• a battle-hardened ballbreaker, this time she's the all-action heroine in "king arthur" who rumbles for real
September 2003. Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare, Ireland. Day 60 of shooting on the $100 million-budgeted, pseudo-historical summer blockbuster, King Arthur. A 950m-long, 35ft-high replica of Hadrian's Wall, complete with keep and garrison buildings, snakes out of sight. It may be constructed out of wood, chicken wire and sticky-backed plastic, but it's sturdy enough for a troop of soldiers to stomp along its battlements. In front of this impressive piece of DIY are 200 extras recreating the Battle of Baden Hill, a skirmish between the disparate clans of Britons and the invading Anglo-Saxon horde in 490AD. Giving proceedings a surreal Roger Hiorns-look is a huge trench full of flames slicing the combat zone, and the fact that half of the massed fighters are painted blue.
Swaggering through the crowd, taking care not to step in the countless buckets of fake blood, is Keira Knightley, looking out of place amid the mayhem in jeans and a ripped black T-shirt. She's been in Ireland for the past three months getting in shape for her role as Guinevere - this time not just a two-timing harridan in a floaty dress but an all-action warrior who fights alongside the men - and despite this being her day off she's come down to the set to rehearse her intricate sword fights with the stunt co-ordinators. A self-confessed tomboy, she likes nothing better than to get stuck in.
"Have you not seen my muscles?" she asks Arena, tightening her biceps like some gangly Popeye. "I've had to do one-and-a-quarter hours of boxing and weights every day, on top of sword fighting lessons. But I'm such a lazy fucker. If someone isn't standing over me going, 'You will lift this!' I won't do it."
In the space of four years Keira Knightley has gone from complete obscurity to the top of every Hollywood casting director's wish list. When did she first come on your radar? If you were a Star Wars geek it was probably as Princess Amidala's doppelgänger in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; if you're into low-fi British horror movies it was when she whipped off her top and engaged in some dubious ménage-à-trois with two rich posh schoolboys in The Hole; or was it shopping for sports bras in the "Hey look, girls play football!" 2002 sleeper, Bend It Like Beckham, which earned her the justified adulation of "the sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet?" For the general cinema-going masses it was when she squeezed into a tight-fitting corset and attempted to keep a straight face next to Johnny Depp's over-the-top, boozed-up corsair in Pirates Of The Caribbean.
Wherever it was, she would have made an impression. In the flesh she doesn't disappoint. Cocksure and confident, she's not the sort of person to creep discreetly into a room, but of all the big-name actresses Arena has encountered recently, Keria is the most down-to-earth and professional. There's no over-the-top retinue and no outrageous demands. It's a point not lost on Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced both Pirates... and King Arthur.
"I showed Antoine [Fuqua, director of Training Day and King Arthur] sections of her in Pirates... and he loved her. She's great, so professional, she's beautiful and enormously talented, she can be a school kid or a warrior princess and you believe what she's telling you. She's got this internal strength. When you start seeing the wheels turning and realise that someone is acting it's over, but with Keira you just don't see that."
If she is aware Hollywood thinks of her in this regard, she doesn't show it; while a studio exec stresses about finding her a chair, Keira laughs it off and is more content to flop on the grass and show off her bruises.
"I have the most fantastic one all the way up my arm and I'm extremely proud of it," she says. "I've been learning archery for months and been doing okay [actually the archery expert Simon Ralphs claims the only better person he's seen with a bow and arrow is Dame Judi Dench], but when I came to shoot a scene I did it completely wrong and the bow caught me right down the arm. But I like being in the thick of the action. I chop up some people with an axe and I have a 'bitch pack' - me and my bitches. There's eight of us girls and we circle one Saxon like a pack of wolves and slice him up which was great fun."
Despite a cast that include Clive Owen as the titular King, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot and Ray Winstone sticking to what he does best - shouting a lot, looking mean - as Arthur's heavyweight thug Bors, Keira has had no trouble keeping up with the men, having already joined them on their pre-production boot camp.
"I don't think any of the past Guineveres have been in the middle of the fighting and I get to lead an army, which is rather fantastic. I shoot a flaming arrow with 200 extras behind me while bellowing a war cry. She's a Pict, and the Pictish were a matriarchal society, the bloodline went through the women, so she's a leader in her own right. She's not just a pretty girl who gets married off to a king, she has her own people and her own agenda."
The film also plays down the ubiquitous love triangle. "It's there but it's not the focus of the story," she says. "It's done subtly. I do get to have a sex scene with Clive but I didn't even have to go topless, so it was fine. Clive did, so I felt a little guilty." With that she's off to play with her new toy-cum-weapon - a garrotte. She reveals, a touch coquettishly we fancy, that it's all in the way you "swing it around the neck and pull. For maximum effort you need to give a little twist at the end."
May 2004. A London photographic studio. At Arena's studio, the first she's agreed to do for a men's magazine, Keira is tired (a result of some last-minute additional King Arthur night-shoots), her muscles have shrunk ("I told you I was a lazy fucker"), but she's chatty and friendly. Conversation veers from ghost stories to conspiracy theories to the weekend's box office take of Viggo Mortensen's disastrous "one man and his horse" movie, Hidalgo.
"It's nice to know what's doing well from a business point of view," she says. "It's a part of the industry I still don't know that well and would like to learn more about."
This week she's started auditioning a raft of British acting talent for potential Mr Darcys to appear opposite her in a new film version of Pride and Prejudice. Some of them have been hoping to stand out from the rest by turning up in the requisite jodhpurs. Although, disappointingly, not on horses.
"I was like, 'Hey, you look good in those.' We don't start until mid-July but it's moving forward," she says. "We saw some wicked people - there's so many good actors it's hard to choose, not that I do the choosing. The casting directors ask me what I think, I go, 'Yeah, they were wicked,' and that's about it. It's pretty obvious when it works and when it doesn't."
Already this year she's adorned the covers of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Premiere and been front-page news in The Sun with some rehashed pictures from The Sunday Times Style magazine ("My mother was soooo proud," she says, sarcastically.) But it's not all been easy: she's had some unwanted attention from a stalker, been described as "painfully thin" by charmless gossip columnists and old school friends have crawled out of the woodwork accusing her of panting an inaccurate account of her academic days. With all eyes on her, it's unsurprising that she doesn't enjoy the extra attention of the camera.
"I love getting dressed up but when you start to do lots of photo shoots you become really conscious of your defects," she says. "They are things that probably nobody else would notice, but I've started to be aware of what angles don't work so well and, honestly, I don't really want to know. I'd rather not be one of those people who goes, 'Oh, you can't shoot me from that side.' It was why I never wanted to be a model. I was approached on the street by a model scout years ago. They said, 'What size are you?' I said, 'A ten.' And they said, 'Sorry, we're only taking six to eights.' Imagine telling a 14-year-old that. I think it's disgraceful."
Keira admires Rachel Weisz, Halle Berry and Charlize Theron for their abilities to juggle big-budget fare as well as independent projects, and launched her quest to emulate them aged three, when she demanded her own agent after getting fed up with them calling the house to speak to her actor father, Will Knightley, and her playwright mother, Sharman. She grew up on film sets and discusses "the business" and her career arc like a pro, despite being just 19.
"I started when I was seven," she says, "and even then I remember thinking, 'Gold, I'm being treated like an adult,' - although in hindsight I probably wasn't - and was always asked for my opinion. They wanted you to make decisions for yourself. That's always been the way it is."
When Arena first interviewed you back in November 2001 - when the magazine picked Keira as its actress to watch for 2002 - you said you stood in front of your poster for The Hole to see if anyone would spot you, and no one did. Have things changed?
Definitely. It's only really been in the past two months that people have started recognising me. It's been hard to get my head around. You're walking along the street and one minute you're invisible and the next you're not. It has made me feel very self-conscious. It's that thing where you're thinking, 'I'm looking crap,' but you still pop round the corner to get some milk and someone will go, 'God, you look really bad.' I mean, would you ever say that to someone?"
Probably. Are you now constantly followed by the paparazzi?
They've started. I don't mind a bad picture, I'd prefer there not to be one obviously, but I don't like the idea of a guy you don't know following you around when you are on your own. Especially when they are in cars with blacked out windows. It's threatening. The photos - fuck it, whatever - but it's unnerving that it could be anyone and you can't see them.
You have been cropping up in the low-rent gossip magazines recently...
It's so strange because, before, I thought there would be a little bit of truth to some of the stories they run. But there literally isn't. I've been reading quotes that are apparently from me admitting to having had my top lip done and having Botox. It's ridiculous. Actually, I might have shot myself in the foot with that as I heard the story about my lips and I went to a party and somebody asked me about it and I went, sarcastically, 'Oh yeah, I've had my lips done,' which was stupid of me. I didn't realise that anybody would take me seriously.
Then there was the talk about you "getting it on" with Adrien Brody?
Lucky me, eh? Fair enough, he's got an Oscar, I could do worse. That was a tiny bit embarrassing as those stories came out and we were just starting the rehearsals and I'd literally had about two conversations with him. He's a lovely guy but it is a bit weird when everyone is looking at you going, 'Yeah, you two are doing it.' I guess it's always going to happen, I read so many of those things and I'm constantly getting linked to different men. It's pretty nauseating really, ha ha. He's a wicked bloke and we got on well as mates, and he's got a girlfriend anyway.
That's that settled, then. Now, you're in The Jacket, a drama about an institutionalised Gulf War veteran, produced by Stephen Soderbergh and George Clooney. Do you have to pinch yourself and go, 'Shit there's George Clooney!'?
Definitely. He was only on set for three days and I met him twice but I've never been more star-struck in my life. I was fine when I first met Johnny Depp. It was at a script reading at The Viper Room, his mouth was already full of those gold and platinum teeth so I just shouted, 'Oh my God, look at your teeth,' which broke the ice. Also I was doing scenes with him and actually working with him, I wasn't doing that with George. I think I managed to say 'hi' and 'bye' to him and that was it. There was a moment where I was standing there desperately trying to think of something to say but my mind was completely blank.
We hear you're finally moving into your own flat... Are you trawling The Conran Shop looking for inspiration?
The boiler's broken. The toilet's broken. The sink's broken. Everything is broken. It's a pretty old place and I need to get everything fixed. I'm getting someone in to do things like the plumbing. I took one look at it last night and thought, 'That's not me.' I'm spending a lot of time in Habitat and I keep getting photographed there, it's embarrassing. My house is empty, I just have a lilo on the floor and that's it.
Is it true you make your own clothes?
Not really. Although I do doodle on things. I paint things on my T-shirts which usually means they have to be chucked away straight after.
Like what? A big doodle of a cock?
If that's what I feel like on that day, or naked women. Actually I do have a pair of boots with naked women all over them. And my brother left a pair of his out and I apinted big sunflowers all over them. He was like, 'Why couldn't I have had the naked women on them?'
If only Van Gogh was equally laissez-faire about his subjects.... You once said in an interview that you never get chatted up. Is that still the case?
Actually, they asked, 'What's the cheesiest chat-up line you've ever heard?' and I said, 'Well, no one has used a cheesy chat-up line.' So I had lots of close friends chatting me up just so I could say that I had been chatted up. And they all made it extremely clear that it meant nothing. I thought it was quite cruel, really.
Are men hitting on you just because you are Keira Knightley, the big-time actress?
It wears off pretty quickly. As soon as you fart in front of somebody the whole illusion has gone in an instant. I don't think you can live your life worrying about that. You have to take people at face value. I can't be having a conversation and be thinking, 'Ooh, are they going to go to the papers?' You'd end up alienating yourself.
Maybe it is stupid and I'll get burnt a couple of times but I'd prefer to do that than try to protect myself to that degree. It would be much worse if I had a million people around me and I couldn't have a normal conversation with anyone.
So no one has ever confessed their undying love for you?
No. People asked me that when I was making Love, Actually, for obvious reasons, but I've never had that. Bastards. Now I'm going to have men coming up and saying it out of sympathy again. Especially when they see these pictures...
Your sexy side came out that day...
Absolutely. It tries to come out a lot more than it normally manages. I try desperately to be more sexy and end up just making myself laugh. Or falling over on my stilettos like I did this morning getting into my car. I was thinking, 'Yeah, I'm looking good, I've got my sexy shoes on, I'm all tall, it's all good,' and then I trip up.
The trials of womanhood, eh? Still, it's good to see that your Guinevere costume is pretty much just a few strips of leather.
It started off being full-on armour with a breastplate, but that didn't work. Then I went to the Pirates... premiere in LA and I was wearing this crop-top. Jerry saw it and called up the costume designer and went, 'Well, she's got this fantastic stomach, I really think we should use the stomach.' Historically when the Picts fought they were naked, and that was the original idea. I don't have a problem with my body. I'm not just going to strip off all my clothing, but if the part calls for it and I don't think there's any way around it, then I'm absolutely fine. But there was no way I was going to run around the countryside naked in just some blue paint.
Pity. You famously had some cleavage added for the Pirates... poster. Are you being similarly spruced for the King Arthur one?
I was very pleased about that, too. There's not so much touching up on the King Arthur poster though. I'm a bit pissed off about it really as I liked the whole cleavage thing. Particularly as I don't have any.
How tricky was your blue war-paint to get off?
I kept forgetting I had it on, so I'd be walking around with bright blue ears or blue elbows for days. It's embarrassing, it looks great when you're on set but when you go home and go out to the pub you get some strange looks. I thought the landlord of my flat in Dublin was going to throw me out. There was a shower in the apartment and it had run cold - there's something about me and boilers - I was in the shower getting the blue paint off, leapt out as it went cold, ran to see if I could get the boiler working and I left blue footprints all through the place. I was up all night scrubbing the floor but it just wouldn't come off. Let's just say I don't think I got my deposit back. back to the top
• "i had a really good backhand but my serve was only so-so"
As featured on GKA yesterday, Kirsten Dunst plays a rising young American tennis star in the romantic comedy Wimbledon, out in the US next month.
"It's a delicate balance because it's easy to go over the top," Kirsten says of combining romance and comedy. "But with Paul, he's so adorable and so respectful. I just cannot say enough nice things about Paul."
Kirsten says she still can't believe that they were allowed to shoot on Wimbledon's real-life centre court, something that had never been allowed before. "It was amazing that they let us shoot on the grounds," she says. "They really welcomed us and we just took over."
The actress says playing the type of role that's usually left for the male lead was a new challenge for her. "For me it was hard because I was supposed to play the aggressive one, but he's 10 years older than me so sometimes I felt like I just had to suck it up!"
On the subject of the tennis scenes, which use CGI tennis balls, Kirsten says, "I'm in actress, I was never going to be amazing. I had a really good backhand but my serve was only so-so!" back to the top
• "she nailed the part"
Katherine Heigl has been cast as Karly, the lead character in a new independent film called Side Effects. Shot in Madison, Wisconsin in a two week period during July, the film is an insightful view of the drugs industry.
The film is based on writer/director Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau's decade of working for a pharmaceutical company "educating" physicians about her company's drugs.
There are comic moments but the engine driving the story is the lead character's growing realisation that the prescription drug industry is not altogether scrupulous.
"At some point I began having trouble looking at myself in the mirror," Slattery-Moschkau said. "We weren't educating doctors. That was a song and dance."
Slattery-Moschkau declined to name the drug company that employed her for a decade. "The film is about the industry as a whole," she said, adding that while grounded in her experience, it is a work of fiction.
As her misgivings about the industry grew, Slattery-Moschkau began keeping a record of incidents, amusing and otherwise, that happened on the job. Meanwhile, she had begun writing scripts, having been interested in the movie business since college while recognising the necessity of having a "real job."
Her early scripts brought some favourable feedback, including a high finish in a screenwriting contest that's part of the Austin Film Festival.
One day it dawned on Slattery-Moschkau that the best script she had was the unwritten one about her decade in the drug industry. "I though, 'Damn, I've got a great story right here. This is unbelievable!'"
She wrote it and had the unusual good fortune of finding an agent in Los Angeles who would represent it to producers. But then the agent began to offer suggestions about what would make the script more commercial.
"He was basically dumbing it down," Slattery-Moschkau said. "I tried, but it kept getting more and more generic and eventually I lost everything I loved about the script."
Early last spring, she had a middle-of-the-night epiphany. "I thought, wait a minute, I can make this myself." It was a moment of madness that might only come to someone with Slattery-Moschkau's high energy and enthusiasm.
In her pep talk to herself, Slattery-Moschkau realised that in recent years the movies that most moved her were independents. Reading up on the subject convinced her it was possible. Soon she had an investor's portfolio and an entertainment attorney. Casting directors in Los Angeles want proof that the budget has been raised and by the end of May, the novice filmmaker had done it.
So well drawn is the lead role that one of Hollywood's leading actresses kept the script a week before deciding not to take a chance on an unknown director on a low budget. Landing Katherine Heigl - poised for stardom, with just enough credits to make film festivals and distributors take notice - was a big plus and moved the production forward. "She nailed the part," Slattery-Moschkau said.
The Madison settings for the July shoot included the Madison Club, the Arboretum and Memorial Union Terrace.
Katie will return to Madison to shoot a couple of scenes in September. Slattery-Moschkau says the film must be done by 21 September to meet various festival entry deadlines.
It has been a whirlwind six months and at times she wonders what she has wrought. In nervous moments she worries about the reaction of the powerful pharmaceutical industry - "I sat on the script a long time; I was intimidated" - but she hopes the audiences are moved.
"They should be laughing and they should be shocked," she said. back to the top
• "taking the clothes off was not easy at first"
After showing off her ballet prowess in The Company, Scream star Neve Campbell talked to Entertainment Tonight about her role in When Will I Be Loved, which opens in the US on 10 September.
"I used to have an issue with nudity," says Neve, who once had a no nudity clause in her contract. "To me, doing nudity in a horror film may not be the smartest idea. But a film that has to do with sexuality and sexual exploration may be a good idea."
In When Will I Be Loved, Neve stars as Vera, a femme fatale for the 21st century who engages in a skillful game of revenge. Two men who have taken her for granted are in for quite a surprise when she gets through with them: Ford (Fred Wellar), a shamelessly manipulative hustler who uses Vera to gain fame and fortune; and Count Tommaso Lupo (Sopranos star Dominic Chianese), an aging, Italian media mogul looking to buy Vera's affections.
Ford, who is dating Vera, sees his chance to make big money when he meets the billionaire Lupo, who has developed an obsession with Vera. He concocts a plan to pimp out Vera for $100,000, but to his surprise, she agrees to be bought. A natural improvisor, Vera raises the price to a million dollars. Is she a gold digger, a black widow, or something more?
"When she realises that people are trying to manipulate her, and take advantage of her, and underestimate her intelligence, she then uses her sexuality for power," Neve tells ET.
Showing just how far she's come since her Party of Five days, Neve's character explores the limits of her sexual and intellectual power by having frank, sexual discussions with her potential employer, picking up men on the street, and videotaping her romps with a female lover.
"Taking the clothes off was not easy at first," Neve says with a nervous laugh, "but five minutes in and everyone's seen you, then what else is there to hide? I'm just marchin' around, you know? We shot all day long and at some point I turned to one of the camera guys and said thank you and he said, 'No, thank you.'" back to the top
• "i think there is something sexy about tennis"
Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany find love on and off the tennis court in Wimbledon, a romantic comedy about an aging tennis champ who finds inspiration in a rising young American star.
"I think there is something sexy about tennis," Kirsten told Entertainment Tonight. "It has an elegance to it."
In US cinemas on 17 September, Wimbledon stars Bettany as the unlucky Peter Colt, whose personal life and professional career have hit rock bottom. Ranked at the bottom of the world tennis roster, Peter manages to score a wild card, allowing him to play in the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. There, he meets and falls for the younger, American tennis star Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst).
"Here's this champion who has shut out the possibility of love from her life in the interest of winning," says Kirsten. "Up to that point, she's been able to use men and throw them away and it hasn't really bothered her. But she's able to let herself fall in love with Peter, and that changes everything."
Now, inspired by his newfound romance and focused, on-court prowess, Peter works his way up the ranks and actually stands a chance of fulfilling his lifelong dream: to win the men's singles title. But will his luck hold out?
"I've never done a sports movie and I've never done a sort of comedy/drama," says Bettany. "My last film I played a ship's surgeon, but I wouldn't want to operate on anyone. So with training, I thought I could approximate being a tennis player, even though I'm not. and the falling in love bit, well, that's the easy part."
Neither of the pair were very good at tennis before filming, so the filmmakers put them into four months of training to help them look like Wimbledon champs. CGI tennis balls have been used for many of the court volleys, although at least one review has criticised this aspect of the film for looking completely unrealistic.
Directed by Richard Loncraine (Band of Brothers, The Missionary), the film also stars Jon Favreau and Sam Neill and features cameos by tennis greats John McEnroe and Chris Evert. back to the top
• former "angel" star to guest-voice on "justice league unlimited"
Amy Acker, best known as Fred on Angel, is providing a guest-voice for an upcoming episode of Justice League Unlimited.
Acker, 28, is voicing The Huntress in an episode called Double Date that will air next season on the US Cartoon Network.
The episode also features Green Arrow (Kin Shriner), Black Canary and The Question (Jeffrey Combs). Other guest voices will be announced at a later date. back to the top
• "i'd have to show my breasts at some point"
As previously revealed on GKA, former Buffy and Angel star Charisma Carpenter is to guest star on Charmed next season. TV Guide visited the set to talk to her about her appearances on the show as well as getting her kit off for Playboy.
TV Guide Online: David Boreanaz recently told TV Guide he'd be willing to do Angel feature films, but not TV-movies. Could Cordy make a return from the dead someday?
Charisma Carpenter: I read that snippet about David in TV Guide! You know, I'm not interested. Not because of David or anyone I worked with. I think we're all just done. I don't think my fans should be offended because they're not Angel or Buffy specific. They've proven over time that they'll follow me no matter what I do, so I'm not afraid of taking anything away from them and I hope they wouldn't feel that way.
TVGO: Cordy was psychic on Angel. Now you're a seer. What's up with these ESP roles?
Carpenter: Another psychic! At least I'm not in a coma on this show. They're both sassy girls, but this character is more of a temptress than a smartass. She's toying with Leo.
TVGO: Does your character have a name?
Carpenter: She's just "Seer." We'll see if we see more of her before she gets a name!
TVGO: Might you do more than two episodes?
Carpenter: I'm happy to do more. It would depend on whether my pilot is picked up. I'm thrilled to be here because I have a relationship with Holly Marie Combs. We did my ABC Family movie See Jane Date together and we're both new moms. It's also interesting to be back doing this supernatural genre. I know it and it's familiar.
TVGO: How about this pilot of yours?
Carpenter: It's a possible midseason replacement sitcom for UPN. It was called Play Nice, but now it's called Like Cats and Dogs. I'm the girl on the show, and it's about my life with my fun-loving brother [played by Canadian actor Tyler Labine]. I'm an uptight lawyer and he comes to live with me and my houseful of dogs.
TVGO: If the sitcom didn't happen, wouldn't it be fun to join Charmed as a regular?
Carpenter: I think working with girls would be great, especially since Holly's a mom and a producer. The only reason I would hesitate is that the shooting schedule of a one-hour drama is a lot for a new mom. It'd be great to work with her, 'cause she gets it. So yeah, I'd definitely be open to talking about it.
TVGO: By the way, many mothers might be envious of your having a baby and then doing Playboy!
Carpenter: That came about because I had a baby and got so bloody fat. I gained 50 pounds. I needed something to motivate me to get my butt in shape. It's vanity, really. Right after I signed the deal with Playboy, I did hard-core training for 20 days.
TVGO: Any hesitation about posing for the lad mag?
Carpenter: It was all very agreeable and they allowed my husband to be on set to make sure everything was cool, and it was. I'm really pleased with the photos and I don't have any regrets. I expect there are people out there who would hope that I would. They may judge me, but I'm not feeling regret right now. I guess I'll cross that bridge with my son when I come to it...
TVGO: You appeared topless, but the photos weren't raunchy.
Carpenter: I felt good about it. I figured if I did films, I'd have to show my breasts at some point. Why not take beautiful pictures for posterity while I'm young?
TVGO: Your midriff-baring outfit on Charmed will be memorable, too!
Carpenter: The Seer's like a jezebel. Women on Charmed have to look hot. That's the sense I'm getting. Every single one of [the witches] are notoriously sexy women! back to the top
• oscar winner fumes over rumours
Oscar star Adrien Brody is fuming over rumours linking him to Keira Knightley, insisting that they only have a professional relationship.
Brody, who is going around with Michelle Dupont, said that he was stunned when people linked him to Keira, who is currently dating model Jamie Dornan.
"I don't know what people take me, or her, to be. I'm in a relationship and so is Keira. I don't regard being in a relationship as a loose thing," Femalefirst quoted Brody as saying.
"We were said to be having intimate, candelit pasta dinners in my apartment. But that's not true. We ate together a couple of times because we were working, but it never went further than that," he added.
He also said that it was all pretty intense, dark and dramatic, but not the best situation to start any sort of relationship, even if he had wished to. back to the top
• "i don't read any of the papers"
In little over a year, Teddington lass Keira Knightley has gone from promising young British actress to being the talk of Tinseltown, with her name being bandied around for just about every new project being commissioned.
Having held her own alongside Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, in last year's Pirates of the Caribbean, she is now taking on the coveted role of Guinevere in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced blockbuster, King Arthur and her workload shows no sign of letting up. Next up, is a darker character piece, called The Jacket, which co-stars Oscar winner Adrien Brody and has been produced by George Clooney, followed by her high-profile casting as Elizabeth Bennet in the big screen version of Pride and Prejudice.
Oh and she is also set to reprise her role as Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, which is hoping to reunite the team which made the original such a winning formula.
Yet, in spite of being the subject of near-constant media speculation about her private life, and the fact that she has recently made the cover of Vanity Fair, the 19-year-old shows no sign of the strains of super-stardom.
Talking about her career at a recent junket for King Arthur, she gushed excitedly: "It is amazing because throughout my life what I've loved doing is watching movies. I love reading books about movies, I love the escapism of film and I love the stories.
"So it's incredible for me to be involved with them as much as I am, from the very first stitch in a costume to the end product.
"That's what I find really incredible and that's what I always wanted to spend my time doing. Acting is a profession where you're hot one minute, and not hot the next, and that's totally cool with me. That's what I find most fascinating and exciting about it that it can be gone in a puff of smoke."
She even takes suggestions that she has become a symbol for Britain in her stride, laughing as she notes: "I love where I'm from, you know, I'm very much a Londoner. And I think the more time I spend away from England, the more I love it. But I don't know if I'd say I was a British symbol. It is very strange seeing yourself in magazines. It means you can't buy them, which is really annoying.
"And I don't read any of the papers. I spend most of my time working and when you're on a film set it's like being in a protective bubble, which is fantastic.
"So I haven't really been overly aware of it. Honestly, if I'm on a billboard, I usually have to walk past about five of them before I actually figure out that it's me staring back at myself. Or I say, 'God, she looks familiar'."
Not that Keira has much time to buy too many magazines, despite being regularly seen around the shops of Richmond, close to her childhood home in Teddington, for she is almost always aways filming.
For King Arthur she was forced to spend three months practising boxing, weightlifting, axe fighting, sword fighting and horse riding, in a specially-devised boot camp for all the principal cast members.
And she maintains it provided the ideal preparation for her version of Guinevere, which is a very different take on the character.
When audiences first see her, for instance, she is in prison, while, by the end of the film, she has emerged as a gutsy warrior queen, who is more than capable of handling herself on the battlefield.
Keira admits to spending a lot of time with director, Antoine Fuqua, talking about ways in which she could make her character different.
"We did decide that she was leading an attack and got captured and put in jail, where she got tortured as well," she explained. "And I thought she was high up in society, which gave me more to play. Suddenly, this person who had been fighting against the knights since she was born, finds herself amongst them and she has to think about what's the best action to take. Should she kill them all, or does she use them to her advantage?"
"So she choose to use Arthur to her advantage. It's a cold way of looking at it, but there is a bit of love as well. She's a character who would not fall in love with somebody unless they were beneficial to her cause. What we're looking at is Guinevere as a guerilla leader she's fighting for an occupied nation.
"The interesting thing to note is that there is not a single innocent character in this movie. They've all done things that are repulsive and disgusting and each one is probably haunted by that. But it makes them more interesting individuals."
Having made a name for herself as the romantic leading lady, however, it seems Keira is keen not to become pigeonholed.
Aside from the makeover given to Guinevere, she will next be playing an alcoholic waitress in The Jacket, which she describes as "a thinking man's thriller". Once again, it marks a departure from what viewers have come to expect.
But, as she explains: "As a moviegoer, I want to see women who are proactive and not just the girl in the movie that's what I'm interested in. So as far as me choosing roles, I only do what what interests me."
So, would that entail a move to Hollywood, if the opportunity arose?
"If it's absolutely critical for my career, then yes, but I can't imagine that it ever would be. I do like it in Los Angeles, the weather's good and the beaches are nice. When I first arrived, I couldn't get my head around it. I really didn't like it and I wasn't sure why.
"But I only recently bought myself a flat, in London. I haven't moved into it yet, but I bought it so if the acting thing falls apart, at least I'll have a flat."
Looking at her schedule for the next couple of years, there seems little chance of that. back to the top
• "she's really pissed off"
Blue Crush star Kate Bosworth is reportedly jealous over the amount of time her boyfriend Orlando Bloom is spending with his latest co-star Kirsten Dunst.
Spider-Man actress Dunst split from Jake Gyllenhaal last month after a two-year romance and has become good friends with the Lord of the Rings star on the Kentucky set of Elizabethtown.
A film source told the Daily Star, "When you're filming away from home you obviously have to spend a lot of time with your co-stars. Kate's an actress so she knows what and she's cool with it."
However as Bloom commutes from his Hollywood base to Los Angeles studios for filming of final scenes, Bosworth has been dismayed to find Bloom spending less time with her and more with Dunst.
The source continues, "Usually when the LA scenes come around those close bond normalise. She expected Orlando to spend more time with her and less time chilling with Kirsten.
"She's a bit worried about Kirsten's sudden split with Jake and the fact that she's got a bit of a reputation for dating co-stars.
"Orlando said to Kate, Kirsten is a friend coping with a break-up and needs her friends around her. Well, she looks happy enough to Kate and she's really pissed off that Orlando won't ditch her after the camera stops rolling." back to the top
• "the guy was obviously suffering"
Angelina Jolie's mesmerising effect on the opposite sex means she now has to find a new flying instructor, because her last one was so starstruck teaching her.
The Tomb Raider beauty, 29, is currently trying to earn her wings as a pilot at Los Angeles' Santa Monica airport.
But a source says, "The poor guy was so nervous he could hardly speak.
"Angelina has a few lessons with him but she's had to change because the guy was obviously suffering." back to the top
• new movie currently filming in south africa
Katherine Heigl has been cast as Delilah in a new film called The 9th Passenger, which is currently filming in South Africa. The cast also includes Chris Carmack, Jaime King, Matthew Lawrence and Jennifer Morrison.
The film is the story of eight students stranded on a yacht, with a mysterious ninth passenger who may or may not exist.
The IMDB describes it as follows:
Spring Break has finally hit, and for eight friends, it's the opportunity of a lifetime. After boarding a deserted yacht to get to the mainland, the friends soon realise that they're in the middle of nowhere and they're dealing with a mysterious 9th passenger that may or may not really be there... but whether he's real or not is the least of their worries as not only [do] they seem to be lost out in the jungle, their captain is nowhere to be found and soon they begin disappearing one by one, and all evidence leads to the passenger that seems to come in and out of the real world whenever he pleases... back to the top
• former "buffy" and "angel" star gets guest role on another wb series
Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel star Charisma Carpenter will be making at least two guest appearances on Charmed next season.
Charisma will play a Seer on Cheaper by the Coven (episode 7.3, due to air on 26 September) and Styx Feet Under (episode 7.5, October). Shooting on the first episode begins this week. back to the top
• a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to plan the party you can't attend
Buffy's once-loyal slayer has shaken hands with the dead and is sure of her place in heaven - but her taxidermist has a stiff task.
If you died tomorrow, what would you regret never having done?
I regret not doing anything that I thought I would do before I was 20, like swimming across an ocean. I'm really pissed off that I'm afraid of going skydiving now. I used to be fearless, I used to say that I'd do anything, but now I just can't picture myself jumping out of a perfectly good plane.
What outfit do you want to be buried in?
I'm going for cremation as I'd rather be burned in my birthday suit than buried in a box in some outfit that's not gonna look that good down the road. It'll fall out of season pretty quick...
Where do you want to have your funeral?
I'd like to have it outside, I like the whole ashes-to-ashes bit, going back into the earth. That's the thing with ashes, you can spread them allover, throw some in the ocean, or put some in a park under a bench and everyone can come sit with you and chat. The more places they can go and think of you, the merrier. I'd say.
What kind of music would be rocking the aisles?
It would be upbeat. Aretha Franklin, some kind of empowering music. And some Bob Marley, as people would need the edge taking off a little bit. I'd have a real mix. I do mean Madonna covers, so a karaoke Like A Prayer would be in there.
Describe your funeral procession?
It would be a mixed bag. Whatever town it went through, the Buffy fans would pop out from behind a bush or something, wailing. There'd be a few old teachers, too, throwing pencil darts at the car. I didn't really like authority and I used to get into trouble for calling my teachers "dude". I was so young when I went away to do my first movie, and I was working with adults who I called by their first names, they were my peers. When I got back to school I was like, "Hey, what's up dude?" I was a little bit of a brat to my teachers.
When do you consider your own mortality?
I get very religious whenever I fly. I can't fly without a cross, and I feel a little bit like a poser. I'm always sporting that cross because the prayers start when the plane takes off and they end when we land. Until the next time.
Are you interested in cryogenic freezing?
Not at all. It's a bit absurd. Why would you want to freeze yourself and come back and not know anyone? The only people you'd know would be the cryogenic community. I don't want to know people like that! That's not the group that I hang out with. Me, I'm going to die with my buddies.
Have you ever seen a dead body?
Bodies have never really freaked me out. When I was about five my best friend's father had a funeral home. I held an old lady's hand one time, for a dare. My friend was like, "Do it, do it," so I reached into the casket; this old lady had died of old age. I was like, "It's really cold..." and I turned round and my friend had gone. I was standing by myself holding a dead hand.
Have you ever seen someone die?
Two years ago my mother and I went to South Africa. There was a strike, people were protesting in the streets and there was one crazy man, really drunk, who had blood on his face. He was running through the crowd, fell on the ground and smashed his head. It was like you see in a movie, the blood just spread all over the floor. It was really intense, my stomach was just in my feet. It was pretty awful.
Who would you come back and haunt?
All my teachers who gave me shade. They'd say, "You think just because you're a Hollywood actress you don't have to do your homework?" I was just trying to say, "My dog ate it" - like my best friend does - and they're not giving her this rap, so why were they hating me? A lot of the students, and the teachers especially, didn't think it was cute to go off and do a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and then come back to school. I'd give them a taste of their own medicine.
If you knew you were dying would you make your peace with God?
I think me and God are pretty cool, you know? I'm going to heaven, baby. I might stop off and visit a few friends in hell first, but I'm staying on the train and taking it upstairs, for sure.
Would you trust your friends not to make moves on your boyfriend?
If they had the balls to go ahead and do it at my funeral, I would go back to the question about who I would haunt, and they'd hear about it.
If you were going to be stuffed, which pose would your body be in?
Probably the middle of some fly dance move. My eyes would be shut, my mouth open, hands in the air. Some sexy dance move.
And let's say you could have a button that made you gyrate...
That's taking taxidermy to a different level but, you know what, give me a few years until I'm dead and maybe the technology would be there. I think we could be on to something here though. We should copyright our shit before we print this.
What's the one story about you that your friends would be telling at your reception?
They'd make fun of my first day at middle school. I had been in British Columbia where people would wear moccasins with tassels on them, so I thought that was a perfectly good look. I had on moccasin boots with my jeans tucked in, and a matching suede scrunchy. My family never said anything when I left the house but now they're like, "When you came home with those busted boots..." In fact, they'd want to bury the boots with me. I'd be naked in the casket with the moccasin boots on my feet! back to the top
• "i decided i should probably wear underwear"
Sin City, the live-action movie based on Frank Miller's comic, caused a splash at the recent Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Posters of stars Jessica Alba (right), Rosario Dawson, Jaime King and Mickey Rourke were the objects of cameras throughout the show at the Dark Horse booth, but the biggest stir was for co-director Robert Rodriguez's 17-minute presentation with clips from the film showing exactly how faithful it would be to the source material.
"I saw the clip for the first time and I got goosebumps," said Alba, who plays Nancy and was a guest at the panel. "I can't believe it."
Rosario Dawson said about meeting with wardrobe about her costume: "When I walked in she was, 'Like, here it is (holding fingers apart). And I understand completely if you don't want to wear it. But try it first?' I fell in love with it. It was cool. It was my S&M super-hero outfit."
Alba said that she also found her wardrobe a bit daunting. "I had to sit there and look at my leather costume, with the chaps," she said. "It was originally drawn without underwear and I decided I should probably wear underwear because my dad wouldn't like that very much."
Rodriguez said about Alba's performance: "There's a sexiness she brought to the character that really was necessary. And you really did have to fall in love with her." back to the top
• "i think it is done," says smg's co-star
Any Sarah Michelle Gellar fans who are looking forward to a possible third movie in the Scooby Doo franchise will be disappointed if recent comments by her co-star Matthew Lillard are to be believed.
Talking to TV Guide, Lillard said: "At some point, that franchise will come back, but I don't think it will have any of us in it. It will probably be four or five years from now - that's my prediction."
On the subject of the sequel's disappointing box office performance, Lillard added: "I actually think that the second movie was much better than the first movie; I think that we had a bad release date."
He also revealed that he, at least, is contracted for a third movie: "Contractually, I would have to do it. ... I like doing the character [of Shaggy]. It is a real blast, and it is a challenge." back to the top
• "she didn't have her clothes on"
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Keira Knightley graciously agreed to sign autographs for enthusiastic fans - while standing naked in a gymnasium changing room.
The King Arthur star, 19, was approached by a group of female admirers while in the nude at the Amida Health Club in Hampton, never London, and she signed their pieces of paper before getting dressed.
A source says, "These girls spotted her in the changing room and couldn't wait to go over to meet her, even though she didn't have her clothes on.
"Keira just acted like a true professional and got on with it.
"Word soon got round the club about what she'd done and no one could believe just how nice and down-to-earth she is that she didn't mind doing that." back to the top
• former "charmed" star joins "north shore" cast
Former Charmed star Shannen Doherty is returning to the scene of her first brush with infamy - Fox. The actress has signed on to join the cast of North Shore, playing the long long sister of Brooke Burns. Doherty made headlines while working on the network's Beverly Hills, 90210, with rumours of cast fighting and late night antics on LA's Sunset Strip. back to the top
• "we love keira!"
Keira Knightley has topped a public poll organised by Newwoman to find the world's most beautiful celebrities. Keira, who is featured on the cover of the magazine's September issue, beat Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry to top the poll.
Newwoman's press release:
It's official. We love Keira!
Last month you voted in your thousands on Newwoman.co.uk to reveal Newwoman's 50 most beautiful celebrities - and Keira Knightley hit the number one spot.
The British beauty star beat rivals including Jennifer Aniston (who came in at number two), Halle Berry and Cameron Diaz.
Newwoman acting editor Claire Baylis said: "Keira looks equally stunning in jeans and T-shirt as she does glammed up for a premiere.
"She is the ultimately contemporary beauty - natural and fresh. That she has become so successful so fast sends her role model status off the scale."
But Keira wasn't the only Brit to fare well in the poll. Keira's Pirates of the Carribean co-star, Orlando Bloom, came fourth in the most beautiful male category and Robbie Williams came in sixth. Needless to say Brad Pitt was (and always is!) number one.
The complete list of results features in this month's Newwoman magazine, out now. back to the top
• "i'm going to work my ass off"
Jessica Alba - who will play Invisible Girl Sue Storm in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie - told Sci Fi Wire that she was concerned about the reaction of the fans when she was cast, but she couldn't pass on the chance to play the iconic character. "Honestly, I was worried," she said in an interview at Comic-Con International in San Diego last weekend. "But at the end of the day, when this opportunity came, I couldn't say no. I feel I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I turned this movie down, because it's such a great story. And I'm going to work my ass off and hopefully people will be pleased."
The Dark Angel star added that the family aspect of the story appealed to her, as well as the nurturing nature of her character. "She just wants everybody to be OK," she said. "And it seems like when she's trying to do that, when everyone's so caught up in their problems, that's when she disappears. So it's very metaphorical. I love it. I'm not that familiar with the comic books. I read the script, and it's just great, and it's about family, and it's so hopeful."
Although filming doesn't start until next month, Alba has already got a glimpse of the skin-tight outfit she and her fellow cast members - which include Michael Chiklis (The Shield) and Ioan Gruffudd (King Arthur) - will be wearing. "I've tried mine on," she said. "And the zippers are on the inside. I was so scared. [The costumer] had to use a tool. ... The costumes are very cool. They are spandex, and we have gloves and boots ... and fours on our chests." back to the top
• keira kicking more ass
Keira Knightley, who currently stars as the lovely yet lethal Guinevere in King Arthur, has signed on for another role that will combine beauty and butt-kicking.
The 19-year-old will star in Domino, based on the real-life story of a model-turned-bounty hunter, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The story centres on the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey, named Domino Harvey, who left her lucrative career as a Ford model to become a bounty hunter.
Man on Fire director Tony Scott will shoot the film, based on the script by Donnie Darko filmmaker Richard Kelly.
The New Line Cinema project will begin shooting in September in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and is scheduled for a 2005 release.
Knightley will next be seen opposite Adrien Brody in The Jacket, which will be released in 2005. She is currently filming a traditional retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. back to the top
• are ben and jen an item?
According to tabloid rumours in the US, Alias' Jennifer Garner is dating her Daredevil co-star Ben Affleck, although their representatives are denying it. back to the top
• "she looks and acts like any other teenager"
According to today's Sunday Express, Keira Knightley has delighted locals the historic village of Groombridge Place while filming Price and Prejudice.
Keira, who plays headstrong heroine Elizabeth Bennet in the latest Hollywood version of the Jame Austen classic is filming in the Kent village for the the next three weeks.
Down-to-Earth Keira, 19, is a hit with crew members and has thrilled villagers by drinking at the local pub as she settles into a gruelling 12-hour-day schedule. One crew member said: "When she puts her hair down at the end of the day and gets her jeans on she looks and acts like any other teenager." back to the top