonement" with her at the conference. "We actually had a bet going. I was like 'Come on, how many times either anorexia or something about my body, are going to come up.'"

Knightley is the subject of constant tabloid press coverage of whether she is anorexic, what example she sets girls and young women and who she is linked with romantically.

"I think what I want to keep it about is the work, that's all I'm interested in, and when you've got a project like this I think it's a shame to take it away from that."

The actress, nominated for an Oscar in the 2005 film "Pride and Prejudice", has won early critical praise for her portrayal of Cecilia Tallis in "Atonement", a film directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian McEwan's acclaimed novel.

Knightley said she was "really proud" of "Atonement," her second collaboration with Wright after "Pride and Prejudice."

But she said she is highly critical of her own work and finds it difficult watching herself on the big screen.

"I'm my worst critic," she said. "If you really want me to cut my part to pieces, I absolutely can and I don't want to get to a day when I can't."

She said that one of the attractions of playing Cecilia was Wright's decision to use speech patterns and acting styles similar to those in the 1930s and 1940s, the period in which most of the narrative is set.

"I think the '30s and '40s, (it is a) speech pattern that we've pretty much lost now," she said. "It sort of reached the pinnacle of 'stiff-upper-lip-ness', and people very rarely do it in these films, people are very frightened of it."
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