Toronto: Keira Knightley Hopes "Hunger" for Strong Female Voices Produces Change

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The 'Colette' star is at TIFF touting a period drama about a French novelist fighting to reclaim control of her literary voice.

Colette star Keira Knightley on Monday called for the movie industry's drive for more female directors and female voices to achieve long-lasting change.

"I would say the conversation is a massive start, just the fact that we're saying, 'Yes, we need more female voices, we need more female directors and the female point of view,'" Knightley told a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival for Colette, which portrays the groundbreaking French novelist who began her career by penning the loosely autobiographical Claudine novels, for which her husband Willy (Dominic West) took credit.

She then worked to escape his control and reclaim her literary voice. "There's hunger right now for strong female voices and we have to make sure that's not a flash in the pan," Knightley added.

Director Wash Westmoreland said the French novelist's battle for identity, equality and self-determination around 100 years ago has an echo in today's Time's Up movement. "It's time for women to be given credit and to be given power, which is what Colette does in this film," he said.

Westmoreland added the long-gestating movie — the original script was written in 2001 — has managed to capture the zeitgeist. "It's almost as if Colette is up there, shouting, 'It's time!'" he said.

Colette bowed in Sundance before landing this week at TIFF, and is set for a limited theatrical release starting Sept. 21 from Bleecker Street and 30West. Westmoreland directed Colette from a script he co-wrote with Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz.

Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Eleanor Tomlinson and Aiysha Hart round out the cast.