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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 13:13 UK
Keira talks love and scandal

Keira Knightley is back on the big screen as the leading lady in The Duchess, a costume drama about love and scandal set in the 18th century. The Hollywood actress talks to Newsbeat about "fabulous outfits", how not to be a diva and the Olympics.

Keira Knightley

Do you feel differently about this film because you are a proper leading lady?

I felt terrified by it. It's really hard for good actresses to find leading roles. They're just aren't many around. I've taken the three that's been offered, Pride And Prejudice, Domino and now The Duchess.

It was really exciting but completely terrifying at the same time.

It's difficult staring at your own face for so long too. Over the last couple of years it's been great because I haven't had to worry about that. With Atonement I could watch that because I'm only in a third of it.

The outfits and the wigs are definitely worth a watch I have to admit.

There is a danger of The Duchess being mistaken for a period drama and people not watching it. But it's not, it's funny, racy and a very tragic story as well?

I think that's what I found incredible about it. Here I am a surburban girl from London in the 21st century and I can completely look at this character who lived 300 years ago in these lavish palaces and I completely empathise with her.

Keira Knightley
I think that the story is totally extraordinary how my character thinks her marriage is going to be a total fairytale and it ends up being this stifling, loveless nightmare. How she tries to survive that and work through that is amazing.

I hear that you're the second highest paid woman in Hollywood. Is that true?

I know I heard that I got 33 million last year. But what did I get for The Edge Of Love which is an arthouse film, and this which is a British film?

They're paying really well in Britain at the moment. No seriously, it would be great if I did earn that much money but I don't.

Have you got to the stage now where you think you can demand a ridiculous amount for your next film?

I could try but I don't think they would say yes.

It must be quite hard to not become a diva?


I think I've got enough people around me that would absolutely rip me limb from limb if I tried to be a diva

Keira Knightley

I think I've got enough people around me that would absolutely rip me limb from limb if I tried anything like that.

So it's not that difficult. You work with wonderful people like Ralph Fiennes and Hayley Atwell and Dominic Cooper and there's no reason to be like that. It's lovely to just be one of the guys and be able to do your thing.

So you don't ever get tempted to send someone out on a ridiculous errand to find some weird random coffee?

You hear so many stories and I've never met or seen anyone actually do it. I'll have to try and and find them and find their ridiculous demand somewhere.

Are you going to take a break now?

I haven't done another film this year so I didn't plan to take a break. It's just that I haven't found anything else that I've wanted to do.

Have you developed any random hobbies during your time off?

Not really. I've just done a lot of reading and it's been very nice.

Did you watch the Olympics at all?

I haven't no because I don't have a TV. I watch a lot of TV when I go away because you go into strange hotel rooms and watch a lot of TV. So I decided I didn't want it when I was at home.

The only annoying thing is I can't watch events like the Olympics. For the 2012 Olympics I will have to get one. It's a real shame because we keep on winning all these gold medals as well.

The Duchess is out in UK cinemas on September 5.

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