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I Ate Lunch With Keira Knightley and Lived to Gloat About It

By Amanda Mae Meyncke | Celebrity | November 27, 2012 |

By Amanda Mae Meyncke | Celebrity | November 27, 2012 |

Your lovely Pajiba features editor, Joanna Robinson, dubbed me the Sadness Sherpa, given my propensity for leading others to drink at the well of sadness that exists within the dark heart of every human being, also somehow simultaneously located high in the Hollywood Hills behind an abandoned K-Mart that has seen better days. So this isn’t one of those, but hang with me, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming later in the week.

Living in Los Angeles is kind of a nightmare half the time, but it’s the city I love the best unfortunately, as it really feels like anything can happen. Sometimes you’re worrying about how you’re going to pay your phone bill and then sometimes you get invited to have lunch with Keira Knightley. Focus Features puts on these lunches in L.A. for awards season, mostly to build good will, and it totally works. You feel all warm and special, and it’s entirely different from doing regular press where you’re both there to get in, get out and sell a movie. Last year it was Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, Mark Strong and the director of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I just sat around with the cinematographer for about an hour and talked about camera lenses and discussed why they even bothered remaking Let the Right One In. It’s always about five or six people at a table, and when I mumbled my name to Firth, he said “Wait, Amanda, right?” and fulfilled a dream I didn’t even know I had.

I sat across from her, I try to always sit across from the person, except this creates a kind of uncomfortable situation where she’s sort of avoiding looking directly at me unless I’m addressing her. She’s been doing two Q&A’s a day, but she doesn’t seem tired, just happily caught up in the whirlwind that is her life, swirling from event to event. She speaks easily and comfortably, obviously well-used to discussing the world with strangers. I don’t expect to like her as much as I do, but she’s intelligent, asking questions of the five or so of us, and clearly enjoys her work and the life that she leads.

Yes, Keira Knightley is slender, even. She’s wearing a green and purple floral dress, a blue fitted jacket, a strappy bag and a body guard. I have just come from one of my many jobs, working on a web series for the week as a wardrobe assistant, having begged my department lead to let me sneak away for an hour or two in order to attend this lunch. I am wearing dirty tennis shoes, ill-fitting jeans, and a lumpy sweater. I am not slender, even. I feel badly that I wasn’t able to dress up a bit more as the room is lovely, decorated in a kind of modern Anna Karenina flavor with red roses and linens, the original score for the film is playing gently and I wish I could explain to her that I was working, but I realize that it doesn’t really matter much.


She said she’d kept her nunchucks from Domino but that they’re only foam and that when she used real ones on set they bruised her knuckles up quite a bit. Other than that she hasn’t kept up on any of her skills.


Any Tender is the Night casting rumors are just that, rumors. She loves the book but she’s never been offered the film and isn’t quite sure how these things end up on IMDB. Hey, looks like Pajiba started that rumor!


One day on the set of Anna Karenina when she was really tired, she and the costume designer picked out all the jewels she wanted to wear, and she said when she finally had put them all on and saw the final product she thinks she kind of went overboard.

elizabeth swan Pirates of the Caribbean.jpg

She said she couldn’t quite get her waist as small as Vivien Leigh’s in Gone With the Wind in the corsets, and that the temptation is always to make them really small but she knows now to breathe out when they’re fitting them, to give yourself some breathing room, since she fainted once on the set of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, “because I was 17 and didn’t know any better.”


Every record she references in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World she actually listened to, and she’s a big Wilco fan. That struck me as very thorough, to really listen to all the records. “A lot of John Cale,” she says, and confirmed Lorene Scafaria is a music expert and always gives her plenty to listen to.


During the filming of Dangerous Method she read all the Twilight books but she has not read “50 Shades of Grey”


She’s in Jack Ryan, and is signed on for a second one if at all possible, but calls herself the most “part-time” cast member, going to Liverpool and London for a few hours of shooting at a time and then out again. She says director Kenneth Branagh is a genius. (Funny story, I worked on a short film with Kenneth Branagh and ended up in his eye line one time when I was assisting with props, and he called me over quietly and said “You dear person could you sit somewhere else for a minute or two?” and I melted into the atmosphere and now I don’t exist anymore.)


When she was doing press for Dangerous Method, she said the German press would ask her the most outrageous questions about sex. I said she should ask them right back to them and she said she probably didn’t want to know the answers.


Drama is what she’s interested in, there’s less films being made, and she would consider being on a TV show if the script was good but that she’s never been offered a TV show.


Yes she ate food. Salad. and then some pasta. “Pah-stah.” Pahh-stahhhh.

Amanda Mae Meyncke writes about movies, travel and ideas for a living. She can be found at, on Twitter and occasionally at her blog.

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