Keira Knightley: I like exploring female rage

The actress is starring in war drama The Aftermath.

Keira Knightley has said she enjoys exploring female rage.

The London-born actress stars in drama The Aftermath as a bereaved mother living in post-war Germany with her British colonel husband.

The film explores grief and loss, themes Knightley is familiar with having recently starred as a French literary icon in Colette and the actress said “rage is always in my work a little bit”.

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley said she enjoys exploring the theme of female rage (Ian West/PA)

She told the Press Association: “I do like exploring female rage, you know. I’m interested in it in myself, in my friends, I’m like, ‘it’s very much there’ and I think it comes out in interesting directions.”

The Aftermath, also starring Jason Clarke and Alexander Skarsgard, sees Knightley’s character trying to rebuild her marriage while her husband tries to rebuild the German city of Hamburg after it was devastated in the war.

Based on the novel by Rhidian Brook, Knightley said its exploration of a failing relationship will strike a chord with audiences.

She said: “I felt like that was something most adults can identify with, if you’ve had failed relationships or whatever, or you’ve had break ups, there is that moment when you suddenly look at the person that you should know the best in the world, and they’re a stranger, and you’re a stranger to them.

The Aftermath World Premiere – London
Alexander Skarsgard, Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke star together in The Aftermath (Ian West/PA)

“Now normally that’s when we break apart, but in this, they’re trying to meet each other again and I thought that was kind of an extraordinary thing as well – how do you do that?”

Knightley, born in Teddington, shot to fame after appearing in 2002’s Bend It Like Beckham before achieving greater success in the Pirates Of The Caribbean film series.

Now 33, she is married to musician James Righton and they have a daughter together, three-year-old Edie.

The Aftermath deals with a mother losing her child and Knightley said she felt “incredibly empathetic” towards her character.

She said: “I read an article by a woman who had lost a child who talked about the fact that there’s no name for it.

“If you’re a child that’s lost parents, you’re an orphan, you’re a widower or a widow, but there’s no name in the English language for this because it is so horrific, and therefore what are you?

“That kind of idea, ‘Are you still a mother if you’ve lost a child?’ is something that just I mean is the most horrific… And I think that’s where this character sits, and how on Earth do you continue your life after that, how on Earth do you forgive yourself, how on Earth do you forgive your partner?

“I mean, they’re kind of huge questions and I think it was sort of something that this story dealt with, and also offered hope and a kind of redemption within all of that. I thought that was quite extraordinary.”

The Aftermath is in cinemas now.

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