Keira Knightley has recently signed on to appear in a jazz-era drama, a music-based movie, and an action franchise reboot.
28 Jun 2013 - 11:15 AM  UPDATED 1 Jul 2013 - 8:33 PM

Keira Knightley is just 28 years old, which doesn't quite gel with the fact that the English actress has been very famous for a decade now. Unlike actors who struggle in their twenties, searching for a breakthrough, Knightley was making the first Pirates of the Caribbean movies with Johnny Depp at an age where her contemporaries were just starting university. Looking back over those 10 years it's apparent that Knightley has shown a degree of promise in her choice of roles: Atonement, The Duchess, Never Let Me Go and particularly David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method – which Knightley was close to extraordinary in – sit prominently alongside the blockbusters and the generally well-intention failures.

Now that Knightly has got her warrior years out of the way – let us never speak of King Arthur again – she's adding a variety of parts to her list of films. Her latest role is in an adaptation of Suzanne Rindell's novel The Other Typist, which is set in 1923 and tells the story of Rose, a conservative secretary working for the New York Police Department who becomes enchanted and then obsessed with a new secretarial colleague, Odalie, who introduces her to a world of speakeasies and modern glamour. Knightly will play Odalie (her range isn't that extreme yet to encompass Rose), and it will follow a performance alongside Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers) in the new film from John Carney (Once), the Manhattan music scene-set Can a Song Save Your Life?

Knightley also has a supporting role in Jack Ryan, the rebooting of the Tom Clancy character who at various times has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. Star Trek star Chris Pine plays the once again young CIA analyst, with Knightley as his wife, Cathy. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who'll also be working on his Russian accent as the villain, and since the success of 2011's Thor Branagh has been a resurgent filmmaker, lining up projects with no-one even mentioning that remake of Sleuth. After Jack Ryan, Branagh is putting together a new Cinderella, which will star young British actress Lily James (television's Downton Abbey) in the title role with Helena Bonham-Carter (Alice in Wonderland, Fight Club) as the fairy godmother and Cate Blanchett (Little Fish, Hanna) as the wicked stepmother.

Fairytales return in a big way
Cinderella is not the only fairytale in production, especially now that Hollywood studios have upsized them to be fantasy epics, as demonstrated by Snow White becoming Snow White and the Huntsman. Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart) stars in the forthcoming Maleficent, a Sleeping Beauty spin-off, there are multiple Peter Pan sequels or prequels in the works and Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, who knows a thing or two about monsters and their place on the edge of the rational world, is looking to make his own Beauty and the Beast, possibly with former Harry Potter star Emma Watson. The failure of Jack the Giant Slayer or Red Riding Hood doesn't appear to have put the brakes on the 3-D (ticket price) friendly trend just yet. And it certainly helps that the centuries-old source material is free from copyright.