One-On-One with “The Imitation Game” Star Keira Knightley
Winner of The People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, The Imitation Game is being touted as a heavy-favorite for a Best Picture Oscar come March. Aside from having award-season-impresario Harvey Weinstein as a producer, the film also stars man of the moment, Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Alan Turning, the math genius who is credited with inventing the computer as well as breaking the Nazi’s secret code, Enigma, and thus saving millions of lives and bringing the second world war to a sooner end. But when the Academy Award nominations are announced in January, don’t be shocked if co-star Keira Knightley, 29, (previously nominated for Pride & Prejudice) gets a supporting actress nom. She portrays Joan Clark, a woman with her own skilled mathematics brain who joins the top-secret group to break the code, becoming temporarily engaged to Turing in the process. We sat down with Knightley during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival to discuss her role and the importance of the Turing story.
ZOOMER MAGAZINE: How do you choose your roles?
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: I just go with whatever interests me. If I find somebody fascinating, in a story that is incredibly intriguing then it’s that. I don’t like, nice, simple, easy sort of characters. I’m always looking for someone I want to explore.
ZM: What in particular attracted you to Joan?
KK: I think it was much more wanting to be a part of telling the Alan Turing story. And I think that is the same with most of the cast members and the creative. It’s an incredible ensemble cast, with a lot of actors who have come in to do really small roles who play leads in their own right. I think for everybody it felt very important to get this story out to as big an audience as possible. I first read about it about five years ago, in an article in The Guardian, when they were trying to push for his pardon. And I remember thinking I can’t believe I didn’t know anything about this. It’s completely shocking. As soon as I heard there was going to be a film I didn’t know what size the part was going to be but I just wanted to be a part of it. And then they offered me Joan and actually the part was a lot smaller, which I said yes to, and then they wrote it up after that. It was much more a part of wanting to get the story out.
ZM: Why was this film so important to get out?
ZM: Did you do a lot of research into math and crosswords?
KK: No. I’m terrible at all of that. But what I understood was that sort of passion and that kind of total immersion in that world. Anyone who is creative is like that. I have a couple of mates who are mathematicians or have done degrees in higher math and they see it as incredibly romantic and incredibly creative. So I could understand it from that level without being able to understand anything they were actually talking about.
ZM: In your personal life you’ve tended to stay out of the social media frenzy compared to other actresses your age. Do you avoid it?
KK: As far as staying away from the fray and the social media, I’m just not really interested in it so it’s very easy.
ZM: It makes you more mysterious…