It has been and will be a lifelong curse of mine, my love of historical fiction/period-piece stories. From books to styles to movies to speech -- all the varying, historical ways of being and storytelling have always been my thing. Naturally, Jane Austen got the better of me years ago, and in this day and age, I’m instantaneously draw to films like Elizabeth, The Other Boleyn Girl, and An Ideal Husband, no matter if my intuition tells me they will be only so-so. It is, after all, like I said, a curse.
So it is with a heavy heart that I have begun to notice that it seems every period film that is released these days stars Keira Knightley. One would have thought that after she took part in the ruining of the most recent Pride and Prejudice (the first mistake was not recasting Colin Firth; I am rather particular about my knights in shining armor) that someone would have started putting her in more Bend It Like Beckham-type movies. It’s not that she is a poor actress; I don’t have an opinion there. However, there are a couple films edging towards us, as in The Duchess and The Edge of Love, that have me oh-so-disappointed by their casting choices.
Did we, or did we not just see Keira say the line, “Come back. Come back to me” in the film Atonement? Am I crazy, or do we all remember that? Well, check out the latest international trailer for her upcoming film, The Edge of Love, and tell me what you find. It may not be identical, but it is pretty damn close. How annoying. It’s already ruined for me, and that is SO disappointing. Though, I do love Sienna Miller and she co-stars in the film. I sure hope Miller makes up for the film's shortcomings because I know, despite my outrage at the casting choices, that I will see this film eventually.
What was even more devastating for me was watching The Duchess trailer. My goodness! The trailer does a fantastic job of diverting you from who the Duchess will be played by, as if there is something surprising or stunning about the moviemakers' casting choice. We watch the estate gates open to an immaculate structure of stone and on to the clamoring of guests, all along showing the back of the Duchess. Finally, an intense glow of candles takes over the screen as the tension builds and we know we’re about to find out. (For me this was a pivotal moment that would make or break the experience.) Suddenly, at the height of my curiosity, everything instantly fizzled and we saw the most predictable, disappointing, and awkward-looking face, and we’re left thinking, “Again?”
Perhaps it sounds as if I don’t like Keira Knightley, but that is not exactly my feeling, at least not one I’m quite ready to submit to. True, I have been consistently disappointed in the films she has appeared in, (save for Atonement) and quite a few of those have been period pieces. With such a colossal number of people out there trying to be successful actors, I just don’t understand why the casting agents aren't branching out a bit.
Editor's Note: Looks like Ms. Knightley has signed on to yet another period piece, this time an adaptation of King Lear.