The role of Katharine Gun in Official Secrets is played by Keira Knightley. Earlier this summer, a few weeks before her second child was born, Knightley, 34, sat down and talked exclusively to the Observer about why she took the part, and why she felt she believed that the film was coming out at a timely moment.
Did you spend much time with Katharine to prepare for the part?
Amount - Lunch - Set - Gavin - Hood
Not a huge amount. I had lunch with her, and she came to the set once. I really liked her. Gavin Hood, the director, had said he didn’t want a characterisation of her. I mean, I don’t look anything like her. She has an interesting accent because she was brought up in Taiwan. I really wanted to do that, but Gavin wouldn’t let me. I’m not a journalist, of course, so this was the first time I had asked anyone any questions that they legally could not answer. What is amazing about Katharine is that her point of view is so utterly clear. As far as playing her, that point of view had to come across. This is a story told through her eyes.
Was it a story you were aware of?
Week - War - Avalanche - Invasion - Time
No. It was only a week before the war started, wasn’t it? I guess the avalanche of the invasion itself overwhelmed it. I was about 18 at the time. I thought I was engaged. I really remember the run-up to that conflict, but I didn’t remember this.
It’s extraordinary to think that it was 16 years ago. Did you join the anti-war march in London?
March - March - America - Pirates - Caribbean
I wasn’t on the big march; I was on the one before that. When the big march happened, I was in America shooting Pirates of the Caribbean and feeling utterly stupid that I was in a pirate costume and all...
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