The Oscar nominee had incredibly low expectations for what ended up being one of his biggest hits.
Keira Knightley has become one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation, balancing period roles like “Pride and Prejudice” with blockbuster franchises from “The Imitation Game” to “Pirates of the Caribbean.” But before he started racking up Oscar nominations, he gained notoriety for his performance in the 2002 football comedy Bend It Like Beckham. While the film was released just a year before “Love Actually” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” catapulted Hollywood’s A-listers, Knightley now says she didn’t expect it to be her big break. In fact, he and everyone around him seemed to think the film was doomed.
Appear “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” To promote her upcoming thriller “Boston Strangler,” Knightley recalled her initial confusion over the film’s cheeky title. Knightley said that when he told friends about the project, the only words of encouragement they could offer was that the film would flop so badly it would be forgotten.
“I literally remember telling people I was doing it and it was called ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and they were like, ‘Oh, that’s really awkward,'” Knightley said of her initial impressions of the project. And they all said, “Don’t worry. No one will see it. OK.'”
Knightley explained that “Bend It Like Beckham” was made in a cultural environment where women’s soccer was not yet a major spectator sport, so he questioned how much interest such a film could generate.
“That was the idea because, you know, women’s soccer wasn’t that big back then,” she said. “And so the idea of the whole thing was ridiculous.”
After the release of the film, Knightley was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic reception. The actress explained that the film has more cultural staying power than most of her work and that she does not regret making it.
“It’s amazing because even today it’s this movie, you know, if anyone comes up to talk to me about my work, that’s it.” Knightley said. “They love it so much. It’s amazing.”
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