Actress Keira Knightley has said she does not wish to participate in films set in the modern day because the female characters “nearly always get raped.”
Talking to Variety ahead of her role in the upcoming period drama Colette, Knightley said that female characters in films set in the present day tend to be portrayed distastefully, as opposed to the female characters in historical dramas.
“I don’t really do films set in the modern-day because the female characters nearly always get raped,” she said. “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.”
However, the 32-year-old English actress, whose most popular films include Pride and Prejudice, Love Actually, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, claimed that she has recently started receiving scripts where women aren’t portrayed in a misogynistic manner.
“There’s been some improvement,” she said. “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.”
Reflecting on the recent #MeToo movement in which women across Hollywood and other industries have come forward about their experiences with sexual harassment, Knightley said she had been aware of a “culture of silencing women.”
“What’s been really interesting is that it’s not just this industry — it’s in every industry,” she said. “I was surprised by some of the specifics. But I was aware of the culture of silencing women and the culture of bullying them, and I knew that men in the industry were allowed to behave in very different ways than women.”
However, she said her experiences with the disgraced movie mogul Havey Weinstein had only ever been “very professional,” having worked with him on the 2014 film The Imitation Game, for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
“My experience with Harvey Weinstein was always very professional. He was very good on the films we made. I was aware of his reputation of being a bully,” she continued. “He was famous for phoning people in the middle of the night and screaming at them. He didn’t do that to me, and he certainly never asked me for massages or anything like that.”
Knightley’s latest film, Colette, is released later this month.