Keira Knightley Accepts Pay Cut for the Chance to Play an Interesting Woman

Reprinted with permission from Women and Hollywood

Two-time Oscar nominee Keira Knightley has revealed that she accepted the scale rate—or the minimum set by a union—of $1,300 a week to star in Therese Raquin, her Broadway debut. The movie star didn’t bristle about her pay cut because the job offered the opportunity to play a multi-faceted character, a rarity for actresses both on stage and screen.

“It’s very rare that I get offered interesting roles; there are very, very few out there,” Knightley told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Imitation Game star continued, “When something like this comes along, you go, ‘I can sink my teeth into it and not just be the supportive girlfriend or wife,’ which can get pretty boring.”

Knightley was shocked to learn that, prior to last week, Therese Raquin was the only play of the Broadway season written by a woman (Helen Edmundson). The Hollywood Reporter wrote that upon learning this fact, the actress’s jaw dropped. Knightley, whose mother, Sharman Macdonald, is a playwright, responded, “Really? Wow.”

The play is based on an 1867 novel by Emile Zola of the same name. While the novel is multi-perspective, this version of the story focuses on Therese’s point of view as a woman stuck in an unhappy marriage. She and her lover resolve to do anything to stay together—including committing murder.

Knightley has already spoken out about the dearth of women-centric films, screenwriters and directors. “Where are the female stories?” she asked.

The actress can currently be seen on the big screen in Everest.

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